A Philippine domestic helper's landmark challenge to a policy denying her a chance to apply for right of abode was sidetracked yesterday after a judge referred her case to another body. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann said the Registration of Persons Tribunal should first resolve issues of fact and determine if Julita Raza really wanted to list Hong Kong as her home. The government had asked the court to rescind its earlier decision to give Ms Raza's case the go-ahead for a judicial review on the basis that she had not exhausted all other legal avenues. In granting the government's wish, Mr Justice Hartmann said in the Court of First Instance if the only issue was the constitutionality of the decision, he would have no problem hearing the matter. 'I am of the view that these factual issues can best be dealt with by the tribunal,' he said. But he added he was not denying Ms Raza the right to come back before him. Ms Raza was granted leave for a judicial review on September 26 last year after she filed a High Court writ seeking to quash a decision by the director of immigration to refuse her application for permanent residency despite the fact she has lived in Hong Kong for almost 12 years. The case could have far-reaching implications for thousands of foreign domestic helpers.