Sunday, March 29, 2020

Not military justice, but . . .

The Court of Appeal of Ireland has handed down an interesting decision in A.J.K. v. Minister for Defence, [2020] IECA 64 (Aileen Donnelly, J.). At issue was whether a Pakistani citizen lawfully permitted to stay in Ireland could be precluded from enlisting in the Defence Force even if they have no guarantee that they will be permitted to remain in the country through the full term of the enlistment. Excerpt:
In my view, the Minister has constructed an argument and placed upon s. 53 of the 1954 Act an interpretation that it does not bear. The Minister cannot be bound in estoppel by interpretations that his department (whether the civil or military element thereof) have given to this section previously. I simply refer to that to highlight the confusion and lack of clarity as to the meaning of s. 53 by the Department of Defence. The reason for that confusion and lack of clarity is because s. 53 actually provides for a simple requirement that those who are enlisting must sign up to a term of enlistment for a prescribed period of time. Those who are unwilling to sign up to such a period could not be enlisted under the Act. However, those who are willing to sign up and who are otherwise not disqualified by the recruiting regulations made under the Act are entitled to be enlisted. If by operation of law or otherwise, their entitlement to reside in the State ceases, then the applicable rules and regulations concerning rights of residence will come into play. If, through lack of right of residence, and therefore permission to work, or through an act of deportation, they are no longer in a position to serve in the Defence Forces, they will be liable to discharge. Up until that point occurs, they are obliged to render service to the State in accordance with the terms of their enlistment. If the Minister has a genuine concern about persons who have restricted or limited rights of residence he remains free, subject to the statutory provision, set out in s. 53 of the 2015 Act, to amend the enlistment and recruiting regulations.
Irish Legal News has this helpful summary of the litigation by Andrew McKeown BL.

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