- a.Good decision‐making requires attention to process, to how the decision is made, as well as looking at the merits of the case. A fair process is more likely to ensure a fair outcome. Decisions that are not made in the proper manner may be reviewed by the courts or become a subject of complaint to the Ombudsman (see A9.10).
- b.Making a decision in the proper manner involves acting on the principles of fairness and natural justice, which means:
- igiving the applicant a fair hearing; and
- iiavoiding bias.
- c.All immigration officers must act on the principles of fairness and natural justice when deciding an application.
a. Whether a decision is fair or not depends on such factors as:
- whether an application is given proper consideration;
- whether the applicant is informed of information that might harm their case (often referred to as potentially prejudicial information);
- whether the applicant is given a reasonable opportunity to respond to harmful information;
- whether the application is decided in a way that is consistent with other decisions;
- whether appropriate reasons are given for declining an application;
- whether only relevant information is considered;
- whether all known relevant information is considered.
b. How much fairness an immigration officer must bring to bear in deciding an application may depend on the consequences of the decision for the applicant.
a.Whether or not a decision is biased depends on such factors as:
- i whether the officer is personally prejudiced against the applicant on grounds such as sex, race, religion, socio‐economic status, sexuality etc;
- ii whether the officer has a direct financial or personal interest in the outcome of a decision;
- iii whether the officer has a relationship with any of the people involved in the application;
- iv whether the officer has predetermined the decision, without considering all of the facts and evidence.
b.It is important to avoid not only actual bias, but also the appearance or suspicion of bias.
A1.15 Practical steps towards achieving fairness and natural justice in decision-making
- **a.**If the applicant insists on proceeding, accept and process an application made in the prescribed manner (see R2.35 ‐ R2.50), even if it is likely that it will be declined; and
- **b.**consider all the facts, keeping an open mind towards all relevant forms of evidence; and
- **c.**distinguish fact from opinion, rumour, allegation, assumption or report; and
- **d.**apply relevant immigration instructions; and
- **e.**inform the applicant of the actual reasons for a decision; and
- **f.**include an interpreter in an interview if the applicant is not fluent in English, or if the applicant asks for one to be present (see A14); and
- **g.**include an applicant’s lawyer, immigration adviser, or family representative if the applicant asks for them to be present.
A1.15.1 Role of representative at interviews
If an applicant has a representative at the interview, the representative must be given the opportunity to make any comments or submissions on the application to the immigration officer. Subject to the discretion of the officer, such comment and submission will normally be made at the start and/or finish of the interview.