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IE: The High Court issued an injunction prohibiting a transfer to Spain under the Dublin III Regulation, pending a decision on Article 17 on the discretionary clause.

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Other Source/Information
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
Dublin Regulation III (Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for IP)
Ireland, High Court, AC v International Protection Appeals Tribunal & Ors, [2024] IEHC 77, 12 February 2024. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Other information

European Union, Court of Justice of the European Union [CJEU], C.K. and Others v Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija), Case C-578/16 PPU , ECLI:EU:C:2017:127, 16 February 2017.

European Union, Court of Justice of the European Union [CJEU], M.A., S.A. and A.Z. v International Protection Appeals Tribunal and Others (IE), Case C‑661/17, ECLI:EU:C:2019:53, 23 January 2019.


The applicant, AC, is an Algerian national who applied for international protection in Ireland. The applicant entered Spain by crossing the border into Spain from Algeria. The International Protection Office submitted a take back request to Spain in accordance with Article 13(1) of the Dublin III Regulation and Spain accepted responsibility for the applicant.

Under Article 17 of the Dublin III Regulation (sovereignty clause), the applicant's lawyer submitted a request to the Minister for Justice on his behalf, claiming that the applicant would face destitution and onward refoulement if he was returned to Spain and requested that his application for international protection be determined in Ireland.

The applicant was informed that the Minister would decide on Article 17 in due course, but more than 19 months had passed with no decision on the matter and no response to the applicant's request. The applicant received a notice of decision to transfer him to Spain as it was determined that Spain was responsible for examining his request for international protection. The applicant filed an appeal with the International Protection Appeal Tribunal, which dismissed the appeal and upheld the transfer ruling.

Two adjournments of the leave hearing were made after proceedings were opened with the intention of stopping time. In order to arrange for the applicant's transfer, the Department of Justice wrote to the applicant with instructions to appear in person at the Garda National Immigration Bureau. The applicant was subsequently served with a notice to appear, which prompted the applicant to file an application for leave to seek judicial review, as well as an application for an injunction prohibiting the Minister from transferring the applicant to Spain under the Dublin III Regulation.

The applicant cited the CJEU's rulings in C.K. and Others v. Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenija) and M.A., S.A., and A.Z. v. International Protection Appeals Tribunal and Others, to support the claim that the discretionary clause of Article 17 is an essential part of the mechanism for determining Member State responsibility under the Dublin III Regulation. In addition, the applicant had the right to appeal Article 17 but was prevented from doing so by the Minister's inaction. The applicant further cited the opinion of Advocate General Pikamäein in AHY v. Minister for Justice, and held that no transfer could occur until this Court had received a ruling from the CJEU.

The High Court granted leave on most of the grounds. The High Court ordered an injunction prohibiting the Minister from proceeding with the transfer until the proceedings were concluded, as the Minister had not yet responded to the applicant's Article 17 request. The CJEU's ruling in AHY, the High Court anticipated, would provide some clarity on how an application for the exercise of discretion under Article 17 interacts with other provisions of the Dublin III Regulation, specifically Articles 27 and 29, which deal with remedies and deadlines for challenging decisions that are unfavourable to an applicant. However, in light of the CJEU ruling in MA, the High Court determined that an application made under Article 17 is an integral part in determining Member State responsibility for an application for international protection under the Dublin III Regulation. Rejecting the injunction would, in the opinion of the High Court, be unfair to the applicant and would enable the Minister to benefit from the inability to rule on the decision. As a result, the High Court issued the injunction while the decision on Article 17 is being decided.

Country of Decision
Court Name
IE: High Court
Case Number
[2024] IEHC 77
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Dublin procedure