No duty to inquire: exception to the rule?

Federal Court (Full Court): The question to the Assistant Minister under s 501CA was whether there was "another reason" why the cancellation of the Respondent's visa should be revoked. The Respondent did not provide evidence, in his revocation request, of the circumstances which led to the offences. The Assistant Minister found, based on very limited information, that the Respondent posed an unacceptable risk to the Australian community. Was the limited information, in and of itself, a probative basis for that finding?

MARA: “Relationships with other Agents”

OMARA: "As a member of the migration advice profession, the Agent is expected to act with fairness, honesty and courtesy when dealing with other [RMAs]. This includes efficient and effective communication with other agents with respect to the transfer of client information to the new agent when the original agent’s appointment is terminated... [T]he Agent had made a written undertaking to another migration agent to provide relevant documents, and had failed to do so, in breach of clause 4.6 of the Code".

Department’s data breach

Federal Court: In SZSSJ: personal details of SZSSJ were unintentionally disclosed on the DHA's website; DHA refused to disclose the full content of a KPMG report on the data breach, but referred SZSSJ to an ITOA with instructions to assume that information from him had been accessed by all persons from whom he feared persecution; HCA held that even if there was a denial of procedural fairness in not disclosing the full report, that was cured by the assumption. Was the AAT in this case obliged to make that assumption?

Dutton not constitutionally permitted to make decisions?

Federal Court: The Applicant argued that: Mr Dutton was not constitutionally permitted to make a decision by reason of not being allowed to have sat in the Parliament; the Full Court's decision in Ibrahim should be followed; the Minister's comment on radio conveyed apprehended bias. The Minister argued that Ibrahim was wrongly decided or, alternatively, that it should be distinguished on the basis that, in Ibrahim, it was the Assistant Minister who made the impugned decision.

MARA: “provision of unlawful migration assistance”

OMARA: "I am satisfied that the Agent knowingly entered into arrangements that facilitated the provision of unlawful migration assistance... I have taken into account that the applications submitted to the Department on behalf of these sponsors were handled through the Agent’s business and that she was the nominated migration agent. It follows that I am satisfied the Agent knew, else ought to have known, immigration assistance was provided unlawfully in relation to their respective matters".

Inconsistent conclusions

Federal Court: although legal unreasonableness is not amenable to fixed formulae, this decision contains an interesting description: 'A conclusion, whether stated definitively or arising as a matter of generalisation ... , that is inherently inconsistent with another conclusion (in the sense that at least one of them must be wrong) is one that is attended by irrationality or illogicality of the extreme kind to which the authorities refer'.

Federal Court divided on the materiality test

Federal Court (Full Court): An error is only jurisdictional if material and only material if, had it not been made, the decision could have been different (HCA: Hossain). Materiality is a question of fact in respect of which judicial review applicants bear the onus of proof (HCA: SZMTA). It was incumbent on the appellant to demonstrate what would have occurred had the error not been made (FCAFC: Ibrahim). Differently constituted, the FCAFC disagreed with that aspect of Ibrahim, distinguished SZMTA and Hossain and reconciled the latter 2 cases with WZARH.

Unreasonable delay in refusing visa under s 501A?

Federal Court: The FCA assumed, without determining, that 'the exercise of power under s 501A is subject to an implied obligation that it be exercised within a reasonable time'. Given that assumption, was that obligation breached by the Minister's 5-month delay in making a decision?

Are jurisdictional errors made by DHA irrelevant to merits review?

Federal Court: It is often said that jurisdictional errors made by an original decision-maker are always irrelevant to a merits review application, given that the Tribunal will make a decision de novo. However, that is not always the case, as this decision illustrates.

Consequences of cancellation of citizenship approval

Federal Court: In deciding whether to affirm a decision of the Minister to cancel an approval for citizenship under s 25 of the Citizenship Act 2007, was the AAT required to take into account the legal consequences of its decision? If so, was the removal from Australia a legal consequence? Was the AAT required to take into account "non-protection" representations about what would happen if the AAT affirmed the citizenship approval cancellation?

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