The Applicant was a Nigerian national and an asylum seeker. She claimed to have been persecuted by her step-mother in Nigeria. The Refugee Applications Commissioner found that her account of that alleged persecution was incredible and recommended that she not be declared a refugee. In its decision on her appeal against that recommendation, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal made no clear finding with respect to her credibility but found that she would be able to avail herself of State protection in Nigeria. The Applicant obtained the leave of the High Court (Ryan J.) to challenge the Tribunal’s decision by way of judicial review on the grounds that the Tribunal’s decision was unclear and that no finding appeared to have been made with respect to her credibility.
When the substantive application was heard by the High Court (Cooke J.), the Respondent maintained that the Tribunal had upheld the Applicant’s credibility but had concluded that State protection would be available. The Court observed that this position led to an unsatisfactory situation in which the Minister would be faced, in exercising his function to grant or refuse refugee status pursuant to section 17(1) of the Refugee Act 1996, with two contradictory decisions with respect to the Applicant’s credibility and that this would have implications later if the Applicant were to apply for subsidiary protection or humanitarian leave to remain. The High Court was satisfied, however, that there had been no substantive error of law on the part of the Tribunal and that it was within the Court’s jurisdiction to remit the appeal for further consideration by the Tribunal member concerned. For this reason, the Court quashed the Tribunal decision to the extent only that it omitted an express reasoned finding as to the Applicant’s credibility, and remitted the decision to the Tribunal with a recommendation that it be further considered by the same Tribunal member.