In Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v SZVFW  HCA 30 (8 August 2018), the High Court has unanimously held that a decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal ("the Tribunal") to proceed in the absence of the First and Second Respondents ("the Respondents") was not unreasonable, and that the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia should have set aside a decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia which had found the Tribunal's decision to be unreasonable [see Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v SZVFW  FCAFC 33 (2 March 2017)].
The Respondents sought review by the Tribunal of a decision made by the Minister to refuse their application for protection visas due to the fact that they failed to respond to numerous invitations from the Tribunal to appear before it in order to give evidence and present arguments.
The Tribunal wrote to the Respondents in May 2014, inviting them to provide material or written arguments on the review. In August 2014, the Tribunal again invited the Respondents to appear before it at a hearing, but they did not contact the Tribunal or attend the hearing.
In the judgment, their Honours noted [at para 5]:
Their Honours noted [at para 99]:
The Department advised SZVFW and his wife that their application had been refused on 16 April 2014. The letter was addressed to the Roselands address.
Paragraph 105 of the judgment reveals that:
The Tribunal sought to exercise its power under s 426A(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (the “Act”) which entitles them to make a decision on the Review Application without taking any further action to allow or enable SZVFW and his wife to appear before it. The Tribunal affirmed the decision under review.
On 15 September 2014, SZVFW and his wife were informed by letter of the Tribunal's decision. The letter was addressed to the Roselands address. SZVFW and his wife sought judicial review of the Tribunal's decision.
The Respondents claim that the decision to proceed in their absence was legally unreasonable. Their Honours noted [at para 141] of the judgment:
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Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v SZVFW  HCA 30 (8 August 2018)
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