ON 14 APRIL 1999, the High Court of Australia delivered Abebe v Commonwealth  HCA 14; 197 CLR 510; 162 ALR 1; 73 ALJR 584 (14 April 1999)
In 1994, the Commonwealth Parliament enacted provisions in Part 8 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) limiting the ability of the Federal Court to review the legality of an administrative decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal.
In 1997, Ms Abebe, an Ethiopian woman who unsuccessfully sought refugee status in Australia, brought proceedings in the Federal Court against the Immigration Minister seeking relief on the grounds that she had been denied natural justice and that the Refugee Review Tribunal’s decision declining her application for permanent residence was unreasonable. The Federal Court dismissed the application.
Ms Abebe then made an application to the High Court, challenging Part 8 of the Act and seeking orders for prerogative relief.
The High Court dismissed Ms Abebe’s application, determining that the provisions of Part 8 were not outside of the legislative powers or the Commonwealth.
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