The UK Supreme Court has allowed appeals by two men from Northern Ireland who said they were wrongly refused compensation after their murder convictions were overturned.

Raymond McCartney and Eamonn MacDermott were convicted in 1979 of murder and membership of the IRA but their convictions were overturned in 2007.

In a landmark ruling today, a nine-judge panel of the UK Supreme Court in London said the men had been wrongly refused compensation.

The judges had been asked to define the legal meaning of a miscarriage of justice.

Mr McCartney, who is a former Maze hunger striker and now Sinn Féin assembly member for Foyle, said he felt totally vindicated.

Mr MacDermott, who is a journalist in Derry, said he was relieved and very happy.

Their previous bids for compensation have been refused.

The ruling by the UK Supreme Court could have implications for dozens of former prisoners wrongfully convicted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr McCartney and Mr MacDermott were convicted of murdering a RUC officer in Derry in 1977. Mr McCartney was also found guilty of murdering a second man.

Mr McCarthy spent 17 years in prison during which he spent 53 days on hunger strike, while Mr MacDermott spent 15 years in prison.

Both men were cleared in February 2007 after judges said there was doubt about the safety of their guilty verdicts.