Luximon v Minister for Justice & EqualityBachand v Minister for Justice & Equality

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice John MacMenamin
Judgment Date24 April 2018
Neutral Citation[2018] IESC 24
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[Appeal No. 58/2016],[S.C. Nos. 9 & 10 of 2017]
Date24 April 2018
BETWEEN:
DANIYE LUXIMON

AND

PRASHINA CHOOLUN (A MINOR SUING BY HER MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND DANIYE LUXIMON)
APPLICANTS/RESPONDENTS
V.
MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY & LAW REFORM
RESPONDENT/APPELLANT
AND
THE IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUALITY COMMISSION
AMICUS CURIAE
BETWEEN:
YASWIN BALCHAND

AND

SHANDRIKA GOPEE

AND

CIERON LAKSH BALCHAND (A MINOR SUING BY HIS FATHER AND NEXT FRIEND YASWIAN BALCHAND)
APPLICANTS/RESPONDENTS
V.
THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM
RESPONDENT/APPELLANT
AND
THE IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUALITY COMMISSION
AMICUS CURIAE

[2018] IESC 24

MacMenamin J.

Clarke C.J.

O'Donnell Donal J.

MacMenamin J.

Dunne J.

O'Malley Iseult J.

[Appeal No. 58/2016]

THE SUPREME COURT

Immigration – Privacy and family rights – Permission to remain in the State – Appellant seeking to appeal against Court of Appeal decisions – Whether it was unnecessary to engage in a consideration of the respondents' Article 8 ECHR privacy and family rights at a stage prior to the final deportation stage of the procedure

Facts: In the first appeal, the High Court (Barr J) determined that, in arriving at a decision under s. 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004, the appellant, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, had erred in failing to consider the Article 8 ECHR privacy and family rights of the respondents, the Luximon family, in deciding whether to vary or renew their permission to be in the State. On the 15th December, 2016, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judgment, although reversing Barr J on one ancillary question. The Minister appealed to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal. In the second appeal, Humphreys J at first instance declined to grant judicial review of the decision of the appellant, the Minister, regarding the respondents, the Balchand family, holding that, in making such a decision, the Minister did not have an ECHR duty. The Balchand family successfully appealed, and on the 15th December, 2016, the Court of Appeal again held that the Minister, in making his decisions under s. 4(7) of the 2004 Act, erred by failing to give consideration to the respondents' Article 8 ECHR privacy and family rights in refusing to grant a renewal or variation of their permissions to remain in the State. The Minister appealed to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal. The Minister submitted that it was unnecessary to engage in such a consideration at that stage, and that an Article 8 assessment need only take place at what was characterised in this appeal as the final, "deportation", stage of the procedure.

Held by MacMenamin J that, on a simple textual analysis, the manner in which the Minister sought to utilise s. 4(7) of the 2004 Act in these cases was unlawful. MacMenamin J affirmed the order of the Court of Appeal, holding that the impugned decisions should be quashed. MacMenamin J held that there was no statutory basis for making such ministerial decisions within the text of s. 4(7) or elsewhere in the 2004 Act. MacMenamin J held that the Minister's interpretation of the Act, and its consequences, would be contrary to public policy, and might well necessitate that applicants under the section be constrained to act in an unlawful manner, or, by virtue of applying, be forced to conduct themselves in a manner which would violate their Article 8 rights as members of family units.

MacMenamin J held that the appeals should be dismissed.

Appeals dismissed.

Judgment of Mr. Justice John MacMenamin dated the 24th day of April, 2018
1

This is a judgment concerning two appeals from the Court of Appeal delivered on the 15th December, 2016. In the first, ' Luximon' [2016] IECA 382, the Minister appealed to that court against a judgment of the High Court [2015] IEHC 227. In the High Court, Barr J. determined that, in arriving at a decision under s.4(7) of the Immigration Act, 2004, the appellant Minister had erred in failing to consider the Luximon family's Article 8 ECHR privacy and family rights in deciding whether to vary or renew their permission to be in the State. The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judgment, although reversing Barr J. on one ancillary question which is not before this court. In the second appeal, ' Balchand' [2016] IECA 383, Humphreys J. at first instance declined to grant judicial review of the Minister's decision regarding the Balchand family applicants ( [2016] IEHC 132), holding that, in making such a decision, the Minister did not have an ECHR duty. The Balchand family successfully appealed, and the Court of Appeal again held that the Minister, who is now the appellant to this Court in both cases, in making his decisions under s.4(7) of the Act of 2004, erred by failing to give consideration to the respondents' Article 8 ECHR privacy and family rights in refusing to grant a renewal or variation of their permissions to remain in the State. The Minister submits that it was unnecessary to engage in such a consideration at that stage, and that an Article 8 assessment need only take place at what was characterised in this appeal as the final, 'deportation', stage of the procedure. For brevity and clarity, the Luximon appeal will be referred to as 'Appeal A'; Balchand as 'Appeal B'. The reference to 'the Minister' in this judgment is to the holder of that office, as a designated person under the Ministers & Secretaries Act, 1924, as amended. Such reference does not relate to any particular holder of the office, but rather officials acting on the Minister's behalf.

2

Ms. Daniye Luximon and Mr. Yaswin Balchand are both citizens of Mauritius. They arrived in Ireland in the year 2006 to avail of an administrative educational scheme set up by the State in 2001. Under that scheme, students were permitted to engage in part-time work, as well as undertake post-secondary level educational courses. By the time of this appeal, Ms. Luximon and Mr. Balchand had been in the State for some 11 years, their family members for a somewhat lesser, but nonetheless significant period.

3

In July, 2011, the government promulgated a new scheme which set explicit time limits on how long such students might remain in the State. This had significant effects on the respondents' authorisation to remain here. The new scheme was entitled the 'New Immigration Scheme for Full-time Non-EEA Students, registered in Ireland before 1st January, 2011'.

The Respondents' Status within the State
4

The following observations are key in understanding the legal status of the respondents. First, they all entered this State lawfully. Their continuous lawful presence here up to 2011 must be taken as a given. Their situations are, therefore, different from those concerning short-term visitors, or entrants engaging in temporary employment, or asylum seekers, who will generally not have established links in, or to, the State. By logical extension, the respondents' position is very different from that of unsuccessful applicants for asylum who may have exhausted all judicial review procedures. Secondly, by the time the relevant ministerial decisions were made in 2012, each respondent in this appeal had acquired many of the characteristics of long-term migrants, albeit subject to periodic renewal of their residency. Thirdly, the respondents' legal status in the State was not altered as a result of some unlawful act on their part, but rather by an alteration in government policy. Finally, counsel for the Minister has submitted that these appeals may have a bearing on a significant number of similar cases. However, this judgment is based entirely on the facts as presented in the instant appeals. As such, whether this judgment has a bearing on other cases will depend on the individual facts of each such case. It is necessary now to move to the details of the present appeals.

Daniye Luximon and Prashina Choolun
5

Ms. Luximon has two daughters. Her elder daughter is not a party to these proceedings. Her younger daughter, Prashina Choolun, the second named respondent in Appeal A, is now in secondary education here. She, too, arrived in the State in 2006. Ms. Luximon engaged in a range of educational courses during her time here. She and her daughter have an established home in Dublin. Ms. Luximon lawfully obtained part-time work through the scheme and has worked for a number of years as a co-ordinator in a dental practice. Throughout her time in Ireland, she and her daughter have generally been a self-supporting family unit. With one exception, described later, she complied with all renewal requirements. There is no indication that there was any difficulty in renewing such permissions up to the year 2011.

6

On the evidence, Ms. Luximon and her daughter have over the years established significant private, family and social connections, in their home-area, in work and in education.

Yaswin Balchand, Shandrika Gopee and Cieron Laksh Balchand
7

Having arrived in 2006, Mr. Balchand was joined in 2008 by Shandrika Gopee, the second named respondent in Appeal B. The couple subsequently married. They now have a son, Cieron Laksh Balchand, born in 2009, who is in full-time primary education here. Their permissions were regularly renewed without difficulty up to the year 2011. Their son, Cieron, speaks English with his parents at home. Both adult respondents in this family unit are financially self-supporting and work in the hospitality and catering sector.

A Summary
8

This judgment first addresses the literal interpretation of the Act of 2004, and thereafter the manner in which such interpretation might, if necessary, be informed by Article 8 ECHR considerations. But, the following background circumstances are particularly significant.

9

The fact that the position of the respondents differs from a range of other categories of entrants to the State must be re-emphasised. Additionally, the respondents were not subject to any ongoing fact-finding administrative or...

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