Federal Court. Is there "authority to the effect that specialist decision makers or tribunals are entitled to rely on their expertise and accumulated knowledge garnered through repetitive decision making"? Can it be said that a Tribunal, "unlike a court, is expected to build up “expertise” in matters such as country information" and that taking that expertise into account amounts to a want of procedural fairness by reason of pre-judgment? Does Minister bear onus of proving he has specialist accumulated knowledge?
Some of the questions to the Federal Court (FCA) were as follows:
Question 1: In deciding under s 501CA(4) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) not to revoke the mandatory visa cancellation of the judicial review applicant that occurred pursuant to s 501(3A), the Minister wrote: "as Ireland is linguistically and culturally similar to Australia, and has comparable standards of healthcare, social and economic support, I consider that [the applicant] would be entitled to the same level of services as other citizens of Ireland in a similar position". Can it be said that, "read fairly, what the sentence can only be intended to convey is (1) that Ireland has comparable standards of healthcare and social and economic support as Australia, and (2) that the applicant will have the benefit of those services and support if returned to Ireland" and that "it is only that reading of the statement which could support the Minister’s conclusion in the next paragraph that the applicant “would be able to settle in his home country without undue practical impediments”?
Question 2: Is there "authority to the effect that specialist decision makers or tribunals are entitled to rely on their expertise and accumulated knowledge garnered through repetitive decision making"?
Question 3: Can it be said that, as administrative decision-makers "become more knowledgeable their capacity comprehensively to identify the particular sources of their knowledge would ordinarily diminish"?
Question 4: Can it be said that a Tribunal, "unlike a court, is expected to build up “expertise” in matters such as country information" and that taking that expertise into account amounts to a want of procedural fairness by reason of pre-judgment?
Question 5: Do Pennie v Minister for Home Affairs  FCAFC 129, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v Egan  FCAFC 169; 261 FCR 451 and Hempenstall v Minister for Home Affairs  FCA 68 support the submission that "there is good reason to think that he has developed experience from previous decisions involving former visa holders to Ireland"?
Question 6: Is the Minister "in an analogous position to the specialist tribunals gathering accumulated knowledge and developing a reference library as referred to in Muin and Jia Legeng"?
Question 7: Is "up to the applicant for revocation to put forward evidence in support of any submission that they make, including with regard to the difficulties that they will face if they are returned to another country. That principle certainly applies in the present case"?
Question 8: Can it be said that, "in order to demonstrate jurisdictional error, the applicant bears the onus of proving that the Minister did not have the specialist accumulated knowledge to permit him to make the findings"?
Question 9: Was it open to the Minister "to make the general statement, or finding, that Ireland and Australia have comparable standards of healthcare and social and economic support"?
Question 10: Was it open to the Minister, in the absence of any evidence, to state that "[the applicant] would be entitled to the same level of services as other citizens of Ireland in a similar position"?
Question 11: The parties identified that there are two views in the authorities as to the circumstances in which the making of a finding without evidence in support of it will amount to jurisdictional error. The one view is that a finding made with no evidence will only amount to jurisdictional error where the relevant finding is a “precondition to the exercise of jurisdiction”... The other view is that a finding made with no evidence will amount to jurisdictional error where the finding is a “critical step” in the ultimate conclusion of the decision maker". Which view should be adopted?
Question 12: Despite the fact that, in cases such as Uelese v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection  FCA 348; 248 FCR 296, McLachlan v Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection  FCA 109 and Webb v Minister for Home Affairs  FCA 831, the Federal Court has held that "the Minister does not always require specific evidence in order to make comparative assessments as to the availability of health and welfare services in foreign countries", is the present case distinguishable from those other cases because of the "highly specific finding by the Minister that the applicant would be entitled to social services in Ireland in the same way as any other Irish citizen where exactly the contrary had been submitted to him that is the distinguishing feature of the present case"?
The FCA answered those questions as follows:
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