MS v The International Protection Appeals Tribunal

CourtHigh Court
Docket NumberRECORD NO.: 2019/961JR
JudgeTara Burns
Judgment Date2021
JurisdictionIreland
Neutral Citation[2021] IEHC 30

[2021] IEHC 30

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Tara Burns

RECORD NO.: 2019/961JR

IN THE MATTER OF SECTION 5 OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT, 2000 (AS AMENDED)

BETWEEN:-
MS
APPLICANT
-AND-
THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION APPEALS TRIBUNAL AND THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
RESPONDENTS
JUDGMENT of Ms Justice Tara Burns delivered on the 15th December 2020.
General
1

The Applicant is an Albanian national who arrived in the State on 3 April 2017 and thereupon applied for International Protection. The basis for his application was that his father owed a gambling debt and the Applicant was being threatened by a criminal gang to pay it back. His application was refused by an International Protection Officer on 16 April 2019. He appealed to the First Respondent on 10 May 2019 who affirmed the decision of the International Protection Officer on the 5 November 2019, having conducted an oral hearing in the matter.

The Protection Claim
2

In evidence before the First Respondent, the Applicant alleged that his father had borrowed money in 2000 to 2002 for gambling. He said that his father started to receive threats regarding this debt arising from which his father had tried to hang himself and had divorced from the Applicant's mother. It was asserted that the father had not told the Applicant about the debt because he suffered significant brain injuries and mental health problems arising from his suicide attempt. The Applicant only became aware of the debt when his mother told him in 2014/2015. The Applicant did not know how much money was owed by his father or to whom it was owed.

3

He asserted that in November 2016, when he was in college, he was approached by a man with a gun who demanded that he pay his father's debt. He did not go to the police because he knew that this person might have a connection to the police. He was phoned and threatened about two to three weeks later. Over the following four months, he noticed a car following him on two to three occasions. He received three to four further phone calls relating to this debt. He left Albania on 28 March 2017. He stated that he considered Albania to be a corrupt country and that he feared for his life. The Applicant stated that he didn't leave Albania immediately because he has a younger brother and sister that he had to care for in light of his father's illness. He opined that these demands were not made of him earlier because it was only now that he could work and earn money, although he was still studying for his Master's degree at the time when the threats commenced. When asked by the First Respondent, the Applicant did not know how much the debt was but knew that it “was a lot”. The man making the threat to him did not say how much the debt was; they just wanted him to pay some money.

Grounds of Challenge to Decision of First Respondent
4

The Applicant seeks an Order of Certiorari quashing the decision of the First Respondent on the grounds that the First Respondent erred (i) by incorrectly determining the case on a single issue, namely that the Applicant did not know how much the debt was; or in the alternative (ii) if the First Respondent was correct to determine the case on this single issue, it reached a determination which was irrational and unreasonable in the circumstances.

Was the Case determined on a single issue and if so, was the First Respondent incorrect to adopt this strategy.

With respect to the Applicant being unaware of the amount of his father's debt, the First Respondent stated the following at paragraphs 4.3 – 4.6 of its decision:-

“4.3 The Tribunal considers that in any claim where it is asserted that a demand was made to pay money, the...

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