The applicants were an Albanian mother and her two daughters whose applications for asylum were refused by the Refugee Applications Commissioner. They subsequently brought judicial review proceedings challenging the manner in which their applications had been processed by the Refugee Applications Commissioner, arising from the fact that the Commissioner had established a “case processing panel of legal graduates” to perform “case processing” in relation to applications for asylum and subsidiary protection. The applicants complained that the Refugee Act 1996 did not provide for delegation of the Commissioner’s powers in this manner.
The High Court (Humphreys J.) refused to grant leave to seek judicial review in respect of this issue, despite the fact that another High Court judge (MacEochaidh J.) had previously granted leave on the point in a number of other cases.
The applicants appealed against the refusal to grant leave.
The Supreme Court held that the High Court (Humphreys J.) had erred in deciding that the appellants had not established substantial grounds for their applications for leave to apply for judicial review. It was also held that in the circumstances of this case the High Court judge erred in not following the decisions of MacEochaidh J. to grant leave on the same issue where was no apparent basis for him to come to a different view. The Supreme Court was satisfied that the issue of whether the Refugee Applications Commissioner was entitled to delegate the performance of certain functions to case processing panel members raised substantial grounds and that the matter should be remitted to the High Court for full hearing.