If you live in Direct Provision, your room is your castle.

Last Friday’s widely-reported High Court judgement in the case of C.A. & T.A. v Minister for Justice brought some important relief to residents now, and provided hope for future applicants. The Judgement hasn’t been published yet, but the main details have been widely reported.

It would appear at this stage that the High Court confirmed three very significant things:

1. That no one has a right to enter your room without your permission, and

2. That you have a right to have visitors if you wish, and

3. That if you need to, you should be able to complain to an independent person.

This is real progress!

If you have to share a room with someone who is not a roommate of your choosing, it would be hard to marry your right to have visitors with your roommate’s right not to. If you are in that situation, you should consider applying for a single room. If your request is refused, contact your solicitor ASAP following a refusal as it may well be possible to have such a refusal overturned by the court.

If you have any concerns about your accommodation, or the situation at your hostel, you should complain! You should be able to complain to an independent person and your complaint absolutely should not be held against you by the management or indeed by the Department.

In the meantime, the 130 page judgement will be published soon. It will provide valuable information about how future cases can succeed. I know I’m not the only one who’ll be up all night reading it when it appears on courts.ie…

Amandla, awethu!

Confused? Here’s the background if you missed it:

Last Friday, the High Court issued a widely-reported judgement in a case called C.A. & T.A. v the Minister for Justice. The plaintiffs were a mother and son who are waiting for a decision as to whether they are entitled to protection in the state (aka “asylum seekers”). While she is waiting for her decision, the woman is not allowed to work. Instead, the state provided bed and board in a residential institution. The woman who took the case has lived in such an institution with her son for three years.

The woman asked the court to review and overturn a decision of the Department not to allow her to work. This would have allowed her to provide for her son, so that she would no longer have to continue to live in a “Direct Provision” institution. In the event, the court found that the State’s decision to oblige the woman to remain dependent on the State and to continue to live with her son in a residential institution was not unlawful on the basis of the case before it. The judgement runs to 130 pages, apparently, and it has not yet been published on the courts service website. However, reports from the courtroom indicate that the Court’s decision makes it clear that there is potential to learn from this case in the future: should the Court be presented with different facts, and possibly using a different kind of application, then it might well find that requiring someone to live in a residential institution is unlawful. The Court indicated that a different kind of application that would allow the applicant to give evidence to the Court about his or her life might have a better chance of success. The written judgement will provide valuable lessons to lawyers and applicants for future cases – it’ll be published online soon and the homework can begin in earnest.


Principal, Claire McCarthy Solicitor

Posted in Immigration