Jan Shaw and Mike Kaye
A Question of Credibility

A finding that runs through almost all of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s Quality Improvement (QI) reports is that case owners take an incorrect approach to assessing an asylum seeker’s credibility and establishing the facts. 

QI reports found that, amongst other deficiencies, there was a failure to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt when their account appeared credible, speculative argument was frequently used, a single untrue statement was relied on to dismiss the credibility of the entire claim, and there was a failure to follow UK case law.

This report highlights similar concerns to those outlined by UNHCR. In the vast majority of cases examined for this research, the refusal letter breached the credibility guidance as set out by the Home Office’s UK Border Agency (UKBA). Getting the decision wrong in the first instance causes a great deal of anxiety for the asylum seeker concerned and prolongs the period in which they are left in limbo. More accurate initial decisions would speed up the asylum process, resulting in significant savings for the Government through reduced administrative and support costs.