The applicant applied for asylum on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution in Iraq. After his interview with the Refugee Applications Commissioner the applicant contacted the Commissioner office and was told that a decision had been made and would be sent to him within ten days. When that time passed and he did not receive the decision, the applicant wrote to the Commissioner imploring her to send, the decision to him. The Commissioner wrote to the applicant stating that her office had decided to suspend the determination of a number of applications relating to Iraqi applicants. The applicant’s solicitor requested a copy of his file from the Commissioner office. The Commissioner then sent the applicant’s solicitor a copy of what was later referred to as a draft of the Commissioner’s decision. The draft decision was to the effect that the applicant be declared a refugee. The applicant applied for judicial review, contending that the Commissioner was not entitled to suspend consideration of his application.
The Court found that the Commissioner’s decision to suspend consideration of applications of Iraqi nationals, including the applicant, appeared to have been prompted by the commencement of military operations in Iraq in 2003. The Court held that the Commissioner’s decision to suspend consideration of the applicant’s claim was ultra vires and invalid, as there was nothing in the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, indicating that the Commissioner had the power to suspend such applications and that the clear scheme of the 1996 act was that applicants were entitled to have their claims investigated and determined in a timely manner.