High Court rules in favour of refugee

February 13, 2015
Scott Morrison lost a High Court case to a Pakistani refugee.

A refugee has won his claim for protection because the High Court ruled that the basis of his arrival, by boat, was not a valid ground to reject him.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison denied the Pakistani man a visa because he arrived by boat, even though the department had found him to be a genuine refugee and Australia was legally obliged to provide protection.

The High Court unanimously ordered the immigration minister, now Peter Dutton, to grant him a permanent protection visa. Dutton said a visa would be issued within seven days.

The case means that Morrison's unilateral capping of protection visas last year is legally invalid, and his concerted efforts to refuse the Pakistani man a visa were unlawful.

Refugee rights lawyer David Manne told the Guardian he welcomed the decision: “We are carefully studying the potential implications of the ruling for other refugees who arrived by boat, but who were refused a permanent protection visa because of their method of arrival.”

The immigration department considered the ruling's implications to be “limited”.

“This decision doesn’t affect the government’s policy that illegal maritime arrivals will not be granted permanent protection visas,” a spokesperson said.

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