Statement by Jim Allister MLA:-
“Under S 11 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 the Attorney General has the power to refer any Bill passed by the Assembly to the Supreme Court to test the competence of the Bill.
“When the SPAD Bill was in its initial form the Attorney General raised concerns as to an aspect of its compatibility with Art 7 of the ECHR. I strove to allay these concerns by relevant amendments at the Consideration Stage. Yet, some continued to express concerns about the legality of portions of the Bill. I believed those concerns to be ill-founded, but in view of their repetition I invited the Attorney General to give us the benefit of his opinion on the Bill in its final form.
“Yesterday I received his reply and forwarded it to relevant MLAs. It will be observed that the Attorney General has emphatically made it clear that in view of the amendments made his concerns no longer exist.
“I welcome this timely clarification and trust it will reassure others.”