Confronting bias and antagonism at the Immigration and Refugee Board

I discussed confronting bias and antagonism at the Immigration and Refugee Board in my book.

The most recent iteration of this phenomenon is canvassed in a Toronto Star article

The Refugee Appeal Division set aside a biased RPD Board Member’s decision and granted protection, noting, in part:

In her decision, Bobkin said there’s a high bar for appellants to establish bias or even an apprehension of bias; an allegation cannot be just based on “mere suspicion, pure conjecture or mere impressions.”

The adjudicator said she assessed the couple’s allegations based on Mungovan’s tone and demeanour; his use of boilerplate reasons in Romanian Roma cases; and his pattern of focusing on “peripheral, microscopic and sometimes inappropriate credibility issues” in this case and others.

The refugee judge made comments with a “sarcastic tone,” such as “I didn’t know that I was limited to non-leading questions, but nevertheless,” said Bobkin. Others were made with an angry, argumentative tone, Bobkin said, such as, “You don’t want them to answer the question, I will move on,” and “Is it to be answered or not?” and, “I am going to ask this for the last time.”

“At times, the member interrupts counsel. All of these issues together render this interaction concerning,” wrote Bobkin, adding that the claimant’s complaint — that Mungovan “sneered” and “seemed condescending” and was “confrontational” — were borne out in the recording of the hearing.

The -thankfully former –RPD Board Member David Mungovan should hang his head in shame. If he is a practicing lawyer, serious consideration should be made by the responsible Law Society to investigate and sanction his inappropriate conduct which is an affront to the Rule of Law.