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Country of Decision : Ireland
Court Name : IE: Supreme Court
Date of decision : 19/06/2020
Type : Judgment
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : [2020] IESC 32

M.A.M. (Somalia) and K.N. (Uzbekistan) v Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland

IE: Supreme Court rules on the loss of the right to family reunification as a result of naturalisation

According to EMN Ireland:

"The issue raised in these proceedings was effectively whether a refugee who subsequently acquired Irish citizenship by naturalisation lost the right to family reunification pursuant to section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The evidence before the court was that between 2010 and 2017 the Minister for Justice accepted applications for family reunification from refugees who had acquired Irish citizenship by naturalisation, but on foot of legal advice in 2017 the Minister reverted to the pre-2010 position that such persons lost their right to refugee family reunification upon naturalisation. The applicants challenged this position in judicial review proceedings. The High Court ([2018] IEHC 113) and the Court of Appeal ([2019] IECA 116) dismissed the applicants’ challenge, and the applicants appealed."

"The Supreme Court held that as a matter of statutory interpretation, a refugee who subsequently acquired Irish citizenship by naturalisation did not lose the right to family reunification under section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The interpretation urged by the Minister would create substantial legislative uncertainty when the purpose of the 1996 Act was to create certainty. The legislative aim of the Oireachtas was to identify a definitive mark of recognition to persons who were entitled to refugee status in the State, by the grant of a declaration of refugee status under section 17 of the 1996 Act. The fact that refugees who received declarations of refugee status were to be entitled to many of the same rights as citizens could not mean that the Act suggested, by virtue of becoming citizens, the declarations which they had received automatically ceased to be in force. Not only would this have required express words, it would have run counter to the legislative intent and purpose of the statute."

Family Reunification;

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ; European Convention on Human Rights; Family Reunification Directive (Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification); Revised Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection) and/or APD 2005/85/CE; Revised Qualification Directive (Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as BIP for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection- recast)/or QD 2004/83/EC; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;


Ireland, Supreme Court, M.A.M. (Somalia) and K.N. (Uzbekistan) v Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland, [2020] IESC 32, 19 June 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.