Direction 79: 13.1.1(1)(b), 13.1.2 and 13.2(4)

Federal Court. Direction 79 provides: "crimes of a violent nature against women or children are viewed very seriously". AAT set aside delegate's decision not to revoke under s 501CA(4) the mandatory cancellation of the Applicant's visa under s 501(3A). AAT said that Applicant had "committed offences of violence which relate to vulnerable people" and found that those offences were "serious", not "very serious". Did that finding in itself constitute a jurisdictional error? Does para 13.1.1(1)(b) state that "crimes of a violent nature against women and children are viewed very seriously, regardless of the sentence imposed"? Does para 13.1.2 require AAT to "reach a decision on the nature of the harm that might be involved"? Did AAT engage with para 13.2(4)?

Legal unreasonableness applicable to fact finding?

Federal Court (Full Court). Can it be said, based on a single judge FCA decision, that the "principles of legal unreasonableness, in the sense considered in Li, have no application in the review of a decision... as to the existence of certain facts that satisfy statutory criteria", but only to the review of a discretionary power? Summary of principles concerning review of: state of satisfaction under s 65 for illogicality and irrationality; adverse credibility findings. Can it be said that "the psychological reactions of a couple to their first sexual encounter are matters of common human experience"? Or do those reactions need to be supported by evidence such as psychological evidence? Can it be said that, "if two people give a different account of an event and the evidence of one is rejected, that does not provide a logical basis on which to reject the evidence of the other"?

Inadvertent characterisation of doc B means doc A is bogus?

Federal Court. Is it "antithetical to the appellate process [or] at odds with s 476A" for FCA to allow "a new ground not considered by the primary judge"? Further, Appellant presented his taskera (Afghan ID card) in support of protection visa application. Delegate suspected taskera was bogus and his representative provided delegate with a document from Appellant's father as evidence that Appellant's taskera was not bogus. The document the representative provided was the father's birth certificate. But representative inadvertently mischaracterised that document as the father's taskera. Given discrepancies between Appellant's taskera and his father's "taskera", delegate found the former was a bogus document. Did delegate make a jurisdictional error despite being entirely blameless? Was forensic examination of taskera irrelevant?

Non-refoulement obligations & s 501CA(4): Part 8

Federal Court. Applicant's representations under s 501CA(3) included: "People like me, who have family in first world countries ... are often kidnapped and held for ransom [in El Salvador]... I would be a prime target". Did the "circumstance that the claims were not supported by objective country information" render them "insignificant so as to relieve the Minister of the obligation to consider them"? Should claims related to Australia's non-refoulement obligations have expressly referred to those obligations? Minister failed to assess non-refoulement claims on the basis that such claims would be considered if and when a protection visa application were. Was that a proper basis?

Can AAT ask what could be done to avoid persecution?

Federal Court: The AAT found that a protection visa applicant (the Appellant) was likely to be extorted by Pakistani authorities if removed to Pakistan, but that he could avoid persecution by bribing them. Did the AAT make a jurisdictional error by considering how the Appellant could (as opposed would) conduct himself if removed to Pakistan?

Meaning of “removed or deported from Australia”

Federal Court: Delegate purported to cancel NZ citizen Appellant's subclass 444 visa under s 116(1)(e) of the Migration Act and DHA purported to remove her under s 198. The cancellation was then quashed by the FCCA on the basis of jurisdictional error (JE). Appellant eventually tried to re-enter Australia, but was refused a 444 visa because: s 32(2)(a)(ii) provided that a 444 visa applicant must not be a "behaviour concern non-citizen"; under s 5, a person who "has been removed or deported from Australia or removed or deported from another country" is a "behaviour concern non-citizen". Can it be said that the phrase “removed or deported from Australia” means legally or lawfully removed or deported from Australia. Alternatively, can it be said that Appellant was never removed under the Act?

Significant harm financially offset by parents?

Federal Court: Delegate refused to grant a primary applicant child and his/her secondary applicant parents a protection visa. AAT then found there was no real risk that the child would suffer significant harm, on the following basis: "I find that the effects of not having his birth registered and not being able to access citizenship documentation will thus be significantly offset by having two parents to care for him and the financial support of his father". Did AAT make a jurisdictional error by finding that the risk of harm to the child could be offset by the parents' financial support?

s 473DC: footnotes “before the Minister”?

Federal Court. Delegate's decision to refuse to grant Appellant a protection visa contained footnote references to documents that were not discussed in delegate's decision. Those documents were adverse to Appellant's claims. IAA, on review, discussed and relied on those documents. Appellant argued to the Federal Court that: "primary rule" under s 473DC was that the IAA conducts a review on the papers by reference to the material "before the Minister"; those documents were not before the Minister, as they were not discussed by delegate, but merely footnoted; thus, those documents were "new information" as defined under s 473BB, which meant that IAA was limited as to the circumstances in which it could consider them.

Subconscious bias: can reliance on irrelevant material be disavowed?

Federal Court (Full Court). In the High Court's decision in CNY17: unbeknown to Appellant, Secretary gave IAA additional material in purported compliance with s 473CB(1)(c); however, the additional material was objectively both irrelevant to IAA's review and prejudicial to Appellant; IAA then wrote to Appellant: DHA "has provided us with all documents they consider relevant to your case"; IAA eventually affirmed delegate's protection visa refusal, without requesting new information or interviewing Appellant; IAA's reasons stated that it "had regard to the material referred by the Secretary", but did not refer to additional material; HCA held the giving of additional material resulted in a reasonable apprehension of bias on IAA's part. Here, IAA expressly disavowed reliance on prejudicial material. Was that sufficient to avoid apprehension of bias?

Must partner visa sponsor have capacity to fulfil undertaking under r 1.20?

Federal Court (Full Court). Cl 820.211(2)(c) required Appellant to be sponsored at TOA. Cl 820.221(4) required sponsorship to have been approved at TOD. Under reg 1.20(1), sponsor is a "person …who undertakes the obligations stated in sub-regulation (2)". Reg 1.20(2)(c) provided that the "sponsor undertakes to assist the applicant, to the extent necessary, financially and in relation to accommodation...". AAT adopted PAM3, which read that r 1.20 "requires officers to be satisfied that the sponsor can meet the financial needs of the applicant". AAT found Appellant's partner was not capable of fulfilling the undertaking under r 1.20 and thus was not a sponsor. Is the capacity to fulfil that undertaking relevant for the purposes of cl 820.221(4)?

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