The applicant, a Romanian national, claimed that the Minister had failed to properly follow the terms laid down in Section 12(4) of the Immigration Act 1999 in designating Romania a safe country. The Court found that relevant considerations included (i) that there be a consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, (ii) that it should be clarified whether the country is party to or complies with the specified obligations, and (iii) that it should be clarified whether the country has a domestic political system, independent judiciary and is governed by the rule of law.
The Court stated this despite noting that there was a lacuna in the Copenhagen criteria that appeared not to require an independent judiciary. The Court stated that the Minister was entitled to act on the assumption that the rule of law includes an independent judiciary. The Court found that the Minister appeared to have based his decision to designate Romania a safe country on the extent to which Romania had conformed to the criteria laid out in the Refugee Act 1996 by considering its adherence to various conventions to which the country was a member and considered whether Romania had ratified all Conventions to which they would have been expected to subscribe such that the decision to so designate Romania as a safe country was not irrational.