WACO v Minister for Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs [2003] FCAFC 171 | 15 August 2003

WACO v Minister for Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs [2003] FCAFC 171 (15 August 2003).


The applicant was a citizen of Iran who applied for a protection visa. Evidence upon which he relied included two letters purporting to show an association with a reformist cleric named Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Shirazi.

The Refugee Review Tribunal affirmed the decision of the delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Indigenous Affairs not to grant the applicant’s visa, finding that it was not satisfied that he had a genuine fear of persecution and there was not a real chance that he would face persecution upon his return to Iran. The Tribunal concluded that several parts of the applicant’s evidence were implausible and that he was not a credible witness. Specifically, the Tribunal doubted the genuineness of the letters concerning the Ayatollah Shirazi.

It was common ground that the Tribunal did not at any time indicate to the applicant of its doubts about the letters, nor did it give the applicant an opportunity to put his case as to why they were genuine.

The applicant brought proceedings in the Federal Court seeking prerogative writs against the Tribunal’s decision. Those proceedings were dismissed by French J.

The Full Court of the Federal Court allowed an appeal, setting aside French J’s orders, issuing a writ of certiorari and remitting the matter back to the Tribunal. The Full Court held that procedural fairness imposes a duty on the Tribunal to ensure that an applicant is made aware of the case against him or her and given an opportunity to be heard in response to the issues to be decided.


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