Human Rights and Equality Commission Appears Remotely Before Supreme Court in Revocation of Irish Citizenship Case

Commission as Amicus Curiae Submits That Current Law Interferes with Constitutional Rights

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today appeared remotely before the Supreme Court as amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in a high-profile Supreme Court case (Ali Charaf Damache v the Minister for Justice and Equality) which focuses on the process under which Irish citizenship can be revoked.

The case questions the lawfulness of the procedure to revoke citizenship as set out under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, and specifically section 19 of that law in light of the constitution, European and international law. It is understood that the outcome of this case may have an effect on at least forty other similar matters.

The Commission’s legal submissions to the Supreme Court (published today) examine the process around citizenship revocation from a human rights perspective. It is the Commission’s view that citizenship is clearly linked with a person’s family and private life, and that the revocation of a person’s citizenship will necessarily and seriously effect other civil rights, including for example the right to vote, and other statutory entitlements.

As a consequence, and given the serious impact on a citizen’s rights, it is the Commissions view that robust procedural safeguards are essential to this process, specifically the right to a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal, a process not currently provided for under section 19.

Dr. Frank Conaty, Acting Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission makes available to the Court its expertise in relation to its consideration of the constitutionality of the procedure to revoke citizenship under Irish, European and international law.

“Citizenship is inextricably linked with the right to identity and therefore any decision to revoke  citizenship must have strong procedural safeguards.  This case which will consider the constitutionality of the revocation procedure in Ireland will hopefully clarify this important and far reaching matter.” 

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Karen Joynt

0851746883

kjoynt@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The Commission’s written submissions to the Supreme Court are available at the following link:

https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/legal-submissions-damache-v-minister-for-justice-and-equality/

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

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