The applicant in AA (Nigeria) v Refugee Appeals Tribunal  IEHC 47 sought a certificate of leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the High Court there refusing him leave to challenge the Tribunal’s refusal of his application for refugee status on the basis that the judgment involved a point of law of exceptional public importance and that it was desirable in the public interest that such an appeal be taken, pursuant to the requirements of s. 5(3) of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000.
The court had noted that the Tribunal’s decision turned entirely on the issue of the credibility of the claim which the applicant had recounted as the basis of his claim to fear persecution if returned to Nigeria.
The applicant took issue with the apparent finding by the court that there was no need objectively to assess a claim or consult country of origin information where a refusal of an asylum application had been based upon a finding of lack of credibility in respect of his story, and claimed that it breached the mandated minimum standards laid down by Directive 2004/83/EC (“the Qualification Directive”). He also complained that the court had erred in failing to grant a declaration that the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 failed properly to transpose the provisions of the Qualification Directive. The applicant also contended that, if the court should prove unwilling to grant a certificate, then it should make a preliminary reference under Article 267 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”).
The court refused a certificate.
It noted that the criteria to be applied by it in ruling on the application for a certificate had been set out in I.R. v. Refugee Appeals Tribunal  IEHC 510 and Arklow Holidays v. An Bord Pleanala  4 I.R. 112, namely:-
- the case had to raise a point of law of exceptional public importance;
- the area of law involved had to be uncertain, such that it was in the common good that uncertainty be resolved for the benefit of future cases;
- it is desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken;
- the uncertainty as to the point of law had to be genuine;
- the point of law had to arise out of the court’s decision and not merely out of some discussion at the hearing;
- the requirements of exceptional public importance and the desirability of an appeal in the public interest were cumulative requirements.
- the importance of the point had to be public in nature and, therefore, transcend the individual facts and parties of a given case;
- the requirement that the court be satisfied that it was desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken was a separate and independent requirement from the requirement that the point of law be one of exceptional importance. On that basis, even if it could be argued that the law in a particular area was uncertain, the court might not grant a certificate on the basis, inter alia, of time or costs.
The court held that the applicant’s appeal to the Tribunal was totally unsustainable. The country of origin information to which he alluded was presumably that pertaining to Nigeria. However, it considered it difficult to know when the applicant was in Nigeria given he certainly went to Austria and applied for asylum there in 2003 before disappearing from the asylum register there in 2007, after which he said he came to Ireland in 2009. In the circumstances where he failed to disclose the real basis for his case, it could not be said that the Tribunal was obliged to consider country of origin information.
The court was accordingly satisfied that his case did not raise a point of law, much less one of exceptional importance. Additionally, no issue of European Law needed to be clarified for the purpose of determining the issue as to whether or not to grant a certificate of appeal. The court therefore refused the applications for a certificate of leave to appeal and for a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union. It also held that it would not have thought it appropriate to grant a certificate on the basis of time or costs.
The court therefore refused a certificate of leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.