Controversial direction on High Court asylum cases to be reviewed

Lawyers say measures, introduced last January, do not apply in other judicial review proceedings

A controversial practice direction governing cases on the High Court’s asylum and immigration list is being reviewed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A controversial practice direction governing cases on the High Court’s asylum and immigration list is being reviewed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A controversial practice direction governing cases on the High Court’s asylum and immigration list is being reviewed.

Lawyers working on the asylum list have been critical of the direction, introduced last January, saying it imposed significant and wide-ranging obligations on applicants and solicitors which do not apply in other judicial review proceedings.

Friday is the last day for receipt of submissions for the review of the practice direction.

The review was ordered on June 28th by the president of the High Corut, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, in a notice published on the court’s website. It stated that as the practice direction had been in force for six months, he was directing a review and asked that submissions for the review be sent to Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, who manages the asylum and immigration list, by July 26th.

The review, the notice said, was to provide an opportunity to any interested party to make submissions concerning operation of the direction as well as suggestions concerning any changes which they consider appropriate.

Practice direction 81 requires, in all cases initiated after January 1st last, that all applicants for judicial review in the asylum list disclose a substantial amount of information and documents to the court regarding their case, including details of all previous immigration applications made by them or their family members in Ireland or any other country. It also seeks details of any previous or current civil or criminal proceedings. That applies even when the applicant’s family members are not involved in the judicial review proceedings.

Swear

The direction requires that all adult applicants to submit a further affidavit providing the information as requested and also requires the applicant’s solicitor swear an affidavit in relation to the proceedings.

The direction also requires, inter alia, applicants to exhibit the full immigration file for all immigration/protection applications of every applicant made in Ireland and other countries.

Applicants must also draw the court’s attention to any “significant matter of fact adverse to the applicant’s case”. They must also swear that all previous representations made to the Department of Justice or any other immigration authority have been disclosed, or if not, explain why not.

They must also swear all previous statements or representations made to the Department of Justice or any other immigration authority for the applicant and family members is the truth in every respect, or if not, particularising the extent to which any such statements or representations are untrue.

They must identify their religion and confirm the grounding affidavit has been sworn in a specified manner recognised by that religion. They must also specify the language they understand and confirm the applicant fully understands the affidavit and its exhibits in the language in which it is sworn. Other requirements include disclosure of any criminal offences/convictions/proceedings in Ireland or any other country.