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WEB 1011 Psychological factors in credibility assessments of asylum seekers

Event | Training
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"We will show you how to use your knowledge and understanding of the processes, together with appropriate research materials to challenge negative credibility findings for your clients."

This course will present and discuss various psychological reasons why some asylum seekers have particular difficulties in presenting their case.  We will present the latest research findings that help elucidate some of the psychological processes at work.  We will encourage discussion of the ways in which these findings can help legal representatives to better inform and support clients going through the asylum system.  Finally we will consider some of the effects that working with traumatised clients can have on us, both professionally and personally.

Participants will have a clear understanding of some of the psychological factors involved in asylum seekers’ presentations of accounts of traumatic experiences, both at interview and in Court.   A better understanding of these issues should equip lawyers to recognise and explain the difficulties that their clients may be having, helping to persuade decision makers and reduce credibility issues.   It may also help lawyers understand difficulties they might have in their own interviewing of traumatised claimants.
Topics to be covered:

  • Traumatic memory and the effects on presenting cases
  • Discrepancies in repeated interviews and possible psychological explanations for these.
  • Difficulties in disclosing traumatic experiences, particularly sexual violence.
  • Research findings related to decision making in asylum appeal courts.
  • Self care


19th November 2020
10:00 am - 1:15 pm
Event Tags:
Tutor details:
Rachel Francis, 1 Pump Court Chambers and founder of Claiming Space and Zoe Given-Wilson, Centre for the Study of Emotion & Law
Tutor biographies:
Rachel is a specialist family and immigration law barrister with particular expertise in the overlap between these two practice areas. She has a broad family law caseload covering complex private law children matters, cases involving serious domestic abuse, care, adoption and family finance. In immigration law she represents and advises clients in modern slavery and human trafficking, asylum and human rights cases.

Rachel has a particular aptitude in working with clients of exceptional vulnerability and is committed to legal aid work. In 2019 Rachel was awarded the LAPG Special Award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards. This is only the third time that the LAPG has made this award, which recognises exceptional commitment to access to justice.

Rachel regularly delivers training on the intersection between family and immigration law, alongside specific training on modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Rachel is the co-founder of Claiming Space, a social enterprise that has grown from peer support groups to offering innovative training for lawyers working with vulnerable populations, based on experience, academic study and research.

Zoe Given-Wilson is the child researcher for The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL RHUL) and is investigating psychological and developmental issues pertinent to decision making in young people's refugee status claims. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams to develop UNCHR training manuals, deliver training across the United Kingdom and Europe. She has also contributed to reports on the asylum system in the United States. She is a clinical psychologist and has both research and clinical experience working with children from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
Alongside her CSEL post she works with unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and looked after children providing therapy and systemic interventions. Zoe's research includes projects investigating interrogative suggestibility, minors experience of the asylum appeal process, and developmental psychopathology such as attachment difficulties and non-suicidal self-injury.


Concessionary Training Prices: £50
Member Training Prices: £100
Non Member Training Prices: £180
CPD Hours:
Spaces Left:
Solicitors, barristers and caseworkers who prepare or who are involved in applications for refugee status
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