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Asylum Best Practice

Speaker: Raphael Jesurum
Chambers: Lamb Building Temple

Raphael Jesurum
Lamb Building

This seminar will cover

Literacy and numeracy problems;
Psychiatric disorders (psychosis, depression, anxiety etc);
Low IQ/learning difficulties (and possible suggestibility or compliance).
The latest Asylum Policy Instruction on interview, “Asylum Interviews, version 7.0” (5 Jun 2019) provides that “Wherever possible you must make a digital recording of the substantive asylum interview” (pg 17).
Preparing for the Appeal
Read the refusal letter, and divide the points made into three broad categories:
Concessions (not frequent beyond identity and nationality, but anything further can provide a useful foundation);
Quibbles (alleged contradictions or minor discrepancies you can address in submissions);
Points of Dispute (these are matters which you will need to prove to succeed – and for each one, you should start to think about the available sources of evidence).
Witness Notes
Always keep contemporaneous notes of anything significant you are told by a witness. That evidence may be critical if you later need to rebut recent fabrication, or you need to secure a witness summons.
Good witness statements can make or break your case. They take time. They take care. Do not cut corners.
• You will need to establish trust. Explain confidentiality – in simple and clear language (“secret”, or “I don’t tell anyone unless you allow me to” is far better than “confidential”). Building trust takes time.
Witness Reluctance
Do not be afraid to ask difficult questions. Keep them factual and precise. Eg, if you suspect that your client was sexually assaulted, there may come a time, once you have established a relationship of trust, at which you will have to ask how, where and with what (and then explain how, where and with what in the statement).
Securing Attendance
Corroborating witnesses can be vital. If for example, your client told a family member in the UK about his or her problem before they fled, that is critical evidence.
Witness preparation (ie explanation of procedure, relevance and duties to the Court) is permitted: see R v Momodou [2005] EWCA Crim 177, [2005] 1 WLR 3442.