The applicant was a Pakistani national who applied for asylum in the State. A Eurodac search subsequently revealed that he had previously resided in the United Kingdom and the Refugee Applications Commissioner subsequently made a decision to transfer the applicant to the United Kingdom pursuant to the Dublin III Regulation. The applicant appealed this decision to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, which dismissed his appeal. The applicant then brought judicial review proceedings in which he claimed that the Dublin III Regulation was invalid on the grounds that Article 31 of the Refugee Convention contained a right for refugees to choose the country in which to submit an application for asylum. The High Court refused to grant leave on this issue, and the applicant appealed that refusal to the Court of Appeal.
The applicant appealed to the Court of Appeal against the refusal to grant leave on those two issues. During the course of the appeal the court was informed that upwards of 100 cases were pending in the High Court in which these particular issues had been raised.
Hogan J. delivered the judgment of the Court of Appeal, dismissing the appeal. It was held that while it was true that Article 31 of the Geneva Convention conferred some element of choice to those seeking refugee status as to the country in which to submit their application for status, that choice was largely confined. The choice was held to be confined to those applicants who were en route to a particular destination and whose choice of country of refuge was not nullified simply because they did not make an application in a country where they were simply stopping over or transiting. In particular, it was held that Article 31 does not give refugee applicants an open-ended choice of the kind claimed by the applicant.
Within the context of the European Union, Hogan J. pointed out that Article 31 of the Geneva Convention was, in any event, supplemented and developed by the existence of a multi-lateral agreement between the Member States of the Union reflected in the Dublin III Regulation which provides for a system of jurisdiction allocation between these Member States which is designed to avoid forum shopping and potentially abusive applications in a multiplicity of States. This system of regulation was expressly contemplated by Article 78(2)(e) TFEU. Hogan J. was satisfied that it could not be said that a system expressly authorised by the Treaties could in itself be unlawful on the ground that it was contrary to an international treaty (such as the Refugee Convention) which, in any event, was not in itself part of the law of the European Union.
Accordingly, Hogan J. was satisfied that the applicant did not reach the threshold of arguability required and dismissed the appeal.
Decision: Appeal dismissed.