Positive Decision by the Federal Court leads to a Successful Re-determination before the Immigration and Refugee Board
A Congolese woman arrived in Canada in 2010, in an attempt to escape from a forced marriage to a man who was suspected to suffer from AIDS. She had already endured years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her first husband and was still suffering the impact of that trauma. Her children were still in hiding from her tribe, being looked after by a close family friend.
The claimant applied for refugee protection upon her arrival to Canada, and was represented by another Canadian immigration lawyer in Ottawa. However, at her refugee hearing, the claimant had great difficulty testifying; she was extremely emotional, unable to concentrate and to recall details. After an abrupt line of questioning, the Refugee Protection Division decided that the claimant was not credible and her story of forced marriage was not plausible. Unfortunately, her refugee claim was rejected.
Ms. Gerami, the woman’s immigration lawyer, argued was then retained to appeal this case before the Federal Court of Canada last summer. The Court rendered a positive decision on the judicial review, on the basis that the Board Member had failed to apply the Gender Guidelines in assessing her evidence at the refugee hearing, and in coming to its conclusions. In other words, the Board was not sensitive to the vulnerable position of the claimant as a traumatized woman, which breached her legitimate expectations and compromised the fairness of the decision.
Last week, Ms. Gerami represented the claimant before the Refugee Protection Division on a redetermination of her refugee hearing. This time, with the benefit of a report from a Clinical Counsellor, a positive decision from the Federal Court, and lots of preparation, the Claimant told story and was effectively questioned and heard by the Board Member, who decided immediately to grant her refugee claim. It was an extremely well- deserved victory for the claimant after more than 4 years of struggle to be granted asylum in Canada.