The making of procedural (in)justice in migration law: socio-legal perspectives IMISCOE Annual Conference, Luxemburg (July 7-9)

Sophie Andreetta, FRS-FNRS/ULiège

Larissa Vetters, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

Zeynep Yanasmayan, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology


Procedural justice is a fundamental aspect of legal systems ensuring fair treatment of people in their interactions with state officials, including police and judges. While procedural (in)justice has been proven to impact the legitimacy of legal rules for the citizenry at large, research has shown that ethnic minority members are particularly at risk of unfair procedures.

This panel aimsto contribute to the debate on procedural justice and fairness by looking at the implementation of specific procedural safeguards that are fundamental to the rule of law in state-migrant interactions. We seek contributions that explore empirically how procedural safeguards in place against the arbitrary use of state power, are invoked, altered, discarded,andreinvented by differentstate actors (e.g. police, judges, alien offices, welfare services) in their interaction withmigrantsin different geographical areas. We are also interested in uncovering migrants’ sense of procedural justice in these interactions as well as their perception of legitimacy of the procedures and legal rules.

In the field of migration policy and law, we witness a number of developments that seem to run counter to larger trends. In Europe, new safeguards are protecting theright to privacy and personal data,yetmigrants’ movements are increasingly tracked through international databases and the use of biometric data. In many fields of public/administrative law,participatory rights of citizens are enhanced;in asylum and immigration law,the duty to cooperate is strengthened and increasingly tied to sanctions. Particularly in asylum and immigration law, time-limits for submittingclaims are shortened and possibilities for appeals restricted. At the same time, however, new concepts such as ‘vulnerable persons’ generate special procedures and safeguards.

Empirically studying these various,by no means unilinear developments and theoretically conceptualizing them will contribute to the socio-legalscholarship that critically accompanies and comments on current developments in migration policies and regimes.


Among the questions that can be addressed, are the following (but this is not an exclusive list):

How is informed consentregulated in asylum and immigration law, how is itinterpreted and enforced byvarious actors?

How is the duty to cooperate in administrative proceedings (re-) shaped through legislatives changes, everyday interactions and strategic considerations?

How do legally prescribed time-limits for the submission of claims or appealsshape the strategic choices of actors?

What effects do categorizations such as ‘vulnerable person’, ‘safe country of origin’ or ‘safe third country’ have for asylum procedures?

What role doburden-of-proof stipulations and the duty to investigate the factsplay in distributing the weight of providing evidence among the involved parties?

What are the symbolic effects ofhaving publicasylum adjudication hearings, on asylum seekers, judges, the general public?

The panel/workshop will therefore contribute to larger conceptual and theoretical questions focusing on migrants’ or on civil servants’ experiences, understandings of, and agency with regards to such legal concepts in order to reflect on the concrete effects of fundamental safeguards on migrants’ interactions with receiving states.


Papers (title, and abstract) should be submitted untilthe 25thof November to, and and will be considered in order to apply for a panel/workshop at the IMISCOE 2021 Annual conference in Luxemburg(7-9 July 2021).

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