HOW TO GO FOR A JR (Judicial Review) & force a decision on your application
You are not entitled to citizenship, but you are entitled to get a decision on your application in a reasonable time.
Steps in the process:
1. Make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department
- You cannot file a JR without this.
- This is exercising your civic rights, the Department will not "black list" you for it. It doesn't affect your application.
- You can make multiple FOI requests
2. Have a lawyer send the 1st warning letter to the Department
- A lawyer threatens the department with JR proceedings
- They are given about 6 weeks to respond to the letter
- This may force a decision, or typically is generates a generic response. But if there are any issues with the application (e.g. security checks) it will be stated at this point.
- To be a credible threat you need to do this close to your 2 year waiting mark (say up to 3/4 months prior) or past it
- It can cost you around c.200 EUR for this letter including the consultation
3. Have a lawyer send a 2nd warning letter
- Depending on the response from the 1st letter your lawyer will determine if you need to do this
- They are given 14 days to respond to this letter
- You may get a decision at this stage.
- The cost should be included in the initial amount you paid.
4. Starting JR proceedings
- Your lawyer will instruct a barrister (takes about 2 weeks) and then makes an application to the High Courts for a JR (filed typically on a Monday)
- From the time you file to the time the Judge makes a decision, it can take a few weeks.
- The High Court will always issue an Order of Mandamus (This forces the department to make a decision on your application - can be approved or rejected)
- This option is costly because your lawyer will rely on a barrister, but you would be doing this as a last resort and your lawyer will have confidence you have a solid case
- You can pay 1,500-5k for this stage depending on your lawyer, but at the end you will get a decision
- With a JR you are essentially going to the Courts, as a last resort, to say that the Department has acted unlawfully by taking too much time on your application. What is "too much time" at the moment is 2 years, so a lawyer will only file this motion once you have actually past 24 months in waiting for a response.
- The Department doesn't fight a JR to drag it out, you get a decision within a few days.
- The only time the department will fight a JR and you can lose (which is rare, and in this context you will have to pay yours and the departments legal fees (i.e. 3-5k bill) is if the Department is justified in why it's taking its time (ex. they suspect fraud and are doing a Garda investigation). Irrespective, you will still get a decision at the end of this process.
* Timelines of this process
- The entire JR process (from start to finish) from the moment the FOI request is sent can be 4-6 months. If you work backwards, the earliest you can start thinking about this process, if you want to be ready to force a decision, is after the anniversary of your 1.5 year waiting mark.
* To make an FOI via email:
General info: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Fre ... nformation
Fill out this form: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/FOI%20App ... 20Form.pdf
- Request all records pertaining to your citizenship application and provide the application number.
- Make sure to send a copy of your ID with the email.It takes a few days for the department to acknowledge your request via email (you will be issued a reference number). After that it takes about 4-8 weeks to receive the FOI documents. Making an FOI is free.
- The FOI will show you what's been done to date on your application (ex all email/post correspondence, GNIB stamps, a garda report (if they did one it will be stamped as completed)).
* Guidance on how to find a lawyer:
1. Google something like "Dublin Immigration Solicitor"
2. Look at the google reviews of the firms and read through it.
3. Call/email 2-3 of them, to see their pricing. You want to know how much the whole thing will cost you (including: initial consult+2 letters to the department+JR+court fees (which are about 350))
4. Select the firm you feel more comfortable with - who has experience with these cases, they know what to expect, how many cases have they won, are they just trying to get money out of you or they want to make sure you get a resolution. Out of the top 3 google rated firms, you should be able to find a price around 900-1300 for the whole thing (everything i mentioned above consult, letters, etc).