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Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006

Section 18: Report on progress towards devolution of policing and justice matters

83.Section 18 places an obligation on the Assembly to provide a report to the Secretary of State before 27 March 2008 on its consideration of policing and justice matters. The report is to address:

  • the preparations the Assembly has made, and intends to make, for the devolution of such matters;

  • which of the matters the Assembly are likely to seek to have devolved; and

  • whether a request is likely to be made before 1 May 2008 that responsibility for such matters should be devolved.

The Secretary of State must lay the report before Parliament.

84.Subsections (4) to (6) contain technical amendments to the definition of a “devolved policing and justice matter”. They remove the adjective “devolved” from the definitions contained in sections 4(2A), 4(6) and 21A(8)(b) of the 1998 Act (inserted by the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006) to clarify that they remain reserved until devolved.

85.The section does not affect any of the safeguards on the transfer of responsibility set out in section 4 of the 1998 Act, as amended by the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006. It remains the case that the First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly, must table a motion for a resolution of the Assembly that policing and justice matters be devolved; the Assembly must so resolve with cross-community support; the Secretary of State must concur and lay a draft order before Parliament; and Parliament must approve that order.

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