Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 15:11 UK

Next legal steps for Omagh families

Aftermath of Omagh bomb aerial photo supplied by MoD
The 1998 explosion killed 29 people and unborn twins

The 12 relatives of victims of the 1998 Omagh bomb have won an unprecedented legal victory.

The judge in the civil action awarded £1.6m damages and ruled that four men and the Real IRA as an organisation were responsible for the atrocity,.

BBC News considers the next legal steps.

Because the four men the damages were awarded against all live in the Republic of Ireland, those named by the judge as recipients will have to go to the High Court in Dublin if they wish to enforce the judgment.

Under the legal principle of Comity, the general rule is that courts in one jurisdiction will enforce a judgment made in another.

Given that the Irish authorities co-operated in the court action - the case sat in Dublin to hear some of the evidence - it could be assumed there will be no trouble in enforcing the judgment.

Seizure orders on property such as homes - one of the men is a farmer - could be made to ensure the money is paid.

Meanwhile the families have said they will go to the Appeal Court to try to overturn Mr Justice Morgan's ruling that it was not appropriate for him to order the payment of exemplary damages.

If that is successful they could have an order of many millions in damages made against the Real IRA and the four found responsible for the bombing.

Jason McCue, the family's solicitor, said they were going to appeal and "this is the sort of case that could get the highest award ever in the UK.

"At the moment we have got the highest ever compensatory damages in Northern Ireland," he said.



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