Northern Ireland

Raymond McCord legal aid details to be reviewed

Raymond McCord Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Raymond McCord's son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997

Campaigner Raymond McCord has been granted leave for a judicial review of the decision to release details of legal aid funding he has received.

However, a judge told the High Court she would stay proceedings pending the outcome of an investigation.

That will be carried out by the information commissioner.

Three politicians submitted separate Freedom of Information (FoI) requests into how much legal aid was granted for court challenges brought by Mr McCord.

They were TUV leader Jim Allister, and DUP MPs Gregory Campbell and Carla Lockhart.

Mr Allister's FoI requests were "the most extensive," the court heard.

'Remedy of last resort'

As a result of the FoIs, the Legal Services Agency, which is responsible for Legal Aid payments, decided to release information. But that decision has been referred to the information commissioner.

Mrs Justice Keegan said the court was "effectively being asked to have a supervisory role" but that it "overlaps" the role of the information commissioner.

"A judicial review is a remedy of last resort," said Judge Keegan.

Judge Keegan also rejected applications for reporting restrictions and for Mr McCord to be granted anonymity.

The case will be reviewed again on 6 March.

Last September, Mr McCord's legal case challenging the legality of a no-deal Brexit was dismissed at Belfast's High Court.

However, his legal team were allowed to speak at the Supreme Court as part of a case arguing that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful.

The court ruled in agreement with that argument.

Mr McCord's 22-year-old son, Raymond junior, was murdered by the UVF in Belfast in 1997.

No one has ever been convicted of his murder.

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