The applicant applied for asylum in Ireland having previously been refused asylum in Germany. The Refugee Applications Commissioner determined he should be returned to Germany pursuant to Section 22 of the Refugee Act 1996, the Dublin Convention (Implementation) Order 2000 and Article 10(1)(e) of the Dublin Convention. Article 10(1)(e) of the Dublin Convention provides, inter-alia, that Member States are obliged to take back an applicant who has withdrawn an application and then lodged an application in another Member State and a non-national whose application it has rejected and who is illegally in another Member State. The applicant appealed the decision to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, who dismissed the appeal. The applicant applied for relief by way of judicial review against both decisions.
The High Court granted the relief sought on the grounds that the decisions of the Commissioner and Tribunal were predicated on a request made to Germany that was ultra vires their powers. The Court found that the request had been made pursuant to a provision of the Dublin Convention that had not been implemented in Ireland i.e. Article 10(1)(e). The High Court certified that its decision involved points of law of exceptional public importance and that it was desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken to the Supreme Court. The points deemed to be of exceptional public importance were (i) whether or not Article 10(1)(e) of the Dublin Convention had been incorporated into the law of the State and (ii) whether the Commissioner and Tribunal had jurisdiction – respectively, to make or uphold a decision that Germany be requested to take back applicants. The Supreme Court affirmed the High Court’s decision and held that Article 10(1)(e) of the Dublin Convention was not part of Irish law and that the provisions relied upon in the decisions of the Commissioner and Tribunal did not permit the transfer of the asylum applications to other Member States.