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Creation, imagination, speculation: age assessment and the asylum procedure

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Duration: 0:54:17 | Added: 14 Mar 2014
Public Seminar Series, Hilary term 2014. Seminar by Professor Gregor Noll (Lund University) recorded on 5 March 2014 at the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford.

Asylum applications by young persons may raise the question whether the applicant is a minor or not. Being a minor offers advantages in the asylum procedure, such as access to procedural benefits and safeguards, the exemption from removal to other EU Member States under the Dublin Regulation, and a much higher likelihood of being granted protection as an ‘unaccompanied minor’. Host states are interested in limiting the group to which those advantages apply so as to minimise costs and to avoid what has been termed ‘pull effects’ on future asylum seekers. In cases where applicants arrive without documents, or hold documents deemed unreliable, there are no formal or historical sources that may alleviate or confirm this doubt. So decision takers speculate on what age the applicant’s biological or intellectual development might indicate. Frequently, they resort to medical age assessments in such situations.In this seminar, Professor Noll pursues the question of how skeletal x-ray images are translated into medical and legal knowledge and what role aesthetic judgment plays in this translation. He focuses in particular on the interplay between law and medicine in this translation process.

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