The Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT) do not make their decisions publically available. In 2006, two barristers resigned resigned amid allegations of secrecy of the RAT and allegations of inconsistency in decision-making. The Supreme Court decided in 2006 that previous relevant decisions had to made available to legal representatives of those appearing before the RAT. Unlike similar refugee status determination bodies in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, decisions of the RAT are not available to the public at large. To ensure public confidence in the refugee status determination system, such decisions should be made publicly available, with identifying features of the refugee applicant redacted. As was stated by McDonagh in 2005, this would lead to more confidence in the refugee appeals system in Ireland. With the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill (see here) to come before the Irish Parliament in the near future, this is the ideal opportunity to have a general rule, subject to limited exceptions, that decisions of any reformed refugee appeals system are published. In the mean-time, RAT should make its decisions publicly available, which is the norm in most other developed countries.

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Written by Liam Thornton

Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education in University College Dublin. His particular research interests are on issues relating to the welfare state, human rights, socio-economic rights, Governmentality, immigration law and EU law. You can contact him at liam.thornton[at] or (+353) 1 716 4129.