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Commissioner for Older People Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Section 10 - Power to bring, intervene in or assist in legal proceedings

This Section sets out the power of the Commissioner to bring civil proceedings relating to the law or practice relating to the interests of older persons, and to assist in or intervene in any legal proceedings which relate to the interests of older people.

There may be problems that arise for older people in which the law may have been broken.  If a case like this were brought to the Commissioner, this section states that the Commissioner must consider the following questions:

  • does the case involve a question of principle?

  • are there special circumstances involved?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, this section gives the Commissioner the power to take the case to court so that the court can decide the case.  This does not apply to cases involving criminal law where there are separate procedures for taking cases.

This Section also gives the Commissioner the power in any court cases (except for criminal cases) to act as a “friend of the court” by giving information to the court on matters affecting older people, for example as an expert witness.  The legal term for doing this is amicus curiae.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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