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Harjit Singh Randhawa v the Minister of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1994] FCA 1253; (1994) 124 ALR 265

For those of us who appear or advocate in refugee and humanitarian visa matters, it can be challenging to convince a decision-maker to accept our clients' claims in circumstances where there is often a lack of documents or witnesses and evidence is often scrutinised with a great deal of suspicion. Beaumont J remarks in Harjit Singh Randhawa v the Minister of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1994] FCA 1253; (1994) 124 ALR 265 are often quoted in regards to decision-makers not needing to "[uncritically accept] any and all allegations made by suppliants". However, I feel that Beaumont J's remarks directly prior to that statement are extremely valuable and unfortunately much less quoted. Beaumont J noted that "Proof of persecution in the context of an application for refugee status is a matter of some complexity. . . a liberal attitude on the part of the decision-maker is called for, since it is a well-known fact that a person who claims to be a refugee may have difficulties in proving his allegations. . . and it would go counter to the principle of good faith in the interpretation and application of treaties if a contracting state "should place on a suppliant a burden of proof which he, in the nature of things, could not possibly cope with". 

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