It isn’t rare for a client, who just before attending a hearing at Court or at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, to pull a sickie.
When this occurs, the suitable action is for the client to provide a medical certificate to explain their absence.
The certificate provided must be in the proper form and explains why they were unable to attend.
The case of Singh v Minister for Home Affairs  FCA 723 is useful and outlines the requirements of a proper certificate.
Singh v Minister for Home Affairs  FCA 723
Mr Singh is a citizen of India, who applied for a partner visa which was denied in February 2015. The café officer denied the application because the Department was not satisfied that his sponsor, Ms Jennifer Bamford was in a ‘genuine and continuing’ relationship with the applicant.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’) hearing dates:
- Mr Singh made an application to review the case officer’s decision in March 2015;
- First hearing date set for 7 March 2016, Mr Singh was in India at the time therefore hearing was rescheduled;
- Second hearing date was 21 March 2016, Mr Singh failed to appear before the AAT. Hearing was dismissed.
- On 01 August 2018, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia dismissed the proceeding;
- Mr Singh filed an Application for an extension of time on 26 September 2018, the application was refused.
The AAT dismissed the application in March 2016 with the following reasoning;
- The medical certificate provided by Mr Singh was inadequate in explaining the non-appearance. The certificate stated that Mr Singh was unfit for work/study but made no mention that he would be unfit to appear before the Tribunal;
- The Tribunal made note that Mr Singh did not contact the Tribunal the day of the hearing, or for 10 days after the scheduled hearing date. He could have easily phoned or emailed the Tribunal to make them aware that he would not be attending his hearing;
- The Tribunal concluded that Mr Singh did not provide adequate evidence to explain his absence.
It was said that the Tribunal’s decision heavily relied upon the medical certificate provided by Mr Singh. The Tribunal followed the same approach as other cases in the Federal Court of Australia, in saying the certificate was inadequate at explaining Mr Singh’s absence. The proceeding was dismissed and Mr Singh was ordered to pay legal costs.
What does this mean for you?
If you can’t appear at your hearing, a basic medical certificate will not be considered enough to explain an absence. The certificate should include something to the effect that ‘you are not well enough to attend the hearing’ with a brief explanation as to why. More information is better than not enough.
If you require further information, please contact the friendly team at Results Migration. Call us on 1800 808 717 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and book your free consultation today!