Supreme Court Hears that Citizenship Revocation Should Only Occur Once Legislative Safeguards Are in Place - IHREC - Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Supreme Court Hears that Citizenship Revocation Should Only Occur Once Legislative Safeguards Are in Place

Commission Continues Role as Amicus Curiae in Damache Citizenship Case

 The Supreme Court will decide whether Ireland’s law on revocation of citizenship is unconstitutional in whole or in part following a hearing today.

In October 2020, the Court ruled on the high-profile Supreme Court case Ali Charaf Damache v the Minister for Justice and Equality. The case examined the lawfulness of the existing procedure under Section 19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which provides for a power to revoke Irish citizenship from people who acquire Irish nationality.

The Court found that that the scheme in section 19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 for the revocation of naturalised citizenship was unconstitutional, but, following that decision, a question arose about the scale of that declaration. The Court invited submissions from the parties, and from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in its role as amicus curiae, as to whether the Court should or preserve certain aspects of that provision.

The Commission exercised its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) powers, appearing before the Court today. The Commission submitted to the Court that it was essential that persons whose citizenship the Minister proposed to revoke were afforded fair procedures in that process as a matter of human rights law.

The Commission expressed its view that the appropriate order from the Supreme Court would be an order striking down section 19 of the 1956 Act in its entirety. It would then fall to the Oireachtas to enact legislation providing for the revocation of naturalisation including a procedure which meets the standards set out by the Court in its October judgment.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, stated:

“Citizenship is inextricably linked with a person’s identity and a range of civil rights, therefore the Commission welcomes the opportunity to make additional submissions to the Court on how this legislation can be brought into line with the Constitution.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

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Editor’s Note

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

https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/outline-submissions-in-respect-of-the-final-orders-of-the-supreme-court-ali-charaf-damache-v-the-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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