Tahir v Registrar for County Cork

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Respondent/Defendant:Registrar for County Cork
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2012] IEHC 191
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:16 Feb 2012
Judge:Hedigan J
Category:Citizenship
Keywords:Country of Nationality, Nationality, Non-national
Country of Origin:Somalia
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/34baf877-a0d7-4b84-a54e-2e72fb52ebcd/2012_IEHC_191_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland

Facts

The applicant claimed to be a national of Somalia and applied for asylum in the State. Her application was refused. A short time later she and the second applicant decided to marry.  They were advised of an appointment to meet the Registrar in order to fulfil the necessary requirements for their three month notification of their intention to marry. The Registrar was informed by the applicant’s solicitor that the applicant was a Somali national and would not be able to obtain identity documents. The Registrar informed her that evidence of identity was required under Section 46(7) of the Civil Registration Act 2004 and an affidavit was not sufficient. She attended again with a number of documents but she was again informed of the requirement that she must submit an identity document such as a passport. Later a Garda from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) went to see the Registrar and he informed her that he believed the applicant was not a Somali national. He indicated that her fingerprints matched those of a Tanzanian national with a different name.

Reasoning

The Court held that the central issue in the case was whether the Registrar was entitled to consider that the requirements of Section 46(7) had not been met. Hedigan J. pointed out that the applicant swore an affidavit in which she said that it was not possible to get a passport from the Somali authorities. The applicant argued that the Registrar failed to inform her of the information from the GNIB and to afford her an opportunity to respond and this was a breach of her right to fair procedures.  However, Hedigan J. pointed out that the applicant knew of the fingerprint match as it had arisen in her asylum claim and therefore she could not claim that she was denied fair procedures.

Decision

The applicant could not claim that she was denied fair procedures as she knew of the fingerprint match and the question over her identity and whether she was in fact a Tanzanian national, and not a Somali national as she claimed, as it had arisen in her asylum claim.  The Court held that the Registrars’ were entitled to refuse to accept the documents in the circumstances and that only the applicant could resolve the doubts about her identity which she herself created by her efforts to deceive.

Principles:

In order to fulfil the necessary requirements for the three month notification of an intention to marry, evidence of identity is required under Section 46(7) of the Civil Registration Act 2004.

It is not a breach of fair procedures for a registrar to require a person to submit evidence of identity and an identity document such as a passport and it is open to a registrar to consider whether or not the requirements of Section 46(7) have been met.

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