Ireland - High Court, 1 December 2010, Gashi v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, [2010] IEHC 436

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
01-12-2010
Citation:
[2010] IEHC 436
Additional Citation:
2010 No.89 MCA
Court Name:
High Court (Cooke J)
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Ireland - European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (SI No.518 of 2006) - Reg 11(2)
Ireland - Refugee Act 1996 - Section 21
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Headnote: 

This case concerns a revocation decision, which turned on the meaning of Art 14.3(b) of the Qualification Directive (in particular the word “decisive” in that Article). The Court relied on an analysis of the French and Italian translations of Art 14.3, which the court felt were not worded as precisely as the English text.

Facts: 

The applicant was declared a refugee in 2001 after a successful appeal to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. His claim was based on his stated Kosovan nationality, and his feared persecution was as a suspected member of the Kosovan Liberation Army. In 2008 information came to light that the applicant’s fingerprints were registered in the UK in 1997 under a different name as an Albanian national. The applicant admitted that he had been in the UK at that time and had been fingerprinted. He denied claiming to be Albanian at that time however; he maintained that he told the UK authorities that he was from Kosovo. The Irish government did not accept this, and revoked his declaration of refugee status on grounds of giving false information during his asylum application. The applicant lodged a judicial review of this decision, during the course of which it transpired that the applicant had previously lodged an asylum claim in the UK, under a different name, and had abandoned this claim before coming to Ireland and successfully seeking asylum there. The applicant nonetheless challenged the revocation of his refugee status on the grounds that the information which had come to light was not “decisive” to his claim, within the meaning of Art 14.3 of the Qualification Directive.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The key question for the Court was the meaning of the word “decisive” in the text of Regulation 11(2) of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 [which transposes Art 14.3 of the Qualification Directive]. The applicant argued that his concealment of the prior asylum claim in the UK (amongst other things) was not decisive to his successful asylum claim in Ireland. He argued that the decisive matters were that he was outside of Kosovo as a suspected former member of a banned group. The Court did not agree. It held that the term “decisive” is broader, and relied on an analysis of the French and Italian translations of Art 14.3, which the court felt were not worded as precisely as the English text. The Court held that the key question is whether the application for asylum would have been determined differently had the information in question not been concealed. In this case, the Court considered that the misleading information went directly to the issue of credibility.

The Court held that the declaration of refugee status for the applicant was tainted by misrepresentation, and the revocation decision was upheld.

Outcome: 

Judicial review was refused; the revocation decision of the government was upheld.

Observations/Comments: 

The Court pointed out that it was open to the applicant to reapply for refugee status, on the basis of all the true facts, and thereby seek to persuade the State that he is a refugee; the original refugee declaration was however materially tainted and could not stand.

Other sources cited: