Ireland: Court of Appeal rules that applicant was not afforded a fair procedure by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On 15 November 2017, the Irish Court of Appeal ruled in case BW v. Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Others, which concerned a Nigerian woman who arrived in Ireland in 2007 and who applied for asylum in September 2011 following her arrest for failure to produce documentation. In her asylum interview before the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC), she claimed that her husband was the leader of a political group called “the Asatoro group”, that he had been killed by supporters of the government and that she had received death threats due to her husband’s involvement with that group. Her application was rejected due to a lack of credibility.

She appealed against this decision before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, but due to her delay to lodge her asylum application her appeal was a papers-only appeal as per the Refugee Act 1996. The Tribunal rejected her appeal and considered that, cumulatively, the applicant had not offered a credible account of the facts.

However, the Court of Appeal found that the applicant had not been afforded a fair procedure since she was not given the opportunity to address concerns that were of critical matter and material to her credibility (e.g. a newspaper article corroborating her description of her husband’s death and questions regarding the absence of a marriage certificate). Therefore, the Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Tribunal.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Burden of proof
Credibility assessment
Effective access to procedures
Procedural guarantees