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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Presumption of Compatibility with International Obligations

The issue of the presumption of compatibility with international obligations was raised in O Domhnaill v Merrick. The case concerned the interpretation of sections of the Statute of Limitations , and the Supreme Court considered whether the stipulation of Article 6 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that cases should be heard "within a reasonable time" affected the meaning of the Statute . The presumption of compatibility with international obligations was stated by Henchy J for the majority as follows:

"one must assume that the
statute was enacted (there being no indication in it of a contrary intention) subject to the postulate that it would be construed and applied in consonance with the State's obligations under international law, including any relevant treaty obligations."

McCarthy J in a dissenting judgment in the same case also affirmed the general principle that,

statute must be construed, so far as possible, so as not to be inconsistent with established rules of international law and ... one should avoid a construction which will lead to a conflict between domestic and international law."

McCarthy J applied the principle more cautiously, declining to limit the meaning of the Statute of Limitations in accordance with the requirements of the Convention, since the Convention was not incorporated within Irish law.
This presumption can be generalized for other countries as well to the extent that country is a party to the obligations to the treaties and conventions as per the policy of the respective state.It is as per the practices followed by them in regard to the obligations under International law.

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