Can the Minster for Justice refuse entry to a refugee’s dependants because they may need State support?

On Thursday, the 20th of November, the Court will deliver judgment in AMS v Minister for Justice and Equality. In the High Court (here), Mac Eochaidh J granted an order of certiorari against the Minister’s decision to refuse AMS reunification with dependant family members (mother and siblings). He held that s 18 of the Refugee Act 1996 does not allow the Minister to prohibit entry to the State of qualifying dependent family members of a declared refugee because they will initially need State support [45].

Mac Eochaidh J’s reasoning was that it would go against the purpose of s 18 of the 1996 Act if the Minister’s discretion allowed him to refuse reunification where the individuals may initially need State support, as refugee status cannot be denied for that reason and most applicants for reunification will initially need State support [44].

Mac Eochaidh J also held that the proportionality test applied by the Minister was not adequate.

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