Belfast High Court judge blocks move to stop Brexit food checks at Northern Ireland ports

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots speaking to the media at the Great Hall in Stormont, Belfast. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.
Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots speaking to the media at the Great Hall in Stormont, Belfast. Picture date: Wednesday February 2, 2022.

Mr Justice Colton's ruling will remain until a judicial review against the DUP minister’s decision can be heard in full

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A High Court judge has issued an interim order suspending a decision by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to direct a stop to Brexit agri-food checks at Northern Ireland ports.

Mr Justice Colton said he was making the temporary direction until a judicial review against the DUP minister’s decision can be heard in full.

DUP minister Mr Poots acted unilaterally this week to order a halt to port checks that are required under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Civil servants have yet to implement the instruction, pending legal clarity on their obligations, and checks are continuing.

Mr Poots’ actions were challenged in two separate applications in the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Justice Colton granted applications for judicial reviews against the minister’s decision.

He said: “There shouldn’t be any confusion hanging over those in the Civil Service, so I am persuaded this is a case where there should be interim relief.

“I therefore make the order to suspend the instruction given by the minister for agriculture until further order of this court.”