TM v Refugee Appeals Tribunal

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Respondent/Defendant:Refugee Appeals Tribunal
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2016] IEHC 469
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:29 Jul 2016
Judge:Humphreys R.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Asylum Seeker (Secondary Movement of), Dublin Regulation, Refugee, Transfer Order
Country of Origin:Not stated
Geographic Focus:Other


This case concerned transfers pursuant to the Dublin III Regulation, and whether an applicant could challenge a decision to make a transfer order on the basis that (1) the transfer decision was invalid because the information request failed to state the grounds on which it was based contrary to art.34 of the Dublin III regulation; (2) the transfer decision was invalid because the fingerprint data provided did not comply with art. 34(2)(c) of the regulation; and (3) the transfer decision was invalid because it did not comply with the time limits stipulated in the regulation.


The High Court (Humphreys J.) rejected each of these grounds of challenge. On the first point, it was held that art.34 was part of a series of provisions directed towards member states rather than applicants. Humphreys J. held that a breach of art.34 by failing to state the grounds of a request was not an infringement of the rights of an applicant, but rather was to be regarded as an inconvenience to the requested member state, who is being asked to provide information without having been given a more full and complete statement of the reasons why it is sought. However, the court was satisfied that that did not give rise to any cause of action on the part of an applicant.

On the second point, Humphreys J. held that there was in fact no breach of art.34, because it was a matter for the receiving State to decide what information to furnish. The court noted that art.34(2)(c) only permits the furnishing of information “including” fingerprints processed under the Eurodac system but stated that that did not preclude other information being furnished, such as fingerprints taken outside of the Eurodac process. Humphreys J. also held that even if there was a breach of art. 34, which was not accepted, this did not confer any rights on the applicant. The court again pointed out that art.34 was located in the “administrative preparation” chapter of the regulation and was addressed to relationships between states. Therefore, it was held that any breach of the provision did not invalidate a transfer decision.

On the third question, Humphreys J. held that the time limits set out in the Dublin III Regulation are designed to protect the member states on a purposive interpretation, and not the applicant. This meant that a receiving member state could voluntarily agree to take back an asylum applicant even after the expiry of the periods referred to in the regulation. Humphreys J. held that an applicant can only challenge a breach of the criteria for transfer under the Dublin III Regulation, and that the other provisions of the regulation are clearly addressed to member states. Accordingly, he dismissed the applicants’ challenge to the transfer orders made against them.


Challenge to transfer orders dismissed.


This decision is significant because it limits an applicant’s right to challenge a transfer order pursuant to the Dublin III Regulation to alleged breaches of the criteria for transfer. All other provisions of the Regulation such as provision of information or time limits for requests are addressed to the member states and an applicant is therefore not entitled to challenge a transfer on those grounds. (This decision is under appeal).

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