FGW & SS v Refugee Appeals Tribunal (Olive Brennan) and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

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Respondent/Defendant:Refugee Appeals Tribunal (Olive Brennan) and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2010] IEHC 357, [2011] IEHC 205
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:07 Oct 2010
Judge:Edwards J.; Cooke J.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Persecution, Refugee, Refugee Law
Country of Origin:Liberia
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/3fd57390-4aee-499c-829d-06c55aac4460/2010_IEHC_357_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH, https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/526d84ca-db74-4d85-98c2-dc0038d65e74/2011_IEHC_205_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland
References:M.S.T. v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2009] IEHC 529

F.G.W. claimed to have fled her native Liberia having been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband. She settled in Ivory Coast for six months where she gave birth to her daughter S.S. From Ivory Coast she claimed to have made her way to Ireland where she claimed asylum. F.G.W.’s application for asylum was based on her fear of her husband and a fear of rape in Liberia. The Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that the Applicants not be declared refugees. The Applicants’ appeal against this recommendation was refused by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The Applicants sought the leave of the High Court to challenge the decision by way of judicial review.

The High Court (Edwards J.) held that the Applicant was entitled to leave to seek judicial review having shown substantial grounds that the Tribunal had failed to assess FGW’s fear of rape in Nigeria and that the Tribunal had failed to give individual consideration to S.S’s claim. The Tribunal had considered her claim in the context of her mother’s but had failed to address the issue of SS’ Ivorian nationality. The Court dismissed the Applicants’ argument that the Tribunal had failed to consider whether, on the basis of past persecution alone, F.G.W. was entitled to protection. Edwards J. held that Regulation 5(2) of the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 is purely facultative; its wording does not give rise to a new entitlement. The jurisdiction of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal is confined to considering whether or not an applicant for asylum is a refugee within the meaning of section 2 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended.

In its judgment on the substantive application for judicial review, the High Court (Cooke J.) found that the Tribunal had adequately considered F.G.W.’s fear of rape in Nigeria. However, the Court held that, in the particular circumstances of the case, the manner in which the position of the S.S. had been dealt with was unsatisfactory and inadequate. The Court held that where there are two applicants for asylum who are dealt with together, it is incumbent upon the Tribunal member to state explicitly why the claim of each applicant is rejected. The Court made an order quashing the decision to the extent only that it related to the asylum application of S.S. The Court observed that the application so far as it concerned F.G.W. had not been sustained and judicial review to that extent was refused.

Principles:

The jurisdiction of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal is confined to considering whether or not an applicant for asylum is a refugee within the meaning of section 2 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended. Regulation 5(2) of the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 does not give rise to a new entitlement to refugee protection for persons who have been the victims of past persecution; Where there are two applicants for asylum who are dealt with together, it is incumbent upon the Tribunal member to state explicitly why the claim of each applicant is rejected.

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