GS v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2004] 2 IR 417
Judgment Date/s:19 Mar 2004
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Refugee, Refugee Law, Refugee Status, Refugee Status (Withdrawal of)

The applicant had been granted a declaration of refugee status, but this status was subsequently revoked by the Minister under Section 21(1)(9) of the Refugee Act 1996 i.e. that he was a person whose presence in the State poses a threat to public policy, on the applicant’s return to the State after completing a sentence of imprisonment in Belgium relating to a conviction for people trafficking.

The Minister furnished certain documents relating to his decision but did not furnish documents said to include legal advice and information received from the Belgian authorities, which the Minister wished to claim privilege on. The applicant submitted that these documents were relevant and necessary and sought their discovery. The Court found certain documents whose discovery was sought were clearly identified, that they were relevant and that the difficulty was that the applicant had no way of knowing until he saw them whether they could be helpful to his case or a hindrance to the Respondent’s.

The Court held that, on balance, the applicant must be in a position to make his best possible case at the leave stage, that it was arguable that the documents may have assisted him in making submissions regarding the proposed revocation and ordered limited discovery. The Court held that the matter of privilege could be dealt with subject to the usual rules.


An applicant should be in a position to make his or her best possible case at the leave stage and fairness requires that an applicant have prior to his application for leave the material that has been relied upon in making the impugned decision - subject to the rules of privilege.

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