The complainant acted as counsel for the respondent before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) in respect of the Minister’s application for cessation of refugee protection.
The complaint related to the member’s finding in their decision that the respondent’s written submissions had not been received as of the date of the decision. More specifically, the complaint alleged that:
- The member was not competent to conduct hearings
- The member appeared to deliberately misrepresent facts and manipulated information to suit a desired result and
- The member's behaviour was petty, unprofessional and cynical
Consistent with the recommendation of the Office of the Ombudsperson, the Chairperson decided that this complaint relates to the exercise of adjudicative discretion and not to the member’s conduct. As per section 3 of the
Procedures for Making a Complaint about a Member, complaints related to the exercise of the member’s adjudicative discretion are not investigated. Members are independent decision-makers; therefore, their adjudicative independence must be unfettered. The appropriate forum for concerns about adjudicative discretion is the associated appeals division or the Federal Court.
Given the serious nature of the allegations, however, the Chairperson decided that the complaint should be addressed through another process pursuant to paragraph 5.5 b) of the Procedures. The Deputy Chairperson of the RPD was asked to review the complaint to determine if any follow-up action was required. The Deputy Chairperson subsequently spoke with the member in question about the issues that were identified and provided enhanced training to members of the RPD, including on handling postponement requests. The Deputy Chairperson also sent a letter to the complainant informing them that the RPD continues to enhance quality decision-making of members through the ongoing work of the newly established RPD Quality Centre.
The file was then closed.