The High Court decided it had to answer 8 questions:
- Did the Minister for Justice and Equality, err in law and act irrationally and unreasonably in relying on public policy to refuse the visa appeals, in light of the limitations imposed on such reliance by Art. 27 of the Directive?
- Did the Minister err in law and act irrationally and unreasonably in proceeding on the basis that the fifth applicant would have already to be present and established in the State before the visas could be granted?
- Was the Minister entitled to take into account the fifth applicant’s perceived motive for wishing to move to Ireland as a basis for refusing the appeals?
- Did the Minister act in breach of statutory duty and in breach of EU law in failing to assess and determine whether the first to fourth applicants are or were members of the household of their EU citizen family member (the fifth applicant) in Pakistan?
- Did the Minister act irrationally and unreasonably, having taken more than two years to determine the visa applications at first instance, in refusing the visa appeals partly on the basis that the fifth applicant had not yet made efforts to secure school places in the State for the third and fourth applicants, Messrs Usman, and had not yet secured permanent accommodation in the State?
- Did the Minister act irrationally and unreasonably in finding that the applicants had failed to prove that the first applicant was the cousin of the fifth applicant and/or did the Minister unlawfully fail to give reasons for this finding?
- Did the Minister act irrationally and unreasonably in refusing the visa appeals partly on the basis that there was no evidence that the first applicant was the ultimate beneficiary of the monies transferred to him by the fifth applicant?
- Did the Minister act in breach of statutory duty and in breach of EU law in failing to assess and determine whether the third and fourth applicants are or were dependent on their EU citizen family member (the fifth applicant)? The Minister contended that the proceedings turned on a single issue, viz. whether the first to fourth applicants are “dependents or members of the household” of the fifth applicant, the quoted text being drawn from Art.3(2) of the Directive.
The Court answered these 8 questions as follows:
- the Minister acted unreasonably;
- he did not see that the Minister so proceeded;
- he did not see that the issue of motive features in the impugned decisions;
- the Minister acted unreasonably but not in the manner posited;
- the Minister acted unreasonably, perhaps even irrationally, in this regard;
- the Minister acted unreasonably because the statutory declarations provided some evidence in this regard; and
Barrett J held that, given the deficiencies identified, the court would grant the orders of certiorari sought and remit the applicants’ applications to the Minister for fresh consideration.
It is outrageous that the Minister and his Department could have so clearly and so blatantly breached the rights of these Applicants? The judge condemned the Minister’s actions as unreasonable and irrational. If someone in my office acted like that, they would perhaps lose their job or at least be severely sanctioned. Did any heads roll in the Minister’s office? What do you think?
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