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Supreme Court of Ireland Decisions


You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> Supreme Court of Ireland Decisions >> Duman & Ors -v- Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform [2007] IESC 64 (20 December 2007)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IESC/2007/S64.html
Cite as: [2007] IESC 64

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Judgment Title: Duman & Ors -v- Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Neutral Citation: [2007] IESC 64

Supreme Court Record Number: 482/2006

High Court Record Number: 2005 1348 JR

Date of Delivery: 20 December 2007

Court: Supreme Court


Composition of Court: Murray C.J., Denham J., Fennelly J., Kearns J., Finnegan J.

Judgment by: Denham J.

Status of Judgment: Approved

Judgments by
Result
Concurring
Denham J.
Appeal allowed - set aside High Court Order
Murray C.J., Fennelly J., Kearns J., Finnegan J.





THE SUPREME COURT
[S.C. No: 482/2006]

Murray C.J.
Denham J.
Fennelly J.
Kearns J.
Finnegan J.

Between/


Gheorghe Dorin Duman and Alina-Vica Gap Samolia
and Kevin Duman (an infant suing by his father and next friend, Gheorghe Dorin Duman)
Applicants/Respondents
and

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Respondent/Appellant

Judgment delivered the 20th day of December, 2007 by Denham J.

1. Issue
The issue in this case is the decision of a Minister of the Government, made in an administrative scheme, established as an exercise of executive power, to deal with a unique group of foreign nationals. It is submitted on the one hand that, inter alia, in this scheme the Constitutional and Convention rights of applicants were required to be considered in accordance with law. On the other hand, it was submitted that neither Constitutional nor Convention rights arose to be considered. Thus the nature of the scheme is at the core of the appeal, and with it, the nature of any judicial review. Also, at the kernel of the case is the fact that the position of a foreign national, who failed in an application under the scheme, remains the same as it was prior to the application, with all relevant Constitutional and Convention rights remaining yet to be considered.

At the core of the case is the refusal by the Minister of the first and second named applicants' applications under the IBC 05 Scheme.

2. Eight Cases
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the respondent/appellant, hereinafter referred to as the 'the Minister', has appealed from the judgments of the High Court (Finlay Geoghegan J.) in seven cases where the High Court quashed the decision of the Minister to refuse applications for permission to remain in the State to foreign national parents of Irish born children under a scheme which he had introduced. In the eighth case the Minister is appealing against the order for costs made in the High Court.

3. These related cases are:

      (i) Bode v. The Minister, Appeal No. 485/2006
      (ii) Oguekwe v. The Minister, Appeal No. 489/2006
      (iii) Dimbo v. The Minister, Appeal No. 484/2006
      (iv) Fares v. The Minister, Appeal No. 483/2006
      (v) Oviawe v. The Minister, Appeal No. 480/2006
      (vi) Duman v. The Minister, Appeal No. 482/2006
      (vii) Adio v. The Minister, Appeal No. 481/2006
      (viii) Edet v. The Minister, Appeal No. 005/2007
The Minister was represented in all the cases by the same counsel. The same affidavit of Maura Hynes, a principle officer in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, was filed in all cases on behalf of the Minister. Similar written submissions were filed in all cases on behalf of the Minister.

4. The general facts and law relating to the Minister's decision in the administrative scheme in the seven cases are set out in the Bode judgment. The particular facts, law, and decision of this case are set out herein.

5. Parties
Kevin Duman, the third named applicant and hereinafter referred to as 'the third named applicant', was born in Ireland on the 14th November, 2001 and is an Irish citizen. He has resided in the State since his birth. Gheorghe Dorin Duman, the first named applicant and hereinafter referred to as 'the first named applicant', is the father of the third named applicant and is a Romanian national. Alina-Vica Gap Samolia, the second named applicant, and hereinafter referred to as 'the second named applicant', is the mother of the third named applicant, and is a Romanian national.

6. Particular Facts
The first and second named applicants each made an application under the IBC 05 Scheme and both were refused. It is common case that each have been convicted of a shoplifting offence. The letters from the Minister included the following findings. In relation to the first named applicant it was stated:-

      "In announcing the revised processing arrangements the Minister stated that persons of good character who have not been involved in criminal activity can expect to be granted permission to remain in the State. I am advised by the Garda National Immigration Bureau that on 1 March 2004, you were convicted of a shoplifting offence contrary to Section 4 of the Theft Act, 2001.

      On the basis of the foregoing, I am not satisfied that you are a person of good character who has not engaged in criminal activity as set out in the Minister's announcement and, accordingly, your application for permission to remain in the State under the revised arrangements is hereby refused."

In relation to the second named applicant's application it was stated:-
      "In announcing the revised arrangements the Minister stated that persons of good character who have not been involved in criminal activity can expect to be granted permission to remain in the State. I am advised by the Garda National Immigration Bureau that on 9 May 2002 at the Dublin District Court 46, you were convicted of a shoplifting offence contrary to Section 2 of the Larceny Act, 1916, as amended and received a three year suspended sentence. I am advised that two other charges were also taken into consideration.

      On the basis of the foregoing, I am not satisfied that you are a person of good character who has not engaged in criminal activity as set out in the Minister's announcement and, accordingly, your application for permission to remain in the State under the revised arrangements is hereby refused."

The Minister was requested to reconsider the matter. His reply was that the position regarding the applications remained as detailed previously.

7. High Court Proceedings
By order of the High Court (Peart J.) on the 12th December, 2005, the applicants were granted leave to seek certain reliefs by way of judicial review, including an order of certiorari quashing the Minister's decision.

The High Court (Finlay Geoghegan J.) on the 14th November, 2006, noted, in considering the decision:-

      "These proceedings were heard with the proceedings 2006 No. 504 J.R. Mercy Oviawe & Ors. v. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Ors. and immediately after the proceeding 2006 No. 102 J.R. Deborah Olarantimi Bode v. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in both of which I have delivered judgments today. Insofar as relevant, the position of the applicants in these proceedings is similar to the position of the applicants in the Oviawe v. Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform [2006] IEHC 342 proceedings. In each there is an Irish citizen child and a non-national parent or parents who made an application from within the State under IBC/05 which was refused by reason of a criminal conviction. Further in each, the decision on IBC/05 was taken without any consideration of the rights of the citizen child."
The High Court held that there was nothing that distinguished this case from Oviawe. Thus, for the reasons given in the High Court in Bode and Oviawe, the High Court reached the following conclusions:-
      "1. The decision taken by the [Minister] on the applications under IBC/05 of the first and second named applicants as communicated in the letters of 12th September, 2005, and confirmed in the letters of 24th November, 2005 are (sic) unlawful as it was taken in breach of the third named applicant’s rights under Article 40.3 of the Constitution.

      2. The decision of the [Minister] on the applications under IBC/05 of the first and second named applicants communicated in the letter of 12th September, 2005, and confirmed in the letters of 24th November, 2005 are unlawful as they were taken in breach of the [Minister's] obligations under section 3(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003, as they were taken in a manner which is not compatible with the State's obligations to the third named applicant under article 8 of the Convention."

The High Court held that the applicants were entitled to orders of certiorari of the Minister's decisions refusing the first and second named applicants' applications under the IBC 05 Scheme and remitted the applications for consideration and determination by the Minister in accordance with law.

8. Appeal
The Minister appealed against the judgment and orders of the High Court. The submissions to this Court were similar to those in the Bode case.

9. Decision
I would allow the appeal of the Minister. My general reasons are set out in the Bode judgment and in the Oviawe case. My particular reasons are set out in this judgment.

10. Conclusion
This case raises the issue of criminal activity of applicants.

I am satisfied that the proceedings and appeal are misconceived. The IBC 05 Scheme was an administrative scheme established by the Minister to deal with a unique group of foreign nationals. The parameters of the scheme were established clearly. The criteria included that applicants should not have been involved in criminal activity.

The scheme was administered by the Minister within its criteria. Both the applicants have been involved in criminal activity and have been convicted of offences.

At no time was it intended, within the ambit of the scheme, that the Minister would consider, or did the Minister consider, the Constitutional or Convention rights of the applicants. Thus the grounds of the application, and the appeal, relating to Constitutional and Convention rights, were misconceived, and premature.

Applicants, unsuccessful in their application under the IBC 05 Scheme, remain in the same position they were in before their application. All relevant Constitutional and Convention rights remain to be considered, in another process, for example under s.3 of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended.

Consequently, I would allow the appeal and reverse the decision of the High Court.


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URL: http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IESC/2007/S64.html