Meadows v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeMurray C.J.,Kearns P.,Denham J.,Mr. Justice Hardiman.,Mr. Justice Fennelly
Judgment Date21 January 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] IESC 3
Docket Number[S.C. No. 419 of 2003]
Date21 January 2010
Meadows v Min for Justice & Ors
UNAPPROVED
IN THE MATTER OF THE REFUGEE ACT 1996 (AS AMENDED) IN THE MATTER OF THE IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 AND IN THE MATTER OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT, 2000

BETWEEN

ABOSEDE OLUNWATOYIN MEADOWS
APPLICANT / APPELLANT

AND

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
RESPONDENTS

[2010] IESC 3

Murray C.J.

Kearns P.

Denham J.

Hardiman J.

Fennelly J.

419/2003

THE SUPREME COURT

IMMIGRATION LAW

Judicial review

Leave - Test - Human rights - Criteria courts should apply when reviewing validity of administrative decisions where constitutional or convention rights at stake - Whether established criteria for grant of judicial review correct test to apply in cases in which human or constitutional rights - Whether anxious scrutiny applicable where issues of fundamental human rights concerned - Proportionality - Reasons - Deportation - Leave to remain - Humanitarian grounds - Refusal - Constitutional rights - Principle of non-refoulement - Female genital mutilation - Judicial review - Decision - Reasons - Statutory considerations - O'Keeffe v An Bord Pleanála [1993] 1 IR 39, East Donegal Co-Operative Livestock Mart Ltd v Attorney General [1970] IR 317, State (Lynch) v Cooney [1982] IR 337, O'Neill v Governor of Castlerea Prison [2004] IESC 7 and 73, [2004] 1 IR 298, O'Brien v Bord na Móna [1983] IR 255, Greene v Minister for Agriculture [1990] 2 IR 17, Clinton v An Bórd Pleanála [2007] IESC 19, [2007] 4 IR 701, Radio Limerick One Ltd v Independent Radio and Television [1997] 2 IR 151, State (Keegan) v. Stardust Compensation Tribunal [1986] I.R. 642 Fajujonu v Minister for Justice [1990] 2 IR 151, AO & DL v Minister for Justice [2003] 1 IR 1, FP v Minister for Justice [2002] 1 IR 164, Baby O v Minister for Justice [2002] 2 IR 169 and Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Bill 1999 [2000] 2 I.R. 360 considered - Refugee Act 1996 (No 17), s 5 - Immigration Act 1999 (No 22) s 3 - Applicant's appeal allowed (419/2003 - SC - 21/1/2010) [2010] IESC 72

Meadows v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Facts: The appellant, a Nigerian national who arrived in the State in 1999 seeking refugee status unsuccessfully, brought an appeal pursuant to a certificate granted by the High Court under s. 5(3)(a) Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000 on a point of law to determine whether or not the reasonableness of an administrative decision which effected constitutional rights had to be determined by reference to the standard set out in O' Keefe v. An Bord Pleanala [1993] 1 IR 39. The appellant filed a full notice of appeal in 2003 to the Supreme Court. The appellant alleged that she had a well-founded fear of persecution in that she would be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) if returned to Nigeria. The Refugee Appeals Tribunal refused her application for refugee status in 2001. The respondent Minister had sought to deport the appellant in 2002 pursuant to s. 3 Immigration Act 1999 and the Minister had outlined how s. 5 Refugee Act 1996, as amended, as to the prohibition of refoulement, had been complied with. The appellant sought to challenge the adequacy of the existing test for judging irrationality or unreasonableness in decision making in Irish law and sought to invoke the English caselaw employing "anxious scrutiny" in certain judicial review decisions relating to human rights as well as proportionality.

Held by the Supreme Court per Murray CJ. (Fennelly, Denham JJ. concurring; Kearns P., Hardiman J. dissenting) that there was nothing in the caselaw of the Court which would exclude the Court from applying the principle of proportionality in cases where it could be considered to be relevant. It was not necessary to adopt the formula of "anxious scrutiny" into Irish law. The Minister was required to consider in the circumstances of each case where there were grounds to prevent him under s. 5 from making the deportation order. The Minister did not have to enter into detailed correspondence with an individual outlining why refoulement did not arise in the case but had a broad discretion as to s. 3(6) reasons. The decision of the Minister here pursuant to s. 5 was so vague and opaque that its underlying rationale could not be deduced. The appellant had established "substantial grounds" for impugning the decision of the Minister and the appeal would be allowed and leave granted to bring judicial review as to the s. 5 ground only. Per Fennelly J.: The judgments here did not express or imply any view as to how a Minister should decide deportation cases. Matters of policy were for the Minister. Equally, the judgments implied no view as to how the application for judicial review in the proceedings at hand would be decided in the High Court. Per Denham J.: The existing test included the implied constitutional limitation of jurisdiction entailing that a decision maker should not disregard fundamental reason or common sense in reaching the decision and the duty to protect constitutional rights.

Kearns P. dissenting, in refusing leave and dismissing the appeal: that the test of proportionality had no role to play in determining whether a court would intervene or not. The Minister was not required to give detailed reasons for his decision. To expand the criteria for judicial review would represent unacceptable encroachment into the decision making functions of the Executive. O' Keefe had stood the test of time. Hardiman J. dissenting: while the formula of "anxious scrutiny" had been rejected, the result of the case was to introduce its substance into the law. It was a massive change from the previous test applying. The O' Keefe test related fundamentally to the separation of powers. The appellant had established no case, substantial or weighty, against the impugned decision.

Reporter: E.F.

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000 S5(3)(A)

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000 S5

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S17(1)(B)

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S5

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(6)

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(1)

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(2)

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(2)(F)

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(3)

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S5(2)

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S5(1)

KEEGAN & LYSAGHT, STATE v STARDUST VICTIMS COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1986 IR 642 1987 ILRM 202

O'KEEFFE v BORD PLEANALA & O'BRIEN 1993 1 IR 39 1992 ILRM 237

ASSOCIATED PROVINCIAL PICTURE HOUSES LTD v WEDNESBURY CORP 1948 1 KB 223 1947 2 AER 680

R v CHIEF CONSTABLE OF NORTH WALES POLICE, EX PARTE EVANS 1982 1 WLR 1155 1982 3 AER 141

CONSTITUTION ART 34.3.2

BYRNE v IRELAND & AG 1972 IR 241

MESKELL v CORAS IOMPAIR EIREANN 1973 IR 121

CARMODY v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 2010 1 IR 635 2010 1 ILRM 157 2009/8/1838 2009 IESC 71

HEANEY & MCGUINNESS v IRELAND & AG 1994 3 IR 593 1994 2 ILRM 420 1994/10/3029B

ART 26 OF THE CONSTITUTION & EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY BILL 1996, IN RE 1997 2 IR 321 1998/18/6758

ART 26 OF THE CONSTITUTION & HEALTH (AMDT) (NO 2) BILL 2004, IN RE 2005 1 IR 105 2005 1 ILRM 401 2005/29/5927 2005 IESC 7

D (T) & ORS v MIN FOR EDUCATION & ORS 2001 4 IR 259 2001/5/1050

EAST DONEGAL CO-OPERATIVE LIVESTOCK MART LTD & ORS v AG 1970 IR 317

FAJUJONU & ORS v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 1990 2 IR 151

RADIO LIMERICK ONE LTD v INDEPENDENT RADIO & TELEVISION CMSN 1997 2 IR 291 1997 2 ILRM 1 1997/6/2117

JOWELL & LESTER PROPORTIONALITY: NEITHER NOVEL NOR DANGEROUS (JOWELL & OLIVER NEW DIRECTIONS IN JUDICIAL REVIEW 1988 51-72)

P & ORS v MIN FOR JUSTICE 2002 1 ILRM 16

O (A) & ORS v MIN FOR JUSTICE 2003 1 IR 1 2003/31/7267

R v MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, EX PARTE SMITH 1996 QB 517 1996 2 WLR 305 1996 1 AER 257

R (MAHMOOD) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPT 2001 1 WLR 840 2001 1 FLR 756 2001 2 FCR 63 2001 HRLR 143

R v LORD SAVILLE OF NEWDIGATE & ORS, EX PART A & ORS 2000 1 WLR 1855 1999 4 AER 860

Z (V) v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 2002 2 IR 135 2002 2 ILRM 215 2003/49/12190

O v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS [BABY O CASE] 2002 2 IR 169 2003 1 ILRM 241 2002/3/501

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 5

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(3)(B)

LAURENTIU v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 1999 4 IR 26

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000 S5(2)(B)

RSC O. 84

ART 26 OF THE CONSTITUTION & S5 & S10 OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) BILL 1999, IN RE 2000 2 IR 360 2000/11/4122

CONSTITUTION ART 40.4.2

MCNAMARA (KILL RESIDENTS GROUP) v BORD PLEANALA (NO 1) 1995 2 ILRM 125 1995/3/1122

LOCAL GOVT (PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT) ACT 1992

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 2003

SINNOTT v MIN FOR EDUCATION & ORS 2001 2 IR 545

EHRENREICH & BARR INTERSEX SURGERY FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING & THE SELECTIVE CONDEMNATION OF CULTURAL PRACTICES 2005 40 HARV CR-CL LAW REV 71

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ART 3

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S17(6)

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S17(5)

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(3)(A)

P (F) & ORS v MIN FOR JUSTICE 2002 1 IR 164 2002 1 ILRM 38 2001/20/5496

IMMIGRATION ACT 1999 S3(3)(B)

SHUM v IRELAND & AG 1986 ILRM 593 1986/4/1484

OSHEKU v IRELAND & ORS 1986 IR 733 1987 ILRM 330 1986/7/1474

BUGDAYCAY v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPT 1987 AC 514 1987 2 WLR 606 1987 1 AER 940

N (BJ) v MIN FOR JUSTICE & ORS 2008 3 IR 305 2008/45/9720 2008 IEHC 8

NASH v MIN FOR JUSTICE 2004 3 IR 296 2005 1 ILRM 503 2004/36/8241 2004 IEHC 356

HAUGHEY, IN RE 1971 IR 217

ROGAN FASTER HIGHER STRONGER? SECTIONS 5 & 10 OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000 2002 10 ISLR 3

MOYNIHAN ANXIOUSLY AWAITING HEIGHTENED SCRUTINY: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN WEDNESBURY UNREASONABLENESS 2004 4 UC DUBLIN L REV 37

HOGAN JUDICIAL REVIEW, THE DOCTRINE OF REASONABLENESS & THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS 2001 6 BAR REVIEW 329

FLOOD v GARDA SIOCHANA COMPLAINTS BOARD 1997 3 IR 321 1998/6/1620

GRIFFITH THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SIR JOHN LAWS 2000 63 MLR 159

R v CAMBRIDGE HEALTH AUTHORITY, EX PARTE B (NO...

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