Country of Origin Expert Evidence For Immigration And Asylum

At Expert Court Reports, we can provide country evidence reports for Solicitors, Courts, and Tribunals.

We work with specialist country of origin experts who have achieved years of knowledge about a particular country (or countries) and can therefore write persuasive reports for asylum seekers that can withstand robust investigation and cross-examination by the Home Office.

Our team apply the facts related to a particular country to produce a report that you can rely on.  We also understand the need for a quick turnaround regarding any expert report.  Our clients trust that they can instruct us to act as an independent expert witness or create a specialist country of origin report swiftly and with minimum input.

All of our country of origin experts are vetted to ensure they have the level of expertise we require and will demonstrate the utmost integrity and confidentiality in their work practices.

Expert Evidence For Immigration

What is an expert country of origin report?

Country of origin experts are sometimes required by Solicitors and Barristers who are bringing immigration or asylum claims before the Tribunal or Court.  They provide reports on mainly two broad issues:

a) are the factual claims made by an appellant or witness consistent with the context from which they arise?

b) What are the consequences of a fact or facts (e.g. given the appellant’s particular circumstances, is he or she at real risk of being persecuted?).

The expert witness does not act for the asylum seeker.  Instead, their role is to give objective and independent evidence to the Tribunal or Court.

When is an expert country report required?

Most country of origin expert reports are produced at the appeal stage, where the migrant’s application for asylum has been refused by the Home Office.  An expert report will not be the only evidence considered by the Judge.  However, expert reports are highly persuasive and if the Judge chooses to decide contrary to the findings presented, they must provide their reasons for doing so.

What are the duties of an expert witness?

The Civil Procedure Rules Part 35 sets out how experts should be instructed and produce their reports.

In MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) Somalia CG [2014] UKUT 00442 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal provided direction to immigration lawyers on the information they should give to experts and how they should provide that information.  The Tribunal quoted Justice Cresswell in National Justice CIA Naviera SA v Prudential Assurance Company Limited [1993] 2 Lloyds Reports 68, who stated, at pp 81 – 82:

The duties and responsibilities of expert witnesses in civil cases include the following:

  1. Expert evidence presented to the court should be, and should be seen to be, the independent product of the expert uninfluenced as to form or content by the exigencies of litigation ….
  2. An expert witness should provide independent assistance to the Court by way of objective unbiased opinion in relation to matters within his expertise ….
  3. An expert witness in the High Court should never assume the role of an advocate …
  4. An expert witness should state the facts or assumption upon which his opinion is based.  He should not omit to consider material facts which could detract from his concluded opinion. ….
  5. An expert witness should make it clear when a particular question or issue falls outside his expertise.
  6. If an expert’s opinion is not properly researched because he considers that insufficient data is available, then this must be stated with an indication that the opinion is no more than a provisional one.  In cases where an expert witness who has prepared a report could not assert that the report contained the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth without some qualification, that qualification should be stated in the report ….
  7. If, after exchange of reports, an expert witness changes his view on a material matter having read the other side’s expert’s report, or for any other reason, such change of view should be communicated (through legal representatives) to the other side without delay and when appropriate to the Court.”

The Upper Tribunal went on to add:

“…this Tribunal will always pay close attention to the expert’s research; the availability of empirical data or other information bearing on the expert’s views; the quality and reliability of such material; whether the expert has taken such material into account; the expert’s willingness to modify or withdraw certain views or conclusions where other evidence, or expert opinion, suggests that this is appropriate; and the attitude of the expert, which will include his willingness to engage with the Tribunal.  This is not designed to be an exhaustive list. “

As illustrated above, the Courts hold the creators of expert reports to an exceptionally high standard.  Immigration lawyers must provide country experts with clear instructions on the matters they need to address. 

The Practice Direction of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber states that expert reports must also set out:

  • the expert’s qualifications
  • details of the material and literature relied on upon the preparation of the report
  • all facts and instructions provided to the expert which were relevant to the creation of the report
  • clearly show which parts of the report were derived from the expert’s personal knowledge
  • say who carried out any examination, measurement, or other procedure which the expert used in the report, give the qualifications of that person, and state whether the procedures were supervised by the expert

The above list is not exhaustive.

As most cases involving asylum seekers are funded by legal aid, the costs of a country expert report will be detailed before any work is undertaken. And if required, the country expert witness will attend the hearing (either in person or by video link) to provide evidence and answer questions as necessary to assist the Tribunal. 

Speak to our experts

Expert Court Reports provides expert witnesses and medicolegal court reports for solicitors, barristers and other agencies including the police, probation services, prisons and third-sector organisations as well as private clients. 

To arrange a country of origin expert report or to enquire about joining us, please call us on 01865 587865, email office@expertcr.wpengine.com, or request a call by completing our online form.

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