Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)

The request was partially successful.

Dear Security Bureau,

I write to request data regarding the operation of the Torture Claims Appeal Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office ('TCAB'), for the period from 2014 to September 2019 (the 'relevant period'); regarding the following:

1. The No. of Oral Hearing held;
2. The No. of Appeals determined without an oral hearing (i.e. "on the papers");
3. The No. of requests to adjourn made on the basis of ill-health; and of those sought:
(a) The number that were granted;
(b) The number that were refused,
3. The number of instances in which a party failed to attend their oral hearing;
4. Of those at 3, the number of Appellants who:
(a) Did not provide an explanation for non-attendance; or
(b) Did provide an explanation but it was refused/deemed not to amount to a "reasonable cause" (as per 11.14-11.16 of THE PRACTICE AND PROCEDURAL GUIDE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE NON-REFOULEMENT CLAIMS PETITION SCHEME (“Petition Guide”));
(c) Did provide an explanation, and it was accepted as amounting to a 'reasonable cause'; (as per 11.14-11.16 of the Petition Guide).

Thanks very much in advance,

Isaac Shaffer

Security Bureau

Dear Mr Shaffer,

Our Bureau has received your application for access to information on
26.9.2019.  Your application is now under processing.  According to
paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, our Bureau will
inform you of the latest progress of the case separately on or before 16
October 2019.  In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 2284 if you have
any questions.  Thank you.

Regards,
Connie Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        26/09/2019 11:08
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Torture Claims Appeal
Board (Medical Issues)

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Dear Security Bureau,

I write to request data regarding the operation of the Torture Claims
Appeal Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office ('TCAB'), for the
period from 2014 to September 2019 (the 'relevant period'); regarding the
following:

1. The No. of Oral Hearing held;
2. The No. of Appeals determined without an oral hearing (i.e. "on the
papers");
3.  The No. of requests to adjourn made on the basis of ill-health; and of
those sought:
     (a) The number that were granted;
      (b) The number that were refused,
3. The number of instances in which a party failed to attend their oral
hearing;
4. Of those at 3, the number of Appellants who:
   (a) Did not provide an explanation for non-attendance; or
    (b) Did provide an explanation but it was refused/deemed not to amount
to a "reasonable cause" (as per 11.14-11.16 of THE PRACTICE AND PROCEDURAL
GUIDE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE NON-REFOULEMENT CLAIMS PETITION SCHEME
(“Petition Guide”));
    (c) Did provide an explanation, and it was accepted as amounting to a
'reasonable cause'; (as per 11.14-11.16 of the Petition Guide).

Thanks very much in advance,  

Isaac Shaffer

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #416 email]

Is [Security Bureau request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information requests
to Security Bureau? If so, please contact us using this form:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
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Security Bureau

Dear Mr Shaffer,

I refer to your email of 26 September 2019 requesting for information
regarding the operation of the Torture Claims Appeal Board for the period
from 1 January 2014 to 30 September 2019.  Our reply is given below -

(1)        Number of oral hearing held:  10 951
(2)        Number of appeals determined without an oral hearing (i.e. 'on
the papers'):  1 244

We do not maintain statistics regarding the number of requests to adjourn
the hearing made on the basis of ill-health and the number of instances in
which a party failed to attend their oral hearings and hence, are unable
to provide such information as requested.

Regards,
Connie Wong
Security Bureau

From:        SB-AIOREQ/SB/HKSARG
To:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>,
Date:        03/10/2019 09:29
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Torture Claims Appeal
Board (Medical Issues)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Shaffer,

Our Bureau has received your application for access to information on
26.9.2019.  Your application is now under processing.  According to
paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, our Bureau will
inform you of the latest progress of the case separately on or before 16
October 2019.  In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 2284 if you have
any questions.  Thank you.

Regards,
Connie Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        26/09/2019 11:08
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Torture Claims Appeal
Board (Medical Issues)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Security Bureau,

I write to request data regarding the operation of the Torture Claims
Appeal Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office ('TCAB'), for the
period from 2014 to September 2019 (the 'relevant period'); regarding the
following:

1. The No. of Oral Hearing held;
2. The No. of Appeals determined without an oral hearing (i.e. "on the
papers");
3.  The No. of requests to adjourn made on the basis of ill-health; and of
those sought:
     (a) The number that were granted;
      (b) The number that were refused,
3. The number of instances in which a party failed to attend their oral
hearing;
4. Of those at 3, the number of Appellants who:
   (a) Did not provide an explanation for non-attendance; or
    (b) Did provide an explanation but it was refused/deemed not to amount
to a "reasonable cause" (as per 11.14-11.16 of THE PRACTICE AND PROCEDURAL
GUIDE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE NON-REFOULEMENT CLAIMS PETITION SCHEME
(“Petition Guide”));
    (c) Did provide an explanation, and it was accepted as amounting to a
'reasonable cause'; (as per 11.14-11.16 of the Petition Guide).

Thanks very much in advance,  

Isaac Shaffer

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #416 email]

Is [Security Bureau request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information requests
to Security Bureau? If so, please contact us using this form:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
2. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Dear Security Bureau,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of the Security Bureau's handling of my FOI request 'Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)'.

Given the importance of these matters, and particularly given the express criticism by the Courts as within the judgments of both Villarico Loutherliz Talag v. Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 468; HCAL 179/2017, and M v Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 24, there is evidently a compelling public interest in obtaining, maintaining and sharing this data. Given these repeated expressions of concern by the Judiciary it would be highly regrettable if the SB were to indicate that in effect it had no procedural or operational oversight of these matters, such that it could not even provide the most basic data/information.

Many thanks in advance for your continued assistance.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/torture...

Yours faithfully,

Isaac Shaffer

Security Bureau

Dear Mr Shaffer,

We received your request for internal review on 16.10.2019.

Your request is now under processing.  According to paragraph 1.25 and
1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, we will inform you of the
latest progress of the case separately on or before 5 November 2019.

In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 2284 if you have any enquiry.

Regards,
Connie Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        16/10/2019 10:49
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Security Bureau,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of the Security Bureau's
handling of my FOI request 'Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)'.

Given the importance of these matters, and particularly given the express
criticism by the Courts as within the judgments of both Villarico
Loutherliz Talag v. Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 468; HCAL
179/2017,  and M v Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 24, there is
evidently a compelling public interest in obtaining, maintaining and
sharing this data.  Given these repeated expressions of concern by the
Judiciary it would be highly regrettable if the SB were to indicate that
in effect it had no procedural or operational oversight of these matters,
such that it could not even provide the most basic data/information.

Many thanks in advance for your continued assistance.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/torture...

Yours faithfully,

Isaac Shaffer

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #416 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/torture...
2. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Security Bureau

Dear Mr Shaffer,

I refer to your preceding email of 16 October 2019 requesting the Security
Bureau to conduct an internal review of our earlier decision pursuant to
the Code on Access to Information (the “Code”) in respect of your request
made on 26 September 2019 for the following information for the period
from 1 January 2014 to 30 September 2019 –

(a)        the number of oral hearing held;
(b)        the number of appeals determined without an oral hearing (i.e.
“on the papers”);
(c)        the number of requests to adjourn made on the basis of
ill-health; and of those sought –
(i)        the number that were granted;
(ii)        the number that were refused;
(d)        the number of instances in which a party failed to attend their
oral hearing;
(e)        of those at (d), the number of appellants who –
(i)        did not provide an explanation for non-attendance; or
(ii)        did provide an explanation but it was refused/deemed not to
amount to a “reasonable cause”; and
(iii)        did provide an explanation, and it was accepted as amounting
to a “reasonable cause”.

In our reply of 16 October 2019, we provided information for items (a) and
(b) above, and informed you that we were unable to provide the other
information as requested as we do not maintain statistics regarding the
number of requests to adjourn the hearing made on the basis of ill-health
and the number of instances in which a party failed to attend their oral
hearings.

Upon receipt of your request of 16 October 2019, we have, in accordance
with the established procedures and guidelines, conducted an internal
review and critically examined and considered your request under the Code.
 After review, we conclude that our decision is in compliance with the
Code and should be upheld for the following reasons –

(a)        The Torture Claims Appeal Board (“the Board”) is an independent
statutory body established under section 37ZQ of the Immigration Ordinance
(Cap. 115).  When carrying out its duty, it functions as an independent
tribunal.  In accordance with [1]paragraphs 1.2 and 1.3 of the Code, the
Code does not apply to information held by courts, tribunals or inquiries,
but apply to non-judicial and other information of an administrative
nature which is held by, among others, secretariats and similar offices of
other tribunals and inquiries.  The existing legal rules governing
disclosure of information in the context of proceedings before courts,
tribunals and inquiries are not affected by the Code.  According to the
[2]Guidelines on Interpretation and Application of the Code, the said
paragraphs 1.2 and 1.3 apply to proceedings of any statutory body
(including the Board) with judicial or quasi-judicial functions or with a
power to determine the admissibility of evidence to be called before it or
the determination of a petition by the Chief Executive pursuant to section
20 of the Public Service (Administration) Order 1997 or Article 48(13) of
the Basic Law.

(b)        Currently, an appellant/a petitioner may, at any time during
the appeal/petition proceedings, make an application to adjourn a hearing
for various reasons, including but not limited to his/her ill-health.
 Each individual application will be considered by the Board on its merit.
 The applications may not be made in writing and routed through the
Secretariat, and may be made at the oral hearing.  Since the Secretariat
does not hold the requested information, we are unable to provide it to
you.
(c)        According to [3]paragraph 1.14 of the Code, departments are not
obliged to create a record which does not exist.

The case has been reviewed by a senior officer not previously involved in
handling your request.  As laid down in [4]paragraph 1.26 of the Code, in
case you are not satisfied with our reply, you may lodge a complaint to
The Ombudsman.

(Connie Wong)
for Secretary for Security

From:        SB-AIOREQ/SB/HKSARG
To:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>,
Date:        21/10/2019 16:07
Subject:        Re: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr Shaffer,

We received your request for internal review on 16.10.2019.

Your request is now under processing.  According to paragraph 1.25 and
1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, we will inform you of the
latest progress of the case separately on or before 5 November 2019.

In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 2284 if you have any enquiry.

Regards,
Connie Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Isaac Shaffer <[FOI #416 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        16/10/2019 10:49
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Security Bureau,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of the Security Bureau's
handling of my FOI request 'Torture Claims Appeal Board (Medical Issues)'.

Given the importance of these matters, and particularly given the express
criticism by the Courts as within the judgments of both Villarico
Loutherliz Talag v. Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 468; HCAL
179/2017,  and M v Torture Claims Appeal Board [2018] HKCFI 24, there is
evidently a compelling public interest in obtaining, maintaining and
sharing this data.  Given these repeated expressions of concern by the
Judiciary it would be highly regrettable if the SB were to indicate that
in effect it had no procedural or operational oversight of these matters,
such that it could not even provide the most basic data/information.

Many thanks in advance for your continued assistance.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[5]https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/torture...

Yours faithfully,

Isaac Shaffer

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #416 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[6]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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