TK v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2011] IEHC 99
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:09 Feb 2011
Judge:Hogan J.
Category:Deportation
Keywords:Deportation, Refoulement (Non-)
Country of Origin:Togo
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/1b61e7db-c617-48e4-8f78-e94d16e68b9f/2011_IEHC_99_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland
References:Meadows v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2010] IESC 3

The Applicant was a Togolese national who claimed refugee status in Ireland on the grounds that his family had long-standing opposition to the authoritarian regime in Togo.  His claim was rejected and he applied for leave to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds. In considering such applications, the Minister is required by section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996, to consider whether the life or freedom of the person to be expelled from the State would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. This obligation arises from the prohibition on refoulement contained in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, 1951. In rejecting the Applicants’ application and deciding to make a deportation order against him, the Minister concluded that ‘having considered all of the facts of this case, I am of the opinion that repatriating [T.K.] to Togo is not contrary to s. 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended.’ The Applicant obtained the leave of the High Court to challenge the deportation order on the grounds that the Minister’s decision with respect to section 5 was unreasonable in that the Minister failed to give satisfactory reasons for his decision.

In its judgment on the substantive judicial review application, the High Court (Hogan J.) found that the Applicant’s account was capable of attracting the protections afforded by section 5 of the 1996 Act. The Court then considered the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court in Meadows v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2010] IESC 3 in detail and concluded that the majority judgments of Murray C.J., Denham J. and Fennelly J suggested that the Minister was obliged to give a coherent reason justifying the conclusion that the prohibition in section 5 is satisfied and that this was so even where a parallel claim of the same kind had been rejected in the asylum process on credibility grounds. Applying the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Meadows to the Applicant’s case, the Court concluded that the Minister had failed to give satisfactory reasons for his decision that repatriating the Applicant to Togo was not contrary to section 5 and for this reason, the Minister decision to deport the Applicant was quashed by order of certiorari.

Principles:

The Minister is obliged to give a coherent reason justifying the conclusion that the prohibition on refoulement in section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 is satisfied, and this is so even where the claim has been rejected in the asylum process on credibility grounds

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