Poland - Judgement of the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw from 16 March 2015 IV SA/Wa 974/14 dismissing the complaint against the decision of the Refugee Board refusing international protection

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
16-03-2015
Citation:
IV SA/Wa 974/14
Court Name:
Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw
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Headnote: 

The administrative authorities ensured an adequate standard of proceedings and had correctly established the facts in a case of an applicant who had only brought up the argument that she was a victim of domestic violence at the court stage.

The Court does not accept the allegations that the applicant was deprived of her right to court because she and her children were deported before the deadline for the complaint to the court. The complaint was eventually lodged within the deadline which means she could benefit from the real possibility of applying this measure so her right to court was not infringed. Therefore the Court sees no need to request the Constitutional Tribunal to take a stand on this issue.

Facts: 

The third country national applied for refugee status in Poland. He claimed he had been persecuted and beaten in the country of origin. The application covered his spouse and five children. The proceedings were discontinued because the applicants left Poland but was reopened once they were transferred back. During the interview the applicant stated that he had been beaten by unknown persons and after this incident other people searched for him. His wife was also interviewed in the proceedings. She confirmed the statements of his husband and said she was not subject to violence. The Head of the Office refused granting protection to the applicants and the Refugee Board confirmed this decision.

The complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court was submitted by the spouse of the applicant since the main applicant returned to the country of origin. She complained that the authorities had not examined her situation as a woman and as a victim of domestic violence. She attached some evidence including: psychiatric and psychologist opinions from the detention centre in which she was placed together with the children and police report on mistreatment by her husband from Germany. She also advanced that she was deprived of the right to court as she had been deported before she could lodge the complaint to the court. Before the return took place, she had also submitted a subsequent application for international protection stating she had been a victim of domestic violence. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court noted that a one-time incident of violence that the husband was subject to, not supported by a statement of any eyewitnesses, does not fulfil the conditions to be granted international protection. The administrative authorities rightfully decided not to qualify it as a basis to grant protection.

During the trial which took place on 3 March 2015 the Court decided to admit as evidence the documents attached to the complaint. It should be noted that the law allows for such a step only in extraordinary circumstances, because generally the court is obliged to rule on the basis of the case files. It is the administrative authority which is obliged to clarify all the facts and gather evidence. The administrative court cannot replace the authority in doing it, as its competence is only to control the legality of the decision issued on the basis of the established facts in administrative proceedings.

In the present case the Court decided to take the evidence in order to compare it to the statements of the applicant in the case files, including her interview, and noted that the evidence brought before the Court does not give any justifiable basis to claim that establishing the facts was doubtful. The applicant did not indicate that she was a victim of domestic violence at any stage of the proceedings. During her interview she did not bring up any such circumstance. After the interview was finished she stated that she had understood all the questions and did not submit any evidence. She did not have any comments as to the way she was questioned or interpretation. During the appeal proceedings she did not mention either the psychiatric and psychologist’s opinion or the criminal proceedings in Germany.

Taking into account the passive attitude of the applicant at the stage of administrative proceedings and yet formulating motions contrary to the complaint and the documents supporting it, the Court found that the administrative authorities ensured an adequate standard of proceedings and that the administrative decisions had correctly established the facts. . .

The Court does not accept the allegations that the applicant was deprived of her right to court because she and her children were deported before the deadline for the complaint to the court. The complaint was eventually lodged within the deadline which means she could benefit from the real possibility of applying this measure so her right to court was not infringed. Therefore, the Court sees no need to request the Constitutional Tribunal to take a stand on this issue.

Outcome: 

Complaint was dismissed.

Observations/Comments: 

The judgement is available at: http://orzeczenia.nsa.gov.pl/doc/717F15AC1F.

Case Law Cited: 

Poland - Judgement of the Supreme Court from 7 February 2006 no II GSK 359/05

Poland - Judgement of the Supreme Court from 27 April 2010 no II GSK 539/09