Stefan v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court, Supreme Court
Citation/s:[2002] 1 ICLMD 5
Judgment Date/s:08 Jun 2000
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Refugee, Refugee Law, Refugee Status
Country of Origin:Romania

The applicant had been refused asylum at first instance but the material used in reaching this decision was defective in that the English translation of the Romanian questionnaire form omitted a portion of the answer to question 84, which provided the applicant with an opportunity to set out the basis of his claim. The applicant appealed to the Appeals Authority, and this appeal was still pending when the matter came on for judicial review.

The Court held that the defect rendered the decision at first instance either ultra vires or in breach of fair procedures. The Court also rejected the argument that the appeal to the Appeals Authority constituted an adequate alternative remedy to that of judicial review, on the basis that an insufficiency of fair procedures at first instance is not cured by a sufficiency on appeal. The matter was remitted for fresh consideration to the Commissioner. The Minister appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court refused the appeal, holding that the decision at first instance should be quashed and that the Hope Hanlon procedure involved two separate decisions, one by the person authorised by the Minister and the other by the Appeals Authority.

Principles:The Hope Hanlon procedures involved two separate decisions. The decision refusing the applicant refugee status was a final decision subject to the applicant’s right of appeal. An applicant is entitled to both a primary decision and an appeal in accordance with fair procedures.
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