Refugee Council of Australia
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How Australia determines if a person is a refugee

Review by the courts

If the AAT agrees with the Department’s decision, the applicant can ask the Federal Circuit Court to review the decision (‘judicial review’).

Importantly, the court does not decide whether the person is a refugee or needs protection.  Instead, the court can only consider whether the determination was conducted in accordance with the law. For example, it can send back a decision if it finds that the Department or the AAT applied the wrong legal test.

If the Court finds in favour of the applicant, the AAT must reconsider its decision. This does not mean, however, that the applicant must be granted refugee status. It only has to reconsider the decision according to the law that the Court has set out.

Review of Migration Decisions by the Federal Circuit Court (Brochure)

Ministerial intervention

Another option is for an applicant to ask the Minister to grant a visa on humanitarian grounds if there are exceptional circumstances. The Minister does not often use this power.

Ministerial Intervention after an AAT Decision under Section 417 (RACS)

Permission to Lodge Another Protection Visa Application (RACS)

The Minister does not have to consider the request, and the applications are assessed first under guidelines issued by the Minister. The Minister’s decision to consider the request is not reviewable.

Ministerial Intervention (Department of Home Affairs)

Playing God (Liberty Victoria) 

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