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Through her eyes

Enabling women’s best evidence in UK asylum appeals

Scales of justice
Published: November 2017

New research shows a fair system for women escaping violence is ‘within reach’.

About 

This research looks at the experiences of women who have had their initial application for protection refused, and have appealed that decision. 

A key finding is that women seeking protection from violence are being disadvantaged by the UK asylum system but the system can be made fairer.

Download the full report, Through Her Eyes: Enabling women’s best evidence in UK asylum appeals.

Key recommendations 

  • guidance for judges should be reviewed: the Guidance Note by the President of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber should be reviewed and information on gender-based persecution made available to judges.
  • good practice by judges should be supported: the current good practice and supportive culture that exists in sections of the judiciary should be built on.
  • the Tribunal Service should improve conditions for women: there should be practical adjustments by the Tribunal Service in order to improve the experience of appeals for women appellants.
  • information should be provided for appellants: The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary should create an easily accessible guide so that appellants know what to expect at the tribunal.
  • legal representatives should be trained to use good practice approaches: training should include obtaining all possible evidence to support the initial claim, to enhance the quality of legal representation for women asylum appellants.
  • only skilled interpreters should be engaged: Legal representatives and the Tribunal Service should only engage interpreters who have the linguistic ability and sensitivity to interpret gender issues in the correct language and dialect.
  • Home Office Presenting Officers (HOPOs) should receive relevant training and their practice should be audited.
  • legal aid provision should be reviewed: The Legal Aid Agency should review its funding of the provision of appropriate services including early expert reports.

Methods 

The study involved interviews with women and a range of stakeholders, including support organisations, legal representatives and First-tier Tribunal judges. In addition, a range of case files were analysed.

The study was conducted in patnership with the Migrants Resource Centre and Asylum Aid. It was funded by Nuffield Foundation.