The benefit of the doubt in British asylum claims and international cricket

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter examines how ‘the benefit of the doubt’ is applied during asylum decision-making in the UK. Most asylum applicants cannot support their claims with the kinds of documentary proof or eye-witness testimony normally expected in legal proceedings. Consequently, much depends on the assessment by government officials or immigration judges as to the credibility of their narratives of persecution. A claimant whose story does appear credible should be given ‘the benefit of the doubt’ regarding those parts of their narrative that cannot be independently corroborated. In this sense, therefore, doubt and credibility represent opposite sides of the same coin. The dispelling or confirming of doubt is sought to be achieved through various interrogative techniques, whereby asylum applicants’ stories are elicited and their credibility tested against ‘objective evidence’ such as Country of Origin Information–and also, inevitably, against the questioners’ implicit or explicit assumptions about what constitutes rational behaviour. The process of awarding ‘the benefit of the doubt’ is familiar in other contexts too, such as the quasi-ritualistic practices of professional sport. The paper also examines the role of doubt in international cricket, particularly changes brought about by its recent adoption of new technologies. The aim is to distinguish between those aspects of ‘the benefit of the doubt’ that are generally applicable, and those specific to the asylum context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOf Doubt and Proof
Subtitle of host publicationRitual and Legal Practices of Judgment
EditorsDaniela Berti, Anthony Good, Gilles Tarabout
Place of PublicationFarnham
PublisherAshgate Publishing
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781472434531, 9781315598727
ISBN (Print)9781472434517
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2015

Publication series

NameJuris Diversitas


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