The Applicant left Georgia in 1989, lived in Russia until 1999 and subsequently sought asylum in Ireland. The Refugee Applications Commissioner, in determining his claim, stated that Russia might have amounted to a safe third country. The applicant appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The Tribunal concluded that the applicant’s fear of persecution in Russia was not well grounded. The applicant challenged this decision by way of judicial review.
The High Court held that there were substantial grounds for the contention that refugees are not obliged to seek asylum in the first available safe country to which they flee and that the Tribunal was not entitled to take into account the circumstances of the applicant’s departure from Russia into account as matters relating to his departure from a State other than that of which he was a national can only be considered where the applicant has no nationality.