Disclosure of positive Reasonable Grounds and Conclusive Grounds decisions
Last updated 23/09/2021
As indicated above, Competent Authorities should not routinely provide a copy of the decision minute for a positive reasonable grounds or positive conclusive grounds decision to the victim.
The guidance below does not apply to negative reasonable grounds or negative conclusive grounds decisions which must be disclosed.
Disclosure of completed referral forms
Competent Authorities should not routinely provide a copy of a completed referral form to the victim. This is because there may be sensitive information included in the form that it is not appropriate to disclose. Although the form includes information about the potential victim, it should not be assumed that they ‘own’ this information. Any disclosure request will need full consideration and therefore this should be done via a subject access request.
Subject access requests
Decision minutes are considered to be within the scope of personal information. As such, the victim is entitled to make a subject access request to obtain this information, in accordance with Section 7, the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).
Any requests for decision minutes from victims or their legal representative should be considered as a subject access request and dealt with in accordance with Home Office Guidance on requests for personal information.
All subject access requests should be in writing, and should specify that the victim is seeking a copy of the consideration minute which accompanies their NRM decision.
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The information on this page has been removed as it is restricted for internal Home Office use only.
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The Competent Authority or Central Team must respond to the subject access request within 40 days.
Rule 45 of the tribunal procedure rules enables the tribunal to give directions to the parties relating to the conduct of any appeal or application. This may include directions providing for a party to provide further details of his case or any other information which appears to be necessary to the determination of the appeal.
Even where it is the view of the Competent Authority that the content of the minute will not add anything in terms of merits of this individual’s asylum claim, the fact that the decision letter is complemented by a fuller record of the decision-making process, and the evidence relied on which underpins that and has not been disclosed, may be sufficient for someone to argue that its content ‘appears to be necessary to the determination of the appeal’.
In addition, Rule 50 of the tribunal procedures rules provides tribunals with the ability to issue a summons requiring a witness to attend and answer any questions, or produce any documents in their custody or under their control, relating to any matter in issue in an appeal.
As such, Competent Authorities should provide copies of decision minutes to the Tribunal where instructed to do so.
Those minutes should be carefully examined and, where appropriate, redacted accordingly. Home Office guidance on redaction is available on Horizon.