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Decision to refuse permission to land on public policy grounds was lawful

By: Hannah Godfrey BL

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High Court dismisses judicial review proceedings, holding that: (a) an application for permission to land is made orally at the point of entry into the State and must be determined promptly by an immigration officer, and the reasons for the grounds of refusal were not required to be notified in writing; (b) there was nonetheless an obligation to give reasons for a decision to refuse permission to land, but a reason had been given to the applicant as to why the decision had been made, namely that her English-language course would be conducted online, and this provided her with the necessary information to assess whether she would seek to challenge the decision; (c) 'public policy' as referred to in the legislation referred to government policy relating to the regulation of entry into the State as opposed to relating to personal conduct on the part of a non-national; and (d) the statutory notice was not defective for failing to specify public policy as the sole ground for refusal.

Application for judicial review of decision by immigration officer to refuse applicant permission to land and enter the State through Cork Airport in December 2020 - Malaysian national who was exempt from visa requirement sought permission to land in order to undertake English language course - permission refused by immigration officer as course was to take place online and not in person - applicant served with notice pursuant to s. 4(4) of the Immigration Act 2004 setting out the grounds as to why she was being refused permission simply as 'that the non-national’s entry into or presence, in the State could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy' - government guidelines as to language courses moving online during Covid-19 pandemic issued in October 2020 - rules in place since 2011 provide that non-EEA students are not permitted to enter the State to undertake a distance learning course - legal principles that apply set out in Ting v. Minister for Justice - whether purported s. 4(4) notice failed to comply with the requirements of the 2004 Act as it failed to record the factual reasons for the refusal - whether respondent failed to provide reasons for the decision to refuse permission to land - whether refusal on grounds of public policy was not established in this case having regard to the meaning of public policy in the 2004 Act - whether purported s. 4(4) notice was defective for lack of specificity by referring to both national security and public policy.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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