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GO v Minister for Justice and Others

Applicant/Plaintiff: G.O.
Respondent/Defendant: Refugee Applications Commissioner, Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General
Citation/s: [2015] IEHC 646
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Court/s:High Court
Judgment Date/s: 07 October 2015
Judge: MacEochaidh J.
Category:Refugee
Keywords:Country of Origin Information; Appeal; Alternative remedy; Credibility
Country of Origin: Nigeria
URL: http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/0/60DD427ECC7C650380257EF100553416
Geographical Focus:Ireland

Facts:
The applicant, a national of Nigeria, applied for asylum in Ireland. Having investigated his application, the Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that he be refused refugee status. The applicant sought to challenge this by way of judicial review, contending that there was a legal obligation on the part of a decision-maker to consult relevant general and/or specific country of origin information in every single application for refugee status, which the applicant claimed followed from reg. 5(1) of the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006, the Procedures Directive (2005/85/EC) and the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in C-277/11 MM

The court upheld the impugned decision.

Reasoning:
The court rejected that argument. It held that where the credibility of the applicant was fundamentally rejected, then the claim presented and rejected did not have to be checked against country of origin information. It noted, in any event, that the Tribunal had consulted country of origin information, as the information in question had been exhibited by the Tribunal.

The court also rejected the applicant’s argument that Irish Superior Court caselaw restricting review of a Commissioner’s decision in the light of the appellate remedy to the Tribunal was in breach of EU law. It held that EU law required there to be an effective remedy against errors in first instance decisions. It did not require or direct Ireland to ensure that judicial review was available in respect of first instance decisions. Rather, it required an effective remedy which, in the court’s view, Ireland had achieved by putting in place an appellate remedy to the Tribunal where every question of law, every question of fact, and every single complaint sought to be advanced in these proceedings could be advanced and pursued without any hindrance.

Decision:
The court upheld the Commissioner’s decision.

Principles:

Protection decision-makers do not have to consider country of origin information in cases where the applicant’s claim lacks subjective credibility. EU law does not require judicial review to be available as a matter of course against first instance protection decisions.


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