The applicants appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal after their applications for asylum were refused at first instance. The applicants argued that their right to fair procedures was infringed by the refusal of the Tribunal to grant them access to previous decisions. An injunction was sought restraining the Refugee Appeals Tribunal from proceeding with the hearing of the applicants’ appeals until previous decisions of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal were furnished to the applicants. Such access had been refused on the basis, inter-alia, of the constraints imposed by Section 16(4) (“An oral hearing under this Section shall be held in private”) and Section 19 (regarding the protection of the identity of applicants) of the Refugee Act 1996. The applicants submitted that Article 40.1 of the Constitution, guaranteeing equality before the law, necessitated the publication of decisions.
The Court held that the refusal to make available judgments of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in cases other than the applicants’ was not unlawful and in particular was not in breach of the applicants’ right of access to the courts and was not in breach of the principles of natural justice.