These variations in outcomes may be explained to some degree by the way in which cases are allocated at the AAT. Cases are not allocated randomly, and as such, certain members may be assigned cases with characteristics that have higher or lower chances of success, such as cases from particular countries of origin, or particular claim types within those countries.
Controlling for the country of origin of the applicant and the level of experience of the tribunal member (calculated as the number of years since they were first appointed), the member allocated to a case still has a statistically significant effect on the outcome of that case (χ^2 (38)=674, p<0.0001).
Further, of the 39 tribunal members who decided cases in over 1% of the dataset (over 260 cases), almost half (46%, being 18 tribunal members) made decisions that were significantly inconsistent with those of the average tribunal member, when deciding similar cases. Controlling for the country of origin of the applicant, whether they had legal representation, the level of experience of the member, whether they had legal training, their gender, and the political party appointing the member, an applicant’s chance of success could range from five times more than that of applicants who had their case decided by the mean tribunal member, to 98% lower than the mean, depending on the tribunal member deciding their case.
An applicant’s chance of success also varied depending on their country of origin (for countries with more than 50 applicants). Applicants from Tonga, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Nepal were the least successful, being rejected in over 95 per cent of their cases. Meanwhile, applicants from Libya, Afghanistan and Ethiopia, and stateless applicants, had the highest rates of success, being granted a visa in over 60 per cent of their cases.