SO (a minor) v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Michelle O’Gorman, Refugee Appeals Tribunal, aka Obaidy

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Respondent/Defendant:Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Michelle O'Gorman, Refugee Appeals Tribunal
Court/s:High Court
Citation/s:[2010] IEHC 151
Nature of Proceedings:Judicial Review
Judgment Date/s:05 Feb 2010
Judge:Edwards J.
Category:Refugee Law
Keywords:Child, Minor (Unaccompanied), Refugee, Refugee Law
Country of Origin:Afghanistan
Geographic Focus:Ireland

The Applicant was an Afghan national who arrived in Ireland in 2006 as an unaccompanied minor. He claimed asylum on the basis of a fear of persecution both by the Taliban and the new Afghan government. The Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that he not be declared a refugee. His appeal against the Commissioner’s recommendation was heard by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in 2007. The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s recommendation on the grounds that the Applicant’s claim was neither credible nor well-founded. The Applicant obtained the leave of the High Court to challenge the Tribunal’s decision on the grounds that the Tribunal had paid insufficient regard to his young age in assessing his claim and that the Tribunal had failed to apply a liberal benefit of the doubt having regard to his age. On the grounds that the Tribunal had engaged in impermissible speculation and conjecture in relation to the Applicant’s prospect of State protection in Afghanistan, the High Court (Edwards J.) held that the Tribunal had imputed expectations to the Applicant without any consideration of his maturity or as to whether those expectations were realistic having regard to his maturity and particular circumstances. On the grounds that the Applicant had not been afforded a fair hearing and that a liberal benefit of the doubt had not been applied, the High Court quashed the decision of the Tribunal by Order of certiorari.


Unaccompanied minor appellants at the Refugee Appeals Tribunal are entitled to have their claims evaluated in the context of their level of maturity and particular circumstances.

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