Judgment Title: P. E. (a minor suing by his pastor and next frien P.I.A.) v Minister for Justice Equality & Law Reform
Composition of Court: Hedigan J.
Judgment by: Hedigan J.
Status of Judgment: Approved
This judgment is circulated in redacted form to avoid identification of the parties
Neutral Citation Number:  IEHC 238
THE HIGH COURT
[2005 No. 670 J.R.]BETWEEN
P. E. A MINOR SUING BY HIS PASTOR AND NEXT FRIEND P. I. A.
THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM
RESPONDENTJUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Hedigan delivered on the 16th day of May, 2007.
This is an application made for judicial review of the deportation order that issued in the applicant’s case. He was granted leave by the High Court to apply for an order of certiorari on two grounds:
(i) The Minister made a decision to deport the applicant without considering his age and the true effect of deportation upon him.
(ii) That there was ambiguity in the submissions made to the Minister as to the applicant’s age.
The applicant’s case is that he was deemed to be an adult for the purposes of his asylum claim. The case that was made on behalf of the applicant was that the Minister was required to consider the applicant’s age under s. 3(6)(a) of the Immigration Act 1999. It was argued that he did not do this because he could not do it because the evidence was contradictory or ambiguous or wrong. It was submitted to the court that the report to the Minister which is exhibited at p. 52 of the applicant’s book of documents where it dealt with s. 3(6)(a) of the Act stated:
Because of this ambiguity it is pleaded on behalf of the applicant that the Minister should have caused an enquiry to be made. For their part the respondents submit that the power of the Minister to deport a person is not dependent on their having reached the age of majority, nor does a different procedure apply to persons who are under eighteen years of age. They also plead that there is no evidence that the consideration of an application for leave to remain would have been any different having regard to the question of whether the applicant was a minor or an adult. I accept this submission on the part of the respondents, I further accept their submission that while it is accepted that the Minister is required to have regard to the age of the applicant, this requirement is limited to the facts as they appear or are known to the Minister. He is not required to carry out any investigation under that subsection. The Minister noted that the Commissioner had found that the applicant was an adult but also that the applicant maintained that he was seventeen years of age at the time of the making of the deportation order. It seems to me that the information before the Minister at the time of the making of his decision on the deportation order in relation to the age of the applicant was that he was either seventeen or eighteen. There is nothing in the Act that appears to require the Minister to treat persons of a specific age in a different manner but merely to take account of their age. This may be whether they are very young or very old or any other age that may be relevant to the circumstances in the case. It seems to me that the duty of the Minister in this regard is simply to take account of the age of the person in respect of whom a deportation order is proposed to be made whatever that age is. How he does so is a matter for himself. I have been referred to and I adopt the statement of the law in this regard made by Clarke J. in Kouaype v. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Others (Unreported, High Court, 9th November, 2005):