RC v Minister for Justice

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2019] IEHC 65
Nature of Proceedings:Appeal/Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:15 Feb 2019
Judge:Humphreys R
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Discrimination (Direct), European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Family Reunification, Family Unity (Right to), Refugee
Country of Origin:Afghanistan


The applicant was a national of Afghanistan who was granted subsidiary protection in Ireland in 2016. He subsequently applied for family reunification for his wife whom he married in 2017. The Minister for Justice refused the application on the basis that section 56(9)(a) of the 2015 Act only provided for refugee family reunification for spouses where the marriage pre-dated the application for international protection. The applicant subsequently instituted proceedings challenging the constitutionality and/or ECHR compatibility of the exclusion of post-flight marriages from the right to refugee family reunification.


The High Court held in the first instance that the applicant’s challenge was premature in circumstances where an alternative remedy was available, namely an application for a visa pursuant to general immigration law as governed by the INIS Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification. Humphreys J also rejected the applicant’s complaint that the exclusion of post-flight marriages breached the constitutional guarantee of equality, holding that the distinction between pre- and post-flight marriages was legitimate and proportionate. Insofar as the European Court of Human Rights held otherwise in Hode & Abdi v United Kingdom (2013) 56 EHRR 27, Humphreys J was satisfied that that decision should not be followed.

Decision: Application dismissed.

Principles:The exclusion of post-flight marriages from the statutory right to family reunification in section 56(9)(a) of the International Protection Act 2015 is not unlawful.
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