ASYFAIR Conference: Call For Papers

Adjudicating Refugee Claims in Practice: Advocacy and Experience at Asylum Court Appeals


Immigration judges are tasked with the highly challenging job of deciding an asylum claim in an imperfect informational environment where evidence, expertise, testimonies and even the ability to reason intuitively about country of origin conditions and particular cases can be highly constrained. If this was not challenging enough, asylum appeal caseloads increased markedly across Europe in 2017 and 2018, putting strain on the capacities of Europe’s judiciary to deal with the challenges of adjudication effectively. The policy context is continuously evolving, the linguistic challenges are manifold, the political environment is often problematic, and the stakes are high in terms of the personal safety of refugees and the integrity of European countries’ claims to uphold their international obligations to people forced to migrate to find safety.

The conference will take place 30 June – 3 July 2021, and will be fully online (via Zoom).

Paper contributions are warmly invited to the virtual ASYFAIR Project Conference on the socio-legal aspects of asylum adjudication in Europe (and other nations in the Global North and South). We welcome papers on any aspect of the adjudication of asylum appeals, including from Law, Socio-Legal Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, or any other relevant field.

We particularly encourage participation by experts by experience (e.g. refugees, lawyers, interpreters, judges, activists, volunteers, etc.).

Papers could focus on a range of topics including (but not limited to):

  • Decision-making
  • Communication and Narrative
  • Discretion and Rule-following
  • Judgecraft and Training for Asylum Appeals
  • Legal and Court Procedures
  • The Spatio-Temporal Environment of the Hearing and Court
  • Legal Geography
  • Behaviour and Emotions at Court
  • Intersectionality
  • Access to Justice
  • Trauma, Violence and Vulnerability
  • Technology in Asylum Appeal Processes
  • Materiality and Justice
  • Evidence (including Country of Origin Information and Witness Statements)
  • Legal Representation and Advice
  • Language, Interpretation and Translation
  • Conducting Research at Court (especially Qualitative and Ethnographic Methods)

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, 3-4 keywords and a short biography (100 words) to ASYFAIR at no later than 26 February 2021.

We may consider submissions for panels, if the panel organisers provide abstracts and details of all presenters (3-4) in the proposed panel.

We may also consider pre-recorded presentations for the conference.

The event will be free to attend (i.e. no registration fee), and registration will begin in Spring 2021. Further information about the event on the Conference page.

Please do not hesitate to contact Nick Gill ( or Nicole Hoellerer (  for any further questions.

We welcome contributions by former and current asylum seekers who have experience with asylum appeals at courts in European countries. If you are a refugee who would like to participate in the conference and share your experiences, please email ASYFAIR at Further information on audio/visual participation for refugees in Spring 2021.