Borland, Emma

Emma Borland
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Keeping Out ‘The Other’: Restricting Access to Justice for Asylum Seekers: An Equality and Human Rights Perspective
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Luke Clements, Dr Bernadette Rainey
Supervising school:
School of Law and Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
Journal of Law & Society

Within the context of asylum law in the UK, there exists great tension between ‘the political imperative to maintain effective immigration control’ and the UK’s obligations (under international refugee law, human rights law, and the EU legal framework) towards those seeking protection. In light of these competing values, access to representation before a fair and independent adjudicator is crucial. Regrettably, cuts to legal aid and multi-layered procedural restrictions limit access to justice for asylum seekers and produce unfair results with potentially devastating consequences. I propose to unpick the rules, through empirical research and study, to reveal the moral corruption of a politically biased system that causes social exclusion and suffering. I further seek to find a solution to this inequitable situation by comparative study of the Scottish system (where legal aid is not restricted by the ‘merits’ of the claim); the French system (that follows an inquisitorial form of procedure); and the Canadian system (where asylum claims are arguably handled more effectively by independent magistrates).