Prof. Nick Gill (with input by Dr. Nicole Hoellerer) has presented a paper at the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) workshop at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) in Berlin, Germany on 12 December 2019. The workshop titled “Recognising Refugees” was organised by the DeZIM-Fellow Prof. Cathryn Costello (University of Oxford) and Dr. J. Olaf Kleist (Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies [IMIS] & DeZIM), and brought together senior and early career researchers to discuss asylum determination.
Prof. Gill had the opportunity to present aspects of the ASYFAIR research in the panel Comparing Refugee Recognition – Methodological Challenges, convened and chaired by Prof. Costello.
On Consistency in Europe’s Asylum Appeals: Institutional and Everyday Differences in Asylum Appeals in Europe
This paper lays bare the extent of the institutional and everyday diversity of asylum appeal processes in Europe, drawing on ethnographic and interview based fieldwork in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the UK. Some countries consider appeals mostly on paper, others in-person. Some review the whole decision, others only points of contestation. Some countries hear over ten appeals in a two hour period, others can deal with only one per day. Some employ three judge panels, video-linked appeal hearings, recording clerks, dedicated and purpose-built hearing centres with backstage areas for the judges, and almost always have a government representative present at the hearings; others do not. Some allow the public into the hearing and some publish the decision; others do not. Some frequently allow adjournments whilst in other countries adjournments are extremely rare. Some employ digital paper handling systems, others do not. Some have single centralised courts while others have regional and local courts.
We call attention to this diversity as a way to illustrate the extent and importance of institutional and everyday variability in legal processes, even within an area of the world where individualised asylum determination processes are the norm. Inconsistency of outcomes and processes is a key challenge facing Europe’s asylum system, but our research illustrates that judicialisation alone is insufficient to guarantee meaningful convergence.
Keywords: asylum courts; asylum adjudication; legal ethnography; legal procedures