The applicant sought leave to quash the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal on the grounds that in arriving at an adverse credibility conclusion there were errors of fact apparent on the face of the decision which were of such significance as to undermine the decision in its entirety. The basis of the application for asylum was a claimed fear of being persecuted by her brother in-law. The applicant claimed that the Tribunal’s decision was based on various inconsistencies and errors arising, inter alia, from misunderstandings of the evidence. The Tribunal found that the applicant was not personally believable for a number of reasons.
The Court refused the relief sought, finding that the Tribunal Member had not relied upon incorrect or irrelevant facts, but that, for a variety of reasons, not confined to the matters by which the decision was impugned, the applicant was not personally believable. The Court said it was not desirable that a decision be parsed and analysed word for word in order to discern some possible infelicity, but that if a decision maker makes a significant and material error in how the evidence has been recorded, or other serious error of fact, then the process by which credibility has been assessed falls short of that required to meet a proper standard of constitutional justice.
The Court stated that the error must be clear and it must go to the heart of the decision making process, and fundamentally undermine it. The Court further stated that a Court should not lightly interfere with an assessment of credibility, since it is quintessentially a matter for the decision maker who has the benefit of seeing and hearing at first hand an applicant giving evidence.