‘Fairness’ is subjective, and often in the eye of the beholder. But what about fairness during trials?
We would all like to think that wherever our case is heard in an independent court, the same procedures and standards of fairness will be applied. We would like to believe that the world outside of the court – such as politics, public discourses and the media – have no influence on court proceedings. But judges and legal practitioners are members of society, and research suggests that legal proceedings are influenced by what is happening outside of courts, and both court proceedings and the outcomes of legal cases may differ between courts. Perhaps these differences have little bearing on the case, and regardless of external influences, we experience a fair legal process.
However, for asylum seekers in Europe, court proceedings are highly problematic. Asylum seekers arriving in a country of sanctuary may not have a choice on where their case is heard and who represents them (and to what extend), and may have little knowledge of court proceedings. If factors related to the fair running of an asylum appeal differ between centres or EU countries this could be problematic, and even dangerous for asylum seekers.
This project is hosted by University of Exeter and has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. StG-2015_677917.