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SO v Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Applicant/Plaintiff: S.O.
Respondent/Defendant: Refugee Appeals Tribunal
Citation/s: [2017] IEHC 255
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Court/s:High Court
Judgment Date/s: 27 April 2017
Judge: Keane D.
Category:Refugee
Keywords:Protection (International); Refugee Law; Imputed political opinion; Convention nexus;
Country of Origin: Guinea
Geographical Focus:Other

Facts:

The applicant was a Guinean national who applied for refugee status in the State. She claimed to have worked as a secretary in the accounting/finance department of the Guinean National Assembly, and that she fled Guinea after a military coup fearing persecution. Her application was refused at first instance and on appeal. Although the Tribunal accepted her general credibility, it was not satisfied she had established a Convention nexus linking her fear of persecution to one of the five Convention grounds. The applicant instituted judicial review proceedings challenging the decision of the Tribunal.

Reasoning:

The High Court quashed the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, holding that the Tribunal had erred in law in refusing the applicant’s appeal because there was no evidence that people in a similar position to the applicant had faced persecution after the coup. The High Court noted that the applicant’s case was based on the fact that she held a unique position, and that the Tribunal had therefore misdirected itself in law. 

Decision:

Refusal of refugee status quashed.

Principles:

This decision provides guidance to protection decision-makers dealing with claims based on imputed political opinion and the correct approach to risk assessment in such cases.


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