FT [Eritrea] v Refugee Appeals Tribunal (Olive Brennan) and Minister for Justice and Law Reform

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Respondent/Defendant:Refugee Appeals Tribunal (Olive Brennan) and Minister for Justice and Law Reform
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2010] IEHC 370
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:29 Sep 2010
Judge:Clark J
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Refugee, Refugee Law
Country of Origin:Eritrea
Geographic Focus:Ireland

The Applicant, a national of Eritrea, claimed asylum in Ireland in early 2006. She claimed that she and her husband had been arrested and that she had been tortured and raped by the Eritrean police. The Refugee Applications Commissioner that she lacked credibility and recommended that she not be declared a refugee. Her appeal against this recommendation was heard by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in January 2008. A medico-legal report was submitted on her behalf in support of her appeal. This report indicated that she had cigarette burns on her body and that these were consistent with her account of torture. In written submissions it was contended further on the Applicant’s behalf that the Applicant had a well-founded fear of persecution in Eritrea by reason of her membership of a particular social group comprised of failed asylum seekers returned there. Country of origin information was supplied to the Tribunal which stated that persons returned to Eritrea having claimed asylum abroad are subjected to arbitrary detention and mistreatment. The Tribunal found that the Applicant’s evidence was not credible and affirmed the Commissioner’s recommendation. The Applicant sought leave of the High Court to bring an application by way of judicial review to quash the Tribunal’s decision on the grounds that the Tribunal had erred in her assessment of the medical evidence and had failed to consider the Applicant’s claim that she would be at risk of persecution upon return to Eritrea as a failed asylum seeker.

The High Court granted leave to challenge the Tribunal’s decision by way of judicial review. Clark J found that the Applicant had shown substantial grounds that the Tribunal’s decision was unlawful because of an error in assessment of the medical evidence and because of a failure on the part of the Tribunal to assess directly relevant submissions and country of origin information relating to persecution of failed asylum seekers in Eritrea.


An Applicant who has made a particular claim has an expectation that it will be considered and a determination made on that claim. The fact that no reference was made to the submissions and country of origin information in the body of the decision raises the possibility that they were not considered at all.

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