Secretary of State announces appointment of new Independent Reviewer


The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis CBE MP, has today announced the appointment of Professor Marie Breen-Smyth as the Independent Reviewer of the exercised powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

Professor Breen-Smyth will replace David Seymour CB with effect from 1 February 2021.

Professor Marie Breen-Smyth is an academic with a background in the study of political violence, conflict and international relations. She has held various academic roles including as Associate Dean and Professor in the University of Surrey, Reader in International Politics in Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom and previously Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC.

Notes to Editors


The role of the Independent Reviewer is set out within the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

In particular, the Independent Reviewer has a responsibility to review the operation of sections 21 to 32 of the Act and those who use or are affected by those sections; to review the procedures adopted by the military in Northern Ireland for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints; and to report annually to the Secretary of State.

The Reviewer will act in accordance with any request by the Secretary of State to include in a review specified matters over and above those outlined in Sections 21 to 32 of the Act.

Terms of appointment:

  • Length of appointment: Three years from 1 February 2021
  • Remuneration: £650 per day
  • Pension: The position is not pensionable
  • Time Requirements: 3 – 4 days per month

Political Activity:

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity in defined categories within the last five years to be made public. Professor Breen-Smyth has not been engaged in any political activity in the last five years.


The Commissioner for Public Appointments does not regulate this appointment.


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