GAA v Refugee Applications Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General

adminLeave a Comment

Respondent/Defendant:Refugee Applications Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2015] IEHC 519
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:16 Jul 2015
Judge:MacEochaidh J.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Burden of Proof, Country of Origin Information, Refugee
Country of Origin:Togo
URL:https://www.courts.ie/acc/alfresco/85575384-0ba5-4a2b-8061-9a2ea3bb2ec2/2015_IEHC_519_1.pdf/pdf#view=fitH
Geographic Focus:Ireland

Facts:
The applicant claimed to be a national of Togo and sought asylum in Ireland. She claimed to fear persecution in Togo on the ground of political opinion, arising out of her alleged membership of the Union of Forces of Change (“UFC”). She said that in 2005 and 2010 she was arrested physically maltreated by state forces. She said that following a speech made by one Patrick Lawson, she decided that she would leave Togo for Ireland.

The Refugee Applications Commissioner made a negative recommendation on her application on account of lack of credibility, which she challenged by way of judicial review, complaining that he had failed to consult country of origin information in breach of reg. 5(1) of the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006, which requires a protection decision-maker to take into account all relevant facts as they relate to the country of origin at the time of taking a decision on the application for protection, including laws and regulations of the country of origin and the manner in which they are applied.

The court refused the application for leave.

Reasoning:
The court held that no provision of Irish or European Union law required an assessment of country of origin information in every case.

It noted that the Commissioner had doubted her claim to have been a member of the UFC and pointed out that her claim in that regard was not capable of being supported by country of origin information. Moreover, she had not provided any evidence to support that claim at the time nor in the subsequent five years before her case obtained a hearing. The finding was therefore lawful.

If the applicant wished to make out a claim that reg. 5(1) had been breached, it was incumbent on her to inform the court what “relevant fact” had not been assessed by the decision-maker. On the contrary, she had not sought to remedy any of the deficiencies in her claim which had been identified by the Commissioner.

The court considered that, whilst the Commissioner ought to have assessed the treatment meted out to opposition activists in Togo in 2005 and 2010, it could not be said that there was an error on his part sufficient to result in his decision’s being quashed. If there was information on that matter or on a speech which was made by Mr. Lawson, then the applicant could furnish that to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal on appeal.

Decision:
The court therefore refused the application for leave.

Principles:

No provision of Irish or European Union law required an assessment of country of origin information in every case.
If a protection applicant wished to make out a claim on judicial review that reg. 5(1)(a) of the EC (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006, or cognate provisions, have been breached, it is incumbent on him or her to inform the court what “relevant fact” has not been assessed by the decision-maker.

Go Back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *