S.H. v Minister for Justice & Ors; A.J. v Minister for Justice & Ors.


Olga Shajaku


Judgment by Ferriter J. in a case where The Court asked, in regards to family reunification, must a child of a refugee be under 18 years of age to qualify for reunification? S.H. and A.J. were International Protection Applicants that applied for family reunification, but whose children turned 18, the cutoff point of which children can be reunified with their family, after their applications were made. Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, S.H. and A.J. argue that their children “aged-out” of the requirements and impacted their children.

The Court ruled that the applicants did not have the right, as a matter of EU law, for family reunification for a child 18 years and over, as well as stating that the delays in the IPO caused by the COVID-19 pandemic did not constitute infringement upon the applicants’ rights.

All declared refugees are treated equally as of the date of their family reunification applications and the Court would be overstepping its constitutional powers by changing the definition of a qualifying child for family reunification from the time of the reunification application to the time of refugee application. S.H.’s application for relief was refused, but in A.J.’s case the Court ruled that the respondents were in breach of Article 22 of the Qualification Directive for the alleged failure of transposition. Therefore, the Court adjourns for more consideration for A.J.’s case for damages.

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