International Protection Act 2015

28.

Assessment of facts and circumstances

28.      (1) An international protection officer shall, in co-operation with the applicant, assess the relevant elements of the application.

(2) The Tribunal shall, for the purposes of an appeal under section 41 in co-operation with the applicant, assess the relevant elements of the application.

(3) The elements referred to in subsections (1) and (2) consist of the applicant’s statements and all the documents submitted by him or her regarding his or her—

(a) age,

(b) background, including that of relevant relatives,

(c) identity,

(d) nationality or nationalities,

(e) country or countries, and place or places, of previous residence,

(f) previous asylum applications, whether made in the State or outside it,

(g) travel routes,

(h) identity and travel documents, and

(i) reasons for applying for international protection.

(4) The assessment, by the international protection officer of an application, and by the Tribunal of an appeal under section 41 , shall be carried out on an individual basis and shall include taking into account the following:

(a) all relevant facts as they relate to the country of origin at the time of taking a decision on the application, including laws and regulations of the country of origin and the manner in which they are applied;

(b) the relevant statements and documentation presented by the applicant including information on whether the applicant has been or may be subject to persecution or serious harm;

(c) the individual position and personal circumstances of the applicant, including factors such as background, gender and age, so as to assess whether, on the basis of the applicant’s personal circumstances, the acts to which the applicant has been or could be exposed would amount to persecution or serious harm;

(d) whether the applicant’s activities since leaving the country of origin were engaged in for the sole or main purpose of creating the necessary conditions for applying for international protection, so as to assess whether those activities will expose the applicant to persecution or serious harm if returned to that country;

(e) whether the applicant could reasonably be expected to avail himself or herself of the protection of another country where he or she could assert citizenship;

(f) the general credibility of the applicant.

(5) (a) In the assessment of an application, an international protection officer shall, in the case of an applicant who was a child at the time of a relevant occurrence or at any time during which a relevant circumstance existed, take account of the applicant’s age at that time and the level of understanding that could reasonably be expected of a child of that age.

(b) In the conduct of an appeal under section 41 , the Tribunal shall, in the case of an applicant who was a child at the time of a relevant occurrence or at any time during which a relevant circumstance existed, take account of the applicant’s age at that time and the level of understanding that could reasonably be expected of a child of that age.

(c) In this subsection—

“relevant circumstance” means, in relation to an application, a circumstance that falls to be considered in the assessment of the application;

“relevant occurrence” means, in relation to an application, an occurrence that falls to be considered in the assessment of the application.

(6) The fact that an applicant has already been subject to persecution or serious harm, or to direct threats of such persecution or such serious harm, is a serious indication of the applicant’s well-founded fear of persecution or real risk of suffering serious harm, unless there are good reasons to consider that such persecution or serious harm will not be repeated.

(7) Where aspects of the applicant’s statements are not supported by documentary or other evidence, those aspects shall not need confirmation where the international protection officer or, as the case may be, the Tribunal, is satisfied that—

(a) the applicant has made a genuine effort to substantiate his or her application,

(b) all relevant elements at the applicant’s disposal have been submitted and a satisfactory explanation regarding any lack of other relevant elements has been given,

(c) the applicant’s statements are found to be coherent and plausible and do not run counter to available specific and general information relevant to the applicant’s case,

(d) the applicant has applied for international protection at the earliest possible time, unless the applicant can demonstrate good reason for not having done so, and

(e) the general credibility of the applicant has been established.