What is a country of origin expert witness?
A country of origin expert witness provides specialised knowledge and expertise related to the political, social, economic, and cultural conditions of a particular country. Country of origin expert witnesses are commonly instructed in asylum proceedings to help tribunal make informed decisions about the credibility of an individual’s claim for protection based on their country of origin. The expert’s role is to provide impartial and objective information about the conditions in the relevant country to assist the court in making a fair and just decision.
How does someone become a country of origin expert witness?
The expertise of a country of origin expert witness may be demonstrated in a number of ways. Some country of origin experts are specialists in their area because of research activity and academic posts relevant to their area or region. Other experts may demonstrate their expertise by their work in political science, international relations, anthropology, or law. Having experience of working in the country or region, e.g., through international development work, human rights advocacy, or journalism, may also be relevant.
How to find the right country of origin expert witness
Finding the right country of origin expert can be difficult because country of origin expert witnesses are not always listed together. Here are some steps that can help in the search:
- If you are the applicant in asylum proceedings, ask your solicitor. A solicitor who specialises in asylum or immigration cases may be able to provide a list of qualified country of origin expert witnesses.
- If you are a solicitor in asylum proceedings, reach out to colleagues who have experience working with country of origin expert witnesses to ask for recommendations.
- If you have a list of potential candidates, consider the experience and knowledge they have to the relevant country or region before making your decision. This may include reviewing their affiliations, publications, and their history of providing expert evidence. You should also consider potential conflicts of interest. It is important to ensure that the expert does not have any conflicts of interest which could compromise their impartiality.
Examples of instructions received by country of origin experts
- Risk of honour killing if returned to home country
- Availability of protection by the state
- Ability to relocate to other parts of a country to escape family, in a context where some of the individual’s family members work for public bodies such as the police and the judiciary
- Whether there are any risks associated with being returned after having claimed asylum abroa
- Commenting on the risks of returning on the basis of identifying as LGBTQ+
- Authenticate documents
- The level of care facilities available in the relevant country i.e., care /nursing home, home care, hours, routine etc, and the costs of such facilities.
- The general culture of a country, e.g., Pakistan
- The role of men and women within a specific culture
- The hierarchy within the family unit within a specific culture, and how hierarchy is observed.
- The concept of ‘honour’ within a specific culture
- How same-sex relationships are viewed within a specific culture
- The meaning of ‘blood feuds’ and how these manifests in a specific culture
What experts does Expert Court Reports have?
We have a growing number of experienced and well-respected country of origin expert witnesses on our panel. Our experts cover a range of countries and regions. Our experts include:
- Dr Alex Ntung who specialises in the Great Lakes region of Africa
- Dr Hasan Hafidh who specialises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region
- Dr Jawad Zadeh who specialises in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Dr Kaveh Gobadi who specialises in the Middle East
- Mr Dalton Price who specialises in Colombia and Venezuela
- Mr Omer Ahmed who specialises in Africa including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Yemen
- Mr Vebi Kosumi who specialises in the Western Balkans, specialising on Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Presheva Valley (Serbia)
- Mr Waheed Ahmad who specialises in Pakistan
- Mrs Atkinson-Flowers who specialises in Jamaica and US Immigration Law
- Ms Nazifa Haqpal who specialises in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Why use Expert Court Reports?
A country of origin expert witness should come with demonstrable expertise in the relevant country or region as well as experience of acting as an expert witness. Look for someone who has established expert witness experience. Our country of origin expert witnesses, have impressive experience and CVs, and our case management team is here to help you select the right expert. Equally, if we do not have the right expert for you, we will never encourage you to take an expert without the relevant experience.
How quickly can you provide a report?
At Expert Court Reports Ltd, we understand the pressures of the legal profession. We recognise that proceedings are subject to defined timescales and for this reason, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we are able to be. However, we pride ourselves on not promising work that cannot be reliably delivered within a given timescale. The quality of the evidence which is provided by our experts is subject to review and scrutiny. All expert reports are subject to a detailed and robust proofreading process to ensure that our expert evidence is accurate and expertly formatted.