DOHA Decisions and "harmful error"


#1

OK so I am a little bored and decided to go check out the 2016 results from DOHA regarding industrial security clearances.

I saw a few decisions that mentioned this:

Applicant did not raise an issue of harmful error.

What does this mean? Is this a simple procedural error? Hope these cases did not involve a lawyer.

Also, it seems like there were very few successful appeals compared to the last time I did this (NOT a scientific survey)


#2

You were probably reading decisions by the DOHA appeal board. DOHA appeals are limited to claims of factual or legal errors made by the Administrative Judge. Even if the appellate can show that the judge made an error, the appeal board will not reverse or remand the case unless the error was harmful to the appellant's case. In other words the decision of the hearing judge will be affirmed, unless there was an error that might have cause the judge to make a different decision.


#3

Yes, that is exactly right. One of these cases includes a summary that the applicant received an SOR and requested a hearing; as a result of the hearing the decision to deny a clearance was upheld. The applicant then filed an appeal. So these appeals are effectively the second and final shot at overturning the initial decision to deny the clearance.

So if you ever find yourself in this position, make sure that you not only show that there were 'factual or legal errors' in the decision but also that this led to 'harmful error.'