I A R L J

International Association of Refugee Law Judges


Publication IARLJ Guidance Paper and Chart

The paper includes:
- A pdfFlowchart using Established Judicial Criteria and Guidance 
- The pdfIARLJ International Judicial Guidance for Assessment of Credibility including the IARLJ Judicial Checklist for COI.

This paper, whilst directed to judges considering refugee and other protection cases, also aims to be instructive and relevant to all decision-makers, counsel and claimants in this unique field of law.
It provides guidance to judges hearing appeals from first-instance decisions made in claims for refugee and/or protection status at international law. The guidance is for judges determining both "full merits reviews" and error of law appeals or judicial review only. The paper can also provide assistance to government first-instance decision-makers, claimants, counsel, the UNHCR, academics and NGOs working with refugee/protection claimants.

The need for a structured, or step by step, approach to the decision making process (often referred to as refugee status determination, or 'RSD') first arose in the extensive preparation of the IARLJ's Credo paper Assessment of Credibility in Refugee and Subsidiary Protection Claims Under the EU Qualification Directive - Judicial Criteria and Standards (2013) as part of the EU sponsored "Credo Project". Much useful feedback on the IARLJ Credo paper has come from IARLJ members, engaged in the many teaching/professional development projects since undertaken and from other judges and UNHCR trainers, both within the EU and internationally. In particular, the practical usefulness of the Summary Chart and explanation, set out in the Credo paper, is noted with high approval.

The IARLJ was thus urged to prepare and publish an updated 'international' version of the "Structured Approach Chart" and to make it available through the many professional development workshops and training programmes which IARLJ members are asked to facilitate.
This paper and chart were then developed. We are much indebted to the many judges, UNHCR staff and first-instance decision-makers who have contributed so many helpful suggestions and improvements.

pdfTranslation in Russian is available now. IARLJ President Katelijne Declerck and the authors of the paper and chart are grateful for  the kind offer of Khalida Azhigulova from Leicester University to do this translation and thank her for the excellent work. 

Translations into Korean, Japanese and German are now being worked upon. Members who may have an interest in translating this into other languages are encouraged to contact the secretariat at to express interest

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