Member’s refusal to recuse himself not per se evidence of bias

Federal court | Immigration and Citizenship | Refugee protection | Practice and procedure in refugee claims

Refugee Protection Division dismissed family’s application three years after hearing. Applicants had unsuccessfully applied twice to Member to recuse himself on grounds that he had lowest rate of acceptance of refugee claims he was biased. Applicants applied for judicial review alleging bias, delay and failure to follow Gender Guidelines and Vulnerable Persons Guidelines. Application dismissed. Member’s refusal to recuse himself not per se evidence of bias. Member not satisfied sufficient grounds for recusal, and this was explained fully in decision. Applicants’ real complaint was that they regarded him as someone, who, because of his previous record, would not be likely to grant their claims. No evidence to support reasonable apprehension of bias on part of Member in way that he handled lead up to hearings or hearings themselves. Many factors contributed to delay but bias not one of them. Questioning re sexual assault revealed no insensitivity as member sought explanation for discrepancy regarding police involvement following sexual assault and had no intention of going into details. Regarding Vulnerable Persons Guidelines, applicants left out efforts at accommodation by Member. Member’s language did not suggest animosity towards applicants and was not adversarial. Rejection of family therapist’s evidence was based on lack of qualification to offer diagnosis. Member not responsible for previous illnesses and predispositions nor responsible for length and stress of hearings. Section 7 Charter rights not breached by delay. Insufficient causal connection between various health and economic impacts and delay in decision.

I.P.P. v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 1665, 2018 FC 123, James Russell J. (F.C.).

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