D. -v- Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Ors, [2009] IEHC 79 (2009)

Docket Number:2007 1475 P
Party Name:D., Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Ors
Judge:Cooke J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT2007 1475 JR

BETWEEN/

C.D.D.APPLICANTAND

REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL, MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM, ATTORNEY GENERAL, IRELAND AND

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION RESPONDENTRESERVED JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Cooke delivered on the 6th day of February, 2009.

  1. This application for leave to apply for judicial review is brought by the applicant in respect of the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, ("the Tribunal,") of 11th July, 2007, in which her appeal against the report and recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner of 23rd January, 2007, was rejected and the latter recommendation that she be not declared a refugee was confirmed. If leave is granted, the applicant will apply for an order of certiorari to quash that decision, ("the Contested Decision") and an injunction prohibiting the Minister from making a deportation order against her.

  2. The applicant is a national of the Ivory Coast. She was born in 1968. She fled her native country and claims that she did so to escape from her parents who were trying to force her to undergo female genital mutilation and who, she says, had sent men to kill her for refusing to submit to that circumcision. Briefly stated, the Tribunal member concluded that, whatever subjective fears the applicant may have had of being subjected to FGM if she returns to the Ivory Coast, there was no support for them on an objective basis and that she had not established that there is a reasonable degree of likelihood that she has a well founded fear of persecution for any Convention reason.

  3. The proposed application for certiorari is to be based upon two of the 14 grounds originally canvassed in the statement of grounds;

    1) The Contested Decision is irrational and unreasonable in that it makes a series of adverse credibility findings without assessing all of the evidence presented and, in particular, without giving adequate consideration to the country of origin information, to the medical and anthropological evidence, the identity documents, the explanations given by the applicant and the legal submissions made on her behalf;

    2) The Contested Decision is vitiated by errors of law and fact in its assessment of the availability of State protection.

    Extension of time

  4. A preliminary issue arises as to the need to extend time for the present application. It is not disputed that the application was commenced well outside the time limit of 14 days prescribed by s. 5(2) of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000. The chronology, as originally explained to this court, is as follows;

    (a) The decision of 11th July was sent to the applicant under cover of a letter of 26th July, 2007.

    (b) On 2nd August, the Refugee Legal Service, which had been representing her and which had also received the Contested Decision, wrote to her saying that it did not believe that she had grounds for an appeal, advised her of the 14 day time limit for judicial review and of her option of consulting a private solicitor.

    (c) In early August she approached her present solicitor, Mr. Mulvihill in Cork, who informed her that his office would be closed for the holidays so that he would be unavailable for some time. He suggested that she try to find a solicitor in Dublin. The applicant claimed that the Cork solicitor told her that he would be unavailable during both August and September. His affidavit merely says: "for some time".

    (d) By letter of 30th October, 2007, she was informed that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order.

    (e) On 3rd November, she returned to the office of Mr. Mulvihill in Cork and the present proceedings were commenced on 9th November.

  5. When this application was listed for hearing and opened to the court on 16th January, 2009, the Court expressed reservation as to its ability to find that there were good and sufficient reasons for extending the time under s. 50 on the basis of the above explanation and particularly in the absence of any explanation as to what had been done, if anything, in the period from early August 2007, until after the receipt of the letter of 30th October, 2007, and the threat of deportation.

  6. On the application of counsel for the applicant a short adjournment was granted to enable enquiries to be made as to whether any explanation for that delay could be furnished.

  7. As a result, a supplemental affidavit was filed which provided the following additional information;

    The applicant contacted another solicitor on 7th August...

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