Estrin Saul Lawyers win landmark “port” case

Landmark refugee law win

Estrin Saul Lawyers have been running a series of cases against the Minister for Home Affairs in the Federal Courts.

We challenged the designation of a “port” at Ashmore Reef and therefore the government’s policy of transferring boat arrivals onto Navy vessels and entering the “port” to restrict their visa and appeal pathways. The matters impact up to 1600 asylum seekers.

The Minister for Home Affairs already conceded one case, finding evidence (after five and a half years) that the asylum seeker never actually entered the port (which also affected 90 other people on that boat).

On 12 July 2018, Judge Smith of the Federal Circuit Court ruled in our favour, finding that the designated area at Ashmore Reef was not a “port” within the meaning of the Act. As the Minister only had power to designate a “port” as a “proclaimed port” the Instrument was beyond the Minister’s power and was found to be invalid.

In response to our cases, the Minister has introduced legislation to “validate the port” and is likely to try to rush it through Parliament.

The full text of the judgment in DBD16 v Minister for Immigration and Anor [2018] FCCA 1801 can be found here.

Anyone who made an application for a Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise visa and passed through Ashmore Reef before 1 June 2013 should seek urgent legal advice and contact or call 08 9485 0650 for any further information.

For media inquiries, please call 08 9485 0650.