On 21 October 2013, Sinnott Solicitors represented two families who were granted leave by Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh to challenge the Irish system of direct provision, which provides bed and board accommodation, along with an allowance of €19.10 per week per adult (€9.60 per week per child) for asylum seekers whose applications are pending or refused (pre-removal).
Leave to apply for Judicial Review was granted in A and others v Minister for Justice and Equality, Minister for Social Protection, Attorney General and Ireland (Record No. 2013 751 JR), and N and others v Minister for Justice and Equality, Minister for Social Protection, Attorney General and Ireland (Record No. 2013 750 JR), along with one other similar application.
The judicial review applications challenge the lack of legal basis to the direct provision system – which is operated under ministerial and administrative arrangements rather than legislation – and seek an order Mandamus for legislative proposals to be brought forward.
In addition the applications argue that the ‘habitual residence condition’, which excludes asylum seekers from social assistance payments, is a violation of Article 8 (right to private life) in isolation or in conjunction with Article 14 (right to non-discrimination).
Furthermore the applications argue that the failure of the Minister for Justice to consider the adult applicants requests to be provided with a right to work and to seek work pending the outcome of their subsidiary protection applications is unconstitutional pursuant to the obligation on the State to defend and vindicate rights of individuals and the right to family and private life and is unjustifiable unequal treatment under Article 40.1 of the Constitution.
The cases were made returnable to the High Court on the 4 of November 2013.