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Temporal pillars of fairness: reflections on the UK's asylum adjudication regime from an original refugee-centred position

Borland, Emma 2020. Temporal pillars of fairness: reflections on the UK's asylum adjudication regime from an original refugee-centred position. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The central question of this thesis is how we should think about fairness within the context of the United Kingdom’s asylum adjudication regime. Asylum and refugee law scholars frequently appeal to ‘fairness’ in critiques of asylum determination processes. However, few offer a sustained philosophical interpretation of juridical fairness in asylum procedures. By re-imagining Rawlsian fairness from an asylum-centred (rather than a state-centred) perspective, this thesis excavates four fairness ‘pillars’ from contemporary liberal legal theory. This fresh account conceives juridical fairness in liberal democracies as requiring the pillars of: (i) situated, conscious impartiality; (ii) respect for human rights; (iii) social cooperation and caring; and (iv) inclusive public reason. The study adopts a socio-legal approach to asylum law in the UK, directed by the theoretical investigation. Qualitative interviews with asylum-claimants reveal the empirical finding of time-related fairness. The participants’ expressions of (un)fair time(s) are examined in relation to the three main categories, which emerge from the findings, namely: doing time, unequal time, and severed time(s). The participants complain predominantly of delay in the asylum system, which creates a sense of unfairly doing time. The participants express how administrative-legal time controls, devalues and unfairly differentiates between their lived time(s), exposing the category of unequal time. The participants also communicate experiences of severed time(s). Administrative-legal time divides the participants from their lived time(s), namely, their memories, family time, work time, social time, and their futures. The investigation finds further empirical evidence of temporal (un)fairness within asylum jurisprudence. The thesis critiques the anomaly of the non-application of the (temporal) protections of Article 6 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to asylum decisions. The study also examines the administrative practice of using time restrictions to disadvantage asylum-claimants. The findings of temporal fairness in asylum law, policy and practice are important in view of the neglect of time and temporalities in contemporary liberal theories of fairness. This thesis applies the four pillars of fairness to explore the temporal dimensions of juridical fairness in the United Kingdom’s asylum adjudication regime. This approach illuminates opportunities for temporal resistance to the unfair treatment of asylum-claimants and calls for a turn to time and temporalities in philosophical accounts of fair and just asylum laws and practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Article 6 ECHR, adjudication, Asylum, asylum-centered, asylum law, asylum-seeker, asylum seekers, borders, determination, fairness, immigration, migration, original position, Rawls, refugee, refugee law, refugees, refugee-centred, rights, socio-legal, temporal, temporalities, time, UK, United Kingdom, veil of ignorance
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 June 2020
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2021 01:30

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