Asylum seekers whose initial claims for asylum are refused in the UK often have the chance to appeal against this initial refusal. But the way that the running of these appeals differs between courts and sometimes even within courts has rarely been examined.

About the project

We would all like to think that wherever our case is heard, the same proceedures and standards of fairness will be applied. But sometimes things differ between courts. Perhaps these differences have little bearing on the case. But if factors related to the fair running of an asylum appeal differ between courts this could be seen as probelmatic.

This study examines the process of appealing against initially negative asylum decisions in order to identify what factors differ between courts. In the first part of the research, which is survey, interview and observation based, we will examine what should be consistent between courts in order to ensure that every court delivers the same standards of fairness. In the second part of the research, which will run from the Autumn of 2013 until Spring 2014, we will be observing courts to see whether any of these important factors do actually differ between courts. And in the third part of the research, from 2014 onwards, we will be examining the way differences in courts have been experienced by different groups including applicants and legal professionals.

Various hearing centres in the UK will be visited by our researchers, who will do everything in their power to remain unobtrusive, undisruptive and respectful of the legal process and legal practitioners. Preliminary findings from the project will be made available in late 2014 but the project itself will run throughout 2014 and 2015 in order to carefully analyse and understand the observations, and a final report will be made available in 2016.