Cases of non-EEA students who wish to remain in Ireland to be heard

Supreme Court says it’s ‘self-evident’ issues raised are of general public importance

The appeals concern judgments by the Court of Appeal last December in both cases.

The appeals concern judgments by the Court of Appeal last December in both cases.

 

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals by the Minister for Justice with significant implications for many people from outside the European Economic Area who are working here.

In a published determination, a three-judge Supreme Court said it was “self-evident” the issues raised are of general public importance, with a substantial number of cases in the High Court immigration list said to be dependent on their outcome.

The two test cases have implications for non-EEA people who came here as students before the government introduced a new study policy in 2011 that non-EEA students can only reside in Ireland for a maximum of seven years.

The fact that a substantial number of people within the State are said to be affected by the potential outcome of these cases in itself, renders the cases a matter of general public importance, the Supreme Court also said.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Mr Justice John Mac Menamin and Ms Justice Mary Laffoy directed the Minister’s appeals in both cases will be case managed together, made directions for exchange of legal documents and returned them for further case management late next month.

The appeals concern judgments by the Court of Appeal last December in both cases. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was involved in the appeals as amicus curiae, assistant to the court on legal issues.

‘Change of status’

The Court of Appeal ruled, before determining “change of status” applications by the applicants, the Minister must consider their rights to private and family life under the Constitution and article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It held that a proposed refusal of an application for permission to remain, under section 4.7 of the Immigration Act 2004, of people such as the applicants potentially interferes with their right to respect for private and family life such as to engage article 8.

The court noted the then minister accepted she had to consider such rights when considering whether to make deportation orders.