Who Are You Afraid and Why? Inside the Black Box of Refugee Tribunals

Tomkinson, Sule


Refugee hearings perform an important function in migration management. They filter unwanted immigrants while offering possibilities for the protection of human rights for others. Building on insights from frontline decision‐making and migration studies, and from the standpoint of law and society, this article examines how Canada’s refugee adjudicators assess the facts of a refugee claim. The data come from ethnographic research that combines observation of hearings, interviews with implicated actors and archival research. Going beyond adjudicators’ individual‐level attitudes towards refugee claimants, the article finds that hearing room assessments are shaped by adjudicators’ divergent approaches to fact‐finding, their interdependent relationships with lawyers, and their training.

Tomkinson, S. (2018). “Who Are You Afraid and Why? Inside the Black Box of Refugee Tribunals”, Canadian Public Administration, vol. 61, no 2, p.184-204.

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