The application for judicial review presented a single issue of law, i.e., whether a deportation order made under section 3(1) of the Immigration Act 1999 must be made personally by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The deportation order had been made in the name of the Minister by Noel Waters, the Director General of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality. No challenge was made to Mr Waters’ general competency and the Court found it was clear that he was probably the most experienced civil servant in the State in immigration matters. Nor was it disputed that Mr Waters had been duly authorized by the Minister to make such orders.
The Court found that the Carltona doctrine (see Carltona Ltd. v Commissioner of Works  2 All ER 560), governing the relationship between civil servants and the responsible Minister, had been expressly approved in Ireland by the Supreme Court (Tang v Minister for Justice  2 ILRM 46; Devanney v Shields  1 IR 230 cited). The Court found that insofar as there are exceptions to the Carltona doctrine, they would seem to arise by necessary implication, and the issue was whether the applicants’ case presented a matter of significant importance where the Minister is expected to make the decision personally (per the dicta of Denham J in Devanney v Shields).
The Court stated that the decision to deport is far from a purely formal one, and often requires a detailed appraisal of the facts, and the application of government policy, together with a consideration of statutory prohibition, and constitutional and ECHR provisions. The Court accepted that the decision to deport is often a complex one with significant implications for the individual the subject of the order, but was not satisfied that it was not of such intrinsic importance to the community at large that the decision can only be made by the Minister personally, and that it cannot be said that the Oireachtas must have intended that the Minister alone should personally take the decision to deport in every single case.
The Court held that it follows that the deportation decision was lawfully made in the name of the Minister by Mr Waters, given the application of the Carltona doctrine, and dismissed the application for judicial review.