‘Alice-in-Wonderland approach’: Judge criticises deportation review process

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys says orders for deportation lead to appeals ‘ad nauseam’

A person facing deportation can seek a judicial review of the order and also make an application for it to be revoked. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

A person facing deportation can seek a judicial review of the order and also make an application for it to be revoked. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins


A High Court judge has complained about a “hydra-headed” process where every adverse decision against a deportation order leads to new legal challenges.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said some parties reacted to a deportation order by saying “great, this opens up two new fronts”.

The person facing deportation could seek a judicial review of the order while also making an application for it to be revoked. If the revocation application was refused, then that could lead to another judicial review application.

The cycle could repeat itself “ad nauseam”, the judge said. It was “an Alice-in-Wonderland approach to jurisprudence”.

Brazilian family

Mr Justice Humphreys made the comments during a case involving a Brazilian man who came to Ireland illegally in 2008, at the age of 15. He came with his father and a brother, to join his mother who was already here illegally. The father returned to Brazil the following year.

The man before the court, his mother and his brother, were served with deportation orders in 2013. However nothing happened until last year, when they were again contacted at their home in Co Monaghan.

Among the reasons why the man sought to challenge his deportation was that he has been in a relationship since 2014 with a woman from Latvia who is also living in Co Monaghan.

The man has completed the Leaving Certificate but has not been able to join the labour market because of his immigration status.

Mr Justice Humphreys decided there was no basis for the application before the court. A stay on his deportation had been granted earlier, pending the outcome of this case.

Albanian man

In a second case, Mr Justice Humphreys expressed sympathy for a 22-year-old man from Albania who said he had been attacked and ostracised in his native village when his sexual orientation became known.

At the age of 14, he expressed his feelings to a 16-year-old boy, who responded violently.

When the older boy told everyone in the village that he was gay “my friends started to hate me, and my life changed from that moment,” the man told the Office of the Refugee Commissioner in 2014, after arriving unaccompanied in Cork.

“My family did not love me any more. They hated me. They felt ashamed, but they let me live.”

He moved from his village to a town, to live alone, at the age of 15, but when it became known there that he was gay, he left Albania.

Mr Justice Humphreys dismissed a challenge to the decision that the man should not be given refugee status. The issue was not the genuineness of what the man had suffered, but whether it was reasonable to conclude that what had happened to him had not reached the threshold for persecution under the Geneva Convention.

The court heard that a number of authorities, including the UK’s Home Office, have said the Albanian government has taken measures in recent years to combat homophobia in Albanian society.

It remains open to the Albanian man to ask the Minister for Justice to exercise discretion and not deport him.