Human Rights Based Budget Analysis and Devolved Government in Northern Ireland

22 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2015

See all articles by Rory O'Connell

Rory O'Connell

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: March 4, 2015


Human rights have often been dominated by the contributions of lawyers and courts. Whilst lawyers and courts certainly have major contributions to make in this field, recently there has been more attention devoted to the contribution of other disciplines and other actors. One important example of this is the discussion on the contribution of legislative assemblies to the protection of human rights. Increasingly we find that legislatures are considering human rights issues. In this paper I intend to look at one area where legislative assemblies may offer a distinctive contribution to human rights protection, when exercising their historic role in matters of finance and budgets. The purpose of this paper is to see how human rights principles overlap with the practice of a parliamentary committee involved in fiscal oversight. To that end, this paper analyses the discussion of the Northern Irish Budget 2011-2015 from the perspective of human rights principles, especially those principles derived from ICESCR. The aim is to see what is the ‘fit’ or congruence between the concepts used in such debates and scrutiny and the concepts used in human rights law. Some congruence would be welcome as it would suggest that human rights principles might be taken up or even championed by some of those who already participate in such debate and scrutiny. However, human rights principles will only be useful if they add value to such debates. The paper concludes that there is significant overlap and that there are benefits to incorporating specific human rights considerations in parliamentary procedures.

Keywords: Human rights, budget analysis, budget work, parliamentary procedures

Suggested Citation

O'Connell, Rory, Human Rights Based Budget Analysis and Devolved Government in Northern Ireland (March 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Rory O'Connell (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland


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