PIMK (Pakistan) v Refugee Appeals Tribunal, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland and the Attorney General

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Respondent/Defendant:Refugee Appeals Tribunal, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland and the Attorney General
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2014] IEHC 535
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:25 Nov 2014
Judge:Eagar J.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Asylum, Asylum (Application for), Persecution, Refoulement (Non-), Refugee, Refugee Law
Country of Origin:Pakistan
URL:http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/0/ECC98E5F7D0F73A580257DB10043287C
Geographic Focus:Ireland

Facts:
The applicant was a citizen of Pakistan who arrived in Ireland in 2010 and applied for asylum. He claimed to be an Ahmadi Muslim and to have suffered persecution there on account of his religious beliefs, having been targeted by a man who was a follower of a hardline Sunni group who wanted to take his money and land. He said that after his problems arose, he had lived in both Lahore and Karachi and had no problems there. Notwithstanding that, he then allegedly fled to Bahrain where he encountered problems due to strife between the Sunni and Shia groups there. He said that he travelled to Ireland via Amsterdam, where he failed to claim asylum.

He attended for s. 11 interview with the Refugee Applications Commissioner, in the course of which he was asked if he had ever applied for a visa for the United Kingdom using his Pakistani passport, to which he replied in the negative. He denied ever having been to the United Kingdom. His fingerprints matched with ones held by the British authorities in respect of an unsuccessful application for a visa to enter the United Kingdom from Abu Dhabi, which was made in 2009.

Having investigated his application, the Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that he not be declared a refugee, his claim being considered to lack credibility. He appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, which affirmed the Commissioner’s recommendation. He challenged its decision by way of judicial review.

The Tribunal held, first, that the applicant had not shown to the requisite standard that he feared persecution on the basis of religion or any Convention ground and secondly, that even if he had suffered persecution, relocation was an option and would not be unduly harsh for him.

The court decided to uphold the Tribunal’s decision.

Reasoning:
The court, applying well-established case law, held inter alia that the determination as to whether or not a person like the applicant had a well-founded fear of persecution and was credible fell to be made by the relevant administrative decision-makers and not by the court, which should resist the temptation to fall into the trap of substituting its own view for that of them. On judicial review, the court’s function and jurisdiction was confined to ensuring that the process by which the impugned determination was made was legally sound and not vitiated by any material error of law, infringement of any applicable statutory provision or any principle of natural or constitutional justice.

It held that, in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal had not erred in its decision.

Decision:
It accordingly refused the applicant’s application for leave and upheld the Tribunal’s decision.

Principles:

Where a protection decision-maker expresses clear reasons in a decision for refusing an application for protection, the court has no entitlement to substitute its decision for that of the decision-maker in any judicial review of the decision.

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