Explanatory Memorandum

Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

2016 CHAPTER 21

12 May 2016

Commentary on Sections

Part 2.The Prison Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

Section 39: Investigations requested by the Department

The Section provides that the Department shall request the Ombudsman to investigate any custody–related matter that is prescribed in regulations (Section 39(1)(a), and can request the Ombudsman to carry out an investigation into any custody-related matter (Section 39(1)(b)). This relates to events which have occurred in a prison or juvenile justice centre or while a person was in custody (Section 39(3)).

Under section 39(4) the Department must consult the Ombudsman and such other persons as the Department thinks appropriate before making any regulations under Section 39(1)(a). The Ombudsman must decide whether to conduct the investigation and must notify the Department of that decision (Section 39(5)). The Ombudsman will determine the procedures for the investigation (Section 39(6)) and may make recommendations to the Department (Section 39(7)).

The Ombudsman shall draw to the attention of the police any matter which is in his opinion relevant to any criminal investigation and may draw to the attention of any person or body any matter which calls for action to be taken by that body or person (Section 39(8)).