International Protection Act 2015

Personal interview

35. (1) As part of the examination referred to in section 34 , the international protection officer shall cause the applicant to be interviewed, at such time and place that the international protection officer may fix, in relation to the matters referred to in that section.

(2) An applicant interviewed under subsection (1) shall, whenever necessary for the purpose of ensuring appropriate communication during a personal interview, be provided by the Minister or international protection officer with the services of an interpreter.

(3) The Minister, for the purpose of ensuring that personal interviews are conducted under conditions that allow the applicant to present the grounds for his or her application in a comprehensive manner shall—

(a) ensure that the persons who conduct the personal interviews are sufficiently competent to take account of the personal or general circumstances surrounding the application, including the applicant’s cultural origin or vulnerability, insofar as it is possible to do so, and

(b) in the case of interviews to which subsection (2) applies, select interpreters who are able to ensure appropriate communication between the applicant and the person who conducts the interview.

(4) The requirement in subsection (3)(b) shall be regarded as complied with if interpretation is provided in a language that the applicant may reasonably be supposed to understand and in which he or she is able to communicate.

(5) A personal interview shall—

(a) take place without the presence of family members of the applicant unless the international protection officer considers it necessary for an appropriate examination to have other family members present, and

(b) take place under conditions that ensure appropriate confidentiality.

(6) The following may be present at a personal interview:

(a) the High Commissioner, whenever he or she so requests;

(b) the applicant’s legal representative or a person nominated by that legal representative, with the consent of the applicant.

(7) (a) Where an applicant has not attained the age of 18 years and is accompanied by an adult other than his or her parent, the interviewer, where he or she considers it appropriate to do so, shall require the adult to satisfy him or her that the adult is taking responsibility for the care and protection of the applicant concerned.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a), the interviewer may make such inquiries of or about the applicant and the adult concerned as the interviewer considers necessary in order to satisfy himself or herself that the adult is taking the responsibility referred to in paragraph (a) and is authorised to do so.

(c) Where the interviewer (whether or not having made appropriate enquiries under paragraph (b)) is not satisfied either that the adult is taking responsibility for the applicant or that the adult is authorised to do so, he or she shall so inform the Child and Family Agency, and

(i) it shall be presumed that the applicant is a child in need of care and protection, and

(ii) the Child Care Acts 1991 to 2013, the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 and other enactments relating to the care and welfare of persons who have not attained the age of 18 years shall apply.

(8) A personal interview may be dispensed with where the international protection officer is of the opinion that—

(a) based on the available evidence, the applicant is a person in respect of whom a refugee declaration should be given,

(b) where the applicant has not attained the age of 18 years, he or she is of such an age and degree of maturity that an interview would not usefully advance the examination, or

(c) the applicant is unfit or unable to be interviewed owing to circumstances that are enduring and beyond his or her control.

(9) Subsection (8) shall not of itself operate to—

(a) prevent information relating to the application from being submitted to the international protection officer by or on behalf of the applicant,

(b) prevent the international protection officer from making a recommendation under section 39 in respect of the application, or

(c) adversely affect the recommendation referred to in paragraph (b).

(10) The applicant, the High Commissioner or any other person concerned may make representations in writing to the Minister in relation to any matter relevant to an examination of an application for international protection and the international protection officer shall take account of any such representations made before or during a personal interview.

(11) Subsection (10) shall not be construed as preventing the international protection officer from taking into account any representations made following a personal interview provided that such representations are made prior to the preparation of the report under section 39 (1) in relation to the application.

(12) Following the conclusion of a personal interview, the interviewer shall prepare a report in writing of the interview.

(13) The report prepared under subsection (12) shall comprise two parts—

(a) one of which shall include anything that is, in the opinion of the international protection officer, relevant to the application, and

(b) the other of which shall include anything that would, in the opinion of the international protection officer, be relevant to the Minister’s decision under section 48 or 49 , in the event that the section concerned were to apply to the applicant.