Leave to land cases are coming before the High Court more and more frequently. Such cases arise when a person arrives at the airport and that person is refused leave to enter the Country for whatever the Immigration Office sees fit utilising their powers under the Immigration Act 2004. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, it is possible to a challenge such refusals by applying for revocation of withdrawal fo the refusal of leave to land. The court will have regard to the circumstances of each case and it will determine whether it was reasonable to refuse an applicant leave to land by examining the reasons given and also whether the balance of convenience favours granting an injunction. If the High Court grants an injunction, then the applicant will be permitted to land and will not be removed from the State until such time as the matter has been examined fully and determined by the High Court. The following case was heard by the High Court in April 2019 and it is a good example of how these cases are judged by the High Court upon their merits and the reasons given for the refusal of leave to land.
Immigration – Leave to land – Removal from the State – Injunction – Applicant seeking an injunction restraining his removal from the State –Whether the balance of convenience and justice was against granting an injunction
Facts: The first applicant, Mr Lockwood, arrived in the State on 1 April 2019 at 10.10 am on a flight from Washington D.C. He was refused leave to land, the two grounds involved being firstly, that he intended to take up employment without a permit and secondly, that there was a reason to believe that the non-national intended to enter the State for purposes other than those expressed. He was given notice under s. 14(1) of the Immigration 2004 and was detained by GNIB officers at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport with a view to his removal to Washington D.C. on a flight scheduled to depart on 8 April 2019 at 12.55. On 4 April 2019, his solicitor applied for revocation or withdrawal of the refusal of leave to land and later made a renewed application for such leave. On 5 April 2019, the Department of Justice and Equality replied outlining why leave to land was refused and maintaining their view that such refusal was lawful. His solicitor replied and provided additional information. That was acknowledged and on 7 April 2019 she sent a further letter requesting a decision. On 8 April, 2019 she was advised that the Department was not willing to alter its position and was also advised that a volunteer worker was required to hold a permit, although the applicants disputed whether this was legally correct. The issue before the High Court was whether to grant an injunction restraining the first applicant’s removal from the State.
Held by Humphreys J that, having considered Okunade v Minister for Justice and Equality  IESC 49, there was in this case no irreparable harm to the applicant. Humphreys J held that virtually nothing had been put forward to displace the position that the refusal of leave to land was well within the jurisdiction of the Minister. Humphreys J held that any legalistic points made on behalf of the applicants in the context of a fresh application for leave to land at a time while the first applicant was in custody due to having improperly attempted to enter the State did not have the consequence that the applicants demonstrated any particularly weighty basis for injunctive relief. Humphreys J held that to grant such an order would be for the court to interfere with what was prima facie a perfectly lawful refusal of leave to land to a non-national who was deceptive even on his own account when he sought to enter the country. Humphreys J held that the balance of convenience and justice was therefore massively against granting an injunction, which was accordingly refused. Injunction refused.