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Appeals lodged in JR65 case

You may recall the Judicial Review case concerning Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men giving blood that was covered in our October 2013 Update. 

The Court held that the Northern Ireland Health Minister’s decision to retain the permanent ban on gay men giving blood was ‘irrational’.  He also ruled that the decision to retain the ban should not have been dealt with at Stormont, insisting it was a reserved matter and the responsibility of UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Minister for Health, Mr Edwin Poots is appealing this decision.  Moreover, in a surprising twist, the UK government issued a statement on 7th April stating that they too had begun an appeal of the decision.  A Department of Health spokesperson said:
 “We are appealing against the judgment on the basis of the implications for devolution, not on the issue of men who have sex with men donating blood itself.” 

In 2011 England, Scotland and Wales lifted the lifetime ban on gay men giving blood replacing it with new rules that allow gay men to donate provided that their last sexual contact with another man was more than a year ago.

The decisions by Edwin Poots, and Jeremy Hunt, to appeal have been criticised by some Labour MPs and Assembly members as well as gay rights organisations.  For further commentary click here.

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Medical Law