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The Frontiers of Legal Anaylsis: Re-Framing the Transition in Northern Ireland

Campbell, Colm, Ni Aolain, Fionnuala and Harvey, Colin (2003) The Frontiers of Legal Anaylsis: Re-Framing the Transition in Northern Ireland. The Modern Law Review, 66 (3). pp. 317-345. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1111/1468-2230.6603001


British constitutional legal discourse is structurally limited in its capacity to capture the complexity of the Good Friday Agreement. Rather than assessing the Agreement in narrow devolutionary terms, it should be seen as a hybrid domestic and international law instrument, making an important contribution to accepted international law norms in relation to self-determination. The Agreement transforms and partly transcends the Northern Ireland conflict by substituting political contestation for violent conflict, and by defining the modalities of conducting that contestation. This analysis complements classical international law perspectives, and opens up the application of legal discourses associated with 'transitional justice' to the legal and political transformation in Northern Ireland. These discourses focus on the problem of reconciling the demands of peace with the imperatives of justice. The Agreement sits squarely in this terrain with its provisions on 'dealing with the past' and 'institutional legacies'. The insights gained here challenge orthodox thinking about conflict-management and the ongoing political process.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:transitional justice, Northern Ireland
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Transitional Justice Institute
ID Code:14813
Deposited By: Mrs Elaine McCoubrey
Deposited On:10 Aug 2010 10:43
Last Modified:15 Jun 2011 10:00

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