Irish Supreme Court rules on Family Reunification, A.M.S. (Somalia, Family Reunification) [2014] IESC 65

Date: 
Monday, December 1, 2014

The Supreme Court has held that a decision by the Minister for Justice and Equality to refuse a Somali refugee family reunification (with his mother and minor sister) was outside the range of proportionate decisions which were open to the Minister. The Court therefore held that the Minister’s appeal was to be dismissed.  

The facts of the case relate to a Somali national who had received refugee status in Ireland but was subsequently denied family reunification with his family members located in Ethiopia. In this regard, the refusal was based on a margin of appreciation whereby the State could deviate from the right to respect of family life where the legitimate aim of the State is being pursued, namely its economic well-being.

Whilst the Supreme Court conceded that “economic consequences for the State of the admission of persons as a result of a successful family reunification application are a factor which can be taken into account,” in this case the only factors for refusal put forward by the Minister was the general burden on the State. The Court found that the financial consequences were in fact extremely limited. Thus, in those circumstances the Court surmised that it could not reasonably be held that “those factors outweigh, in a proportionate fashion, the family and other rights which had to be balanced on the applicant’s side.” The Court consequently submitted that the decision of the Minister to refuse family reunification in respect of the applicant’s family was disproportionate.       


27 November 2014                                      

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Keywords: 
Family reunification
Tags: 
Ireland