The Applicant claimed a well-founded fear of persecution, including the death penalty, in Iran as an apostate. The Commissioner found that the country information did not corroborate the claim that the Applicant would be subjected to the death penalty and made a finding under Section 13(6)(a) Refugee Act 1996, that the Applicant’s case had no or minimal basis, as a consequence of which the Applicant would not have an oral hearing on appeal.
The High Court granted leave to seek judicial review, finding that there were substantial grounds for the contention that it was not open to the Commissioner to make the Section 13(6)(a) finding on the basis of the available evidence. It was arguable that the Commissioner had failed to consider persecution short of the death penalty, that the substance of the requirement in Section 13(6)(a) is that in order to make a finding under that Section, the Commissioner is required to be satisfied that the Applicant’s claim, at its height, has been shown to have a basis no more than minimal and that the Commissioner had not provided any reason why this threshold was met.
The Court also stated that Section 13(6)(a) is not a separate decision but part of a single determination and that whichever of the three positions available the deciding officer determines upon (that the Applicant is a refugee; that the Applicant is not a refugee; that the Applicant has not more than a minimal basis to contend he is a refugee), the same issues, materials and criteria are being applied to the question which needs to be addressed.