The complainant acted as counsel for refugee claimants whose claims were heard by the Refugee Protection Division.
The allegations in the complaint can be summarized as follows:
- The member appeared to be in a hurry to conclude the hearing and gave the impression that the member had already made a decision with respect to the claims
- The member denied the claimants the opportunity of presenting additional documents
- The member attempted to impede the claimants’ right to pursue their claims
- The member was not aware that they are bound to follow rules and procedures and
- The member demonstrated that they were biased and had a preconceived determination about the claims
Allegations in the complaint related to the member’s failure to follow rules and procedures, the member denying the opportunity to present additional documents at the hearing, as well as rushing the hearing. Additionally, the member was alleged to be biased and had a preconceived determination about the claims and did not thoroughly review the claims and supporting documentation before arriving at a decision. The complaint also alleged that the member was biased and failed to review supporting documentation before arriving at a decision.
An allegation of bias would be accepted for investigation if the allegation concerns member misconduct (for example, if a member makes an inappropriate comment related to discrimination based on gender, race, etc.). In this case, the allegation of bias related to procedural fairness, namely that the member failed to have an open mind.
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.
The complaint was dismissed, and the file was closed.