Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982

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The Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982, No. 1536 (N.I. 19), is an Order in Council which decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults in Northern Ireland. The Order was adopted as a result of a European Court of Human Rights case, Dudgeon v. United Kingdom (1981), which ruled that Northern Ireland's criminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults was a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The homosexual age of consent fixed by the Order (21) was higher than the heterosexual age of consent in the rest of the United Kingdom, which had been set at 17 for decades. The ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts in Northern Ireland were eventually equalised at 17 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the passage of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.

To bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the United Kingdom, the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008[1] reduced the age of consent to 16.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statutory Instrument 2008/1769
  2. ^ "NI age of consent to be lowered". BBC News. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-03-27.

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