Talla v Minister for Justice and Equality

CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr Justice Max Barrett
Judgment Date05 March 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] IEHC 129
Docket Number2018 No. 398 JR
Date05 March 2019

[2019] IEHC 129


Barrett J.

2018 No. 398 JR

– and –

Asylum, Immigration and Nationality – Naturalisation – Judicial Review – Applicant seeking an order quashing the Minister’s refusal of his application for naturalisation – Whether the Minister acted arbitrarily/capriciously/autocratically

Facts: The applicant sought to quash a decision of the Minister refusing his application for naturalisation. The application was refused as the Minister was not satisfied the applicant was of ‘good character,’ with reference being made to a number of motor offences the applicant was convicted of in 2011 and 2017.

Held by Barrett J that the court’s role is limited to reviewing whether Minister acted arbitrarily/capriciously/autocratically. The Minister was entitled to consider motor offences when assessing character and there was no reason to believe the Minister did not consider the application in full before making a decision. The applicant was free to reapply for naturalisation at any time, and the nature of the offences will change as they become increasingly historical.

Relief denied.

JUDGMENT of Mr Justice Max Barrett dated 5th March, 2019.

The Minister's wide discretion regarding naturalisations is recognised in, e.g., AA (Algeria) v. MJE [2016] IEHC 416, AMA v. MJE [2016] IEHC 466 and AA v. MJE [2017] IEHC 491. Those cases show the court's role is limited to reviewing whether the Minister acted arbitrarily/capriciously/autocratically. It is clear since Tabi v. MJELR [2010] IEHC 109 that the Minister may consider motor offences when assessing character.


By letter of 20.02.2018, attaching, inter alia, the details set out in Table 1 below the Minister communicated to Mr Talla, his refusal of Mr Talla's naturalisation application, stating, inter alia, that ‘ Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant the application if satisfied that the applicant is of good character. The Minister, having considered your application, is not satisfied that you are of good character and has decided not to grant a certificate of naturalisation….A copy of the submission…prepared for the Minister [including the details in Table 1]… is enclosed for your information. There is no appeals process…However…you may re-apply for…a certificate of naturalisation at any time’.


Table 1 follows:

Court Date Offence Result
21.09.17 No Insurance (User) Strike-Out – Poor Box Payment
Failure to Produce Insurance Certificate. Strike Out
26.05.2011 No Insurance (User) Fine
Failure to Produce Insurance Certificate Taken into Consideration
03.03.2011 Exceed Built Up Area Speed Limit 50 km/h Fine

By way of general observation (the “General Observation”), the court notes that (a) the Minister states in his letter that he has considered Mr Talla's application, (b) there is no reason to believe this means anything other than the complete application file, including submissions made by/for Mr Talla, with (c) the material that accompanied the decision letter also being considered.


[1] What was the standard of good character applied? Was it set unreasonably or unlawfully high? See the General Observation. The Minister was entitled to, and did, decide properly by reference to the material before him that Mr Talla is not a person of good character. There is nothing to suggest that the Minister deviated from, e.g., the concept of good character identified in Hussain v. Minister for Justice [2011] IEHC 171.


[2] (A) Were the decisions on character reasonable/rational by reference to how the facts were rendered? (B) Can those facts be clearly...

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1 cases
  • Ashique v Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 3 April 2019
    ...EQUALITY Respondent JUDGMENT of Mr Justice Max Barrett dated 3rd April, 2019. 1 The court reiterates its observations in Talla v. MJE [2019] IEHC 129, para. 2 By letter of 03.05.2018, the Minister refused Mr Ashique's naturalisation application, attaching a departmental assessment of same w......

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