Federal Circuit Court Judge Accused of Bias After Rejecting Hundreds of Migration Cases
A Federal Circuit Court judge Alexander Street from one of Australia's most famous legal families has been accused of apprehended bias after he rejected more than 250 appeals in migration cases in six months.
Rulings of Judge Alexander "Sandy" Street have been subject to several appeals in two recent cases in the Full Federal Court, which has strongly criticised the newly appointed Federal Circuit Court judge.
In a highly unusual move, applicants have presented statistics to support their allegation that those seeking a judicial review of migration decisions had virtually no chance of succeeding in Judge Street's court between January and June this year.
In the latest application, filed last week in the Full Federal Court, the editor of the Federal Court Reports, Victor Kline, has sworn an affidavit which alleges Judge Street found in favour of the Immigration Minister in virtually every case he heard between January and June this year.
Of 254 rulings delivered, Judge Street rejected migration appeals in 252 cases.
Judge Street has been the subject of pointed criticism in two successful appeals of his decisions in the Full Federal Court in which the judge was found to have denied litigants procedural fairness.
In one case, an unrepresented Tamil asylum seeker told Judge Street that his younger brother, younger sister and her husband had been killed in Sri Lanka.
"The police will be targeting me as I was seen as being opposed to the police," the Tamil man told Judge Street.
"I plead to this court that I have come here to seek refuge and protection, and therefore, I urge this court to grant me protection and allow me to stay in this country."
In response, the judge asked the Tamil man to identify why there was a jurisdictional error in his case.
In that case, lawyers for the Immigration Minister had cautioned against the summary dismissal of the Tamil man's case, stressing the duty of the Minister to put evidence before the court.
The man's immigration file had not yet been obtained. But the judge did not accept the Minister's counsel's entreaties, summarily dismissing the case with costs.