Case Summary: N.H.V -v- Minister for Justice and Equality and ors [2017] IESC 35


Republic of Ireland

The Appellant challenging the right to work for asylum seekers had his refugee status granted during these proceedings, however the Supreme Court judged that this did not render the proceedings moot.

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The appellant had been living in Direct Provision for eight years attempting to navigate through the asylum process. His application was refused and re-entered following a judicial review. During this period, he was offered employment in the kitchen of the Direct Provision centre in which he lived, but was not permitted to accept the offer as those awaiting the outcome of asylum applications were not entitled to work until their application had been finalised. The Appellant claimed this was a breach of his rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, and leave to appeal was granted to bring proceedings to the Supreme Court. During these proceedings, the Appellant had his refugee application granted, with the State arguing that the case was now moot.


The Supreme Court found that the proceedings were not moot, and upheld the right to work.


While the Court agreed that the proceedings may have been moot as the appellant could now work, the Court declared that the claim was in essence a constitutional challenge whereby a person no longer directly affected can still have the issue determined. The case was ordered to be heard and it was concluded that the claim was in fact not moot.

Points of Note

The potential mootness had arisen following the Court’s granting of leave to appeal, which established that there was a point of law of general public importance resulting from the case. The Court displayed a willingness to persevere with proceedings despite the fact that the legislation being challenged no longer applied to the Appellant, as it acknowledged that the outcome of this case would have wider ranging significance.

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