Whether a Departmental policy is unlawful

The Federal Court (Full Court) decided whether a Departmental policy is unlawful. The policy deals with the situations in which the Minister should exercise his/her discretion to refuse a citizenship applications under s 24 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The policy deals with children under 16 years old 'applying individually in their own right'.

Can case officers be in contempt of court?

Federal Court: 'What must be remembered by all who work in the Department ... is the seriousness (for them personally) of the possible contempt of the Court by removal from Australia of an applicant in circumstances where ...'

Can MARA, DHA & AAT consider spent convictions?

High Court: it was not in dispute that 'MARA may not take spent convictions into account in making [decisions under s 290(2) of the Migration Act 1958]', but the question was whether the AAT could; Discussion: are visa applicants really required to disclose convictions for which there was no sentence of imprisonment? Can the Minister take into account a visa applicant's spent conviction? Does the non-disclosure of a spent conviction really trigger PIC 4020?

Hossain distinguished?

Federal Court (Full Court): 'the decision in Hossain did not state a general principle of statutory construction to the effect that there is an implied obligation that all powers conferred on administrative decision-makers are to be exercised on a correct understanding and application of the applicable law such that a material breach of that obligation would be jurisdictional'. However, with respect, a closer look at Hossain reveals that...

Can the AAT look behind a guilty plea?

Federal Court: the respondent pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injuries to his child, which led to the refusal of his visa application; the AAT accepted the respondent's argument that he had only pleaded guilty because he thought that his child would otherwise be taken away from him; the Minister applied for judicial review...

Citizenship: ‘good character’ and lack of responsiveness

FCA: the AAT applied the wrong test under s 21(2)(h) of the Citizenship Act 2007 by stating that it was not comfortably satisfied that the applicant was of good character; further, 'lack of responsiveness... in providing documentation to [the Department]... is conduct that ...'

Mandatory cancellation: retrospective effect & more

Mandatory cancellation under s 501(3A) requires that (a) the non-citizen not pass the character test and (b) be serving a sentence of imprisonment at the time of cancellation. Federal Court: it is irrelevant when the sentence that enlivens s 501(3A)(a) is imposed or completed; the sentence enlivening s 501(3A)(a) does not need to be the same sentence enlivening s 501(3A)(b)

Incorrect information vs change of circumstance vs change of mind

If an applicant nominates an occupation in a subclass 485 visa application form and then seeks to change the occupation before the decision, the change can only be made if it stems from a mistake, as opposed to a change of mind; The use of a "change of circumstance" (as opposed to an "incorrect information") form might suggest that the change stems from a change of mind
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What happens if Minister breaches privacy laws?

Federal Court (Full Court): 'There is no requirement ... in the Migration Act imposed on the Minister to comply with State (or Commonwealth) privacy laws in the obtaining of information' which can then be used by the Minister when making a decision on whether to cancel a visa under s 501(2)

Can the AAT re-make a finding of fact?

Federal Court (Full Court): 'Where, as here, material is brought forward in an apparently genuine way that may lead to a reconsideration of an earlier determination as incorrect, it would be wrong to prevent the consideration of factual matters relevant to the making of the preferable decision by reference to' the principle of issue estoppel

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