21 Sep 2017

Symposium "Assessing Credibility in Asylum Cases: A Legal Psychological Perspective"

Assessing credibility of an applicant’s oral statements, although key in most asylum cases, is complicated. In this symposium we seek to answer from a legal psychological perspective the question ‘How can we assess in the best possible way whether an asylum seeker is honest about who (s)he is, where (s)he comes from, and what happened to him/her in the country of origin’. 

The symposium will be kicked off with a practitioner’s perspective on the challenges associated with credibility assessments. Subsequently, renowned international scholars in the field of legal psychology will elaborate on what we know about effective interviewing and decision making practice in legal settings. The symposium will be concluded with an interactive panel discussion. 

We invite migration boards, asylum adjudicators, litigators, judges, NGO representatives, policy makers, scholars, and all others who are interested to attend the symposium to mark this date: 21 September 2017. Participation is free of charge. 

The symposium will be held in de Groote Sociëteit in Maastricht. The address is Vrijthof 36, 6211 LE Maastricht. You can reach the location by public transport or by car. You can park in the paid parking garage beneath the Vrijthof Square. 
By public transport you can either walk from Maastricht Central Station (about 20 minutes) or take the bus at Maastricht Central Station line number 3 direction Wolder or line number 7 direction Sint Pieter and get off at Vrijthof.

Preliminary programma

13.00 – 13.15: Entry & registration

13.15 – 13.30: Opening
Host dr. Robert Horselenberg will say a word of welcome on behalf of the organization and briefly introduce the topic of the symposium.

13.30 – 14.15: Practitioner’s Perspective
Pieter van Reenen from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will discuss the challenges encountered in everyday practice
of conducting credibility assessments.

14.15 – 14.45: Coffee / tea break

14.45 – 15.30: Scientific perspective: Investigative Interviewing
dr. Gavin Oxburgh from Newcastle University will dicuss best practice in the gathering of testimonial evidence for legal proceedings.

15.30 - 16.15: Scientific perspective: Evaluating evidence
prof. dr. Steve Penrod from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York will discuss how legal professionals can avoid bias and keep openminded during decision making processes.

16.15 - 16.45: Coffee / tea break

16.45 – 17.30: Applying science to practice
Tanja van Veldhuizen will present her research into credibility assessments in the European asylum procedure. Her talk will focus on the extent to which current (interviewing) practice is in line with best practice, and points out challenges and opportunities for future asylum assessments.

17.30 – 18.00: Panel discussion
Together with the speakers and the audience we will draw conclusions and further discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

18.00: Closing & Drinks

Contact details

For more information, please contact:

Tanja van Veldhuizen

dr. Robert Horselenberg