Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (479)

Maureen O'Sullivan


479. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of money spent by his Department on appeals to High Court decisions in Hamzq, Hassan and Sulaimon; further, with reference to Mr. Justice Hardiman's statement in his decision in Sulaimon that it is dispiriting to see State litigation conducted in this way at public expense, the cost benefit analysis procedures that are in place in his Department to determine whether to appeal a High Court decision. [12805/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

At the outset I think it important to state that it is the long-standing policy and practice for the Department not to comment in detail on the outcome of cases which have been before the Courts. This policy applies equally to cases which the Department’s interpretation of the law have been upheld in the Courts as it does to cases where the Courts have found against such interpretation. There are sound and well grounded reasons for this approach; to comment in detail on specific cases would carry the risk that the Department would be accused of interfering with the doctrine of the separation of powers between the State and the Courts. This doctrine which is enshrined in the Constitution is of course a fundamental cornerstone of our system of justice and its interface with the executive.

However, I would point out that my Department in its approach to legal challenges acts on foot of the legal advice available to it from the State's law officers. In considering its approach, as well as considering the specific facts of each individual case, it must have regard to the wider implications of any such challenges and as such is required to act in order to maintain the integrity of the State's immigration policies and procedures. My Department in dealing with all such cases acts in good faith, with integrity, in accordance with the law as it understands it to be at that time, and in accordance with the legal advice available to it.

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service that Bills of Cost have not been yet processed. This process can take a considerable period of time often depending on when the Bills are submitted and, in any event, are referred to the Taxing Master as appropriate.