On 31st January 2012 Mr Justice Gerard Hogan delivered judgment in the case of SZ v (Pakistan) v Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Attorney General and Ireland.
The case concerned a Pakistani national and Shia Muslim who had been involved with a voluntary Shia Organisation in Lahore, which held a commemorative service annually for a deceased imam. In 2001 however a volunteer was killed and so the applicant’s brother and a friend sought to avenge the death of the organiser and subsequently they killed a member of Sipah e Sabah, a radical Sunni Organisation banned by Pakistani authorities. The prohibited organisation sought to have the Shia treated as Non-Muslims. On the evening of the attack the applicant was shot in the leg by activists and a month later police arrested him and he claims he was ill treated whilst in prison.
Shortly afterwards the applicant was released from prison and he and his family fled to Karachi. In 2005 he briefly returned to Lahore following assurances that he would be safe, yet after receiving threats in relation to the annual commemorative service once again he fled to Kuwait before he ultimately travelled to Ireland.
The applicant claimed that he feared lack of police protection in Pakistan, yet his asylum claim was rejected in 2008 on the basis that he was able to move elsewhere in Pakistan and the decision was never challenged. Furthermore the Minister also rejected the applicant’s subsequent claim to subsidiary protection in stating that he didn’t believe the applicant had demonstrated a sufficiently serious risk of harm.
The applicant sought to challenge the decision of the minister in relation to a number of significant points.
Firstly the applicant challenged before Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan the subsidiary protection and deportation orders decision made by Minster for Justice and Law Reform. The minister failed to grant such protection acknowledging the fact that there was a functioning police system in Pakistan and furthered pointed out that the Shipah e Sabah was banned in the country by authorities. On these grounds Mr. Justice Hogan refused to grant leave to challenge either the subsidiary protection or the deportation order.
In addition the applicant held that he had been denied an effective remedy “to appeal or to challenge otherwise the decision to refuse him a grant of subsidiary protection.” Mr. Justice Hogan looked to his earlier judgment in Efe v Minister for Justice, Equality and Reform, where he held that judicial review was a sufficient and effective remedy to vindicate the applicant’s rights under the Irish Constriction or any international obligations on the State.
Mr. Justice Hogan also reviewed the applicant’s challenge as to the principle of equivalence at EU law which he purports was violated due to the fact that he had no right of appeal in relation to the subsidiary protection decision. Mr. Justice Hogan referred to Cooke J’s decision in BJSA in which he pointed out the Procedures Directive which the applicant referred to did not require an appellate structure in relation to subsidiary protection applications, but rather only in respect of asylum applications.
Finally the applicant challenged s.3(1) of the 1999 Act which permits the Minister to make a deportation order consequently leading to “lifelong effects” and thus the applicant seeks a declaration of incompatibility with s.5(2) ECHR Act 2003. Although he discussed a great deal of ECHR jurisprudence on the matter Mr. Justice Hogan ultimately held that he would adjourn the application for leave pending the decision currently before him in the case of S v Minister for Justice, Equality and Reform.