Refugee Credibility

A series of projects by Hilary Evans Cameron.

Which Assumptions Underlie Adjudicators’ Conclusions that Refugee Claimants are Lying? A Canadian case study SSHRC 2021-24


Artificial Intelligence for a Reduction of False Denials in Refugee Claims

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) improve our ability to make uncertainty visible. Deciding refugee claims is a paradigm case of an inherently uncertain judgment and prediction exercise. Yet refugee status decision-makers may underestimate the uncertainty inherent in their decisions. By making clear to decision-makers how uncertain their predictions are, AI and related statistical tools could help to reduce their confidence in their conclusions. If international refugee law was to recognize an obligation under the UN Convention to resolve decision-making doubt in the claimant’s favour and use abductive inference, as Evans Cameron has advocated, then by making uncertainty visible, AI could help reduce the number of wrong denied claims.

Experimenting with Credibility in Refugee Adjudication: Gaydar

Canada offers refugee protection to sexual minorities facing persecution abroad. Hundreds of such claims are turned down each year by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The most common reason for denying these claims is that assertions about the claimants’ sexual orientations are determined not to be credible. How are credibility determinations made? Through online survey software, HIlary has used simulation to explore sexual minority refugee claim credibility assessments. The simulation focuses on whether a claimant’s appearance affects the simulated adjudicator’s determinations about credibility.

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Hilary Evans Cameron

Hilary Evans Cameron

Assistant Professor

Hilary Evans Cameron is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law at TMU. Prior to joining the faculty, she represented refugee claimants for over a decade and draws on her first-hand experience in clinical practice for law reform. A major focus of her work has been the process of judging a refugee claimant’s credibility. Her research brings insights from the social sciences, particularly cognitive psychology, to bear on this central aspect of refugee status decision-making. She collaborates with psychologists, data scientists, and lawyers within TMU and at other academic institutions.