Ezeani v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court
Judgment Date/s:11 Oct 2005
Keywords:Citizenship, Marriage of Convenience, Residence Permit
Country of Origin:Nigeria

The applicant, a Nigerian national and trainee solicitor resident in London, married an Irish woman. The applicant averred that he and his wife lived together in Ireland, and that he travelled to the UK regularly in order to continue his legal studies. The applicant applied for residency on the basis of the marriage. The Minister refused the application, stating that the two were not living together as man and wife. The decision stated further that Garda enquiries revealed various matters including that the second-named applicant was living with another man. The applicants challenged the refusal on the basis, inter alia, that matters had been held against them in their application without the various reports being put to them so that they might respond.

The Court quashed the Minister’s refusal of residency, finding that serious allegations had been made and that the applicants had a legal and constitutional right to properly confront those allegations and that they should have been appraised of the information on file. The Court stated that where an inquisitorial body becomes possessed with material that is significantly damaging to an applicant to an extent that it weights heavily against them, then the pendulum must swing in favour of the applicant.

Principles:Where serious allegations are made, an applicant for residency based on marriage to an Irish citizen has a legal and constitutional right to properly confront those allegations and should be informed of information on file concerning the allegations.
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