Women’s Asylum Appeals Project

Research by Asylum Aid is providing vital insight into how women’s appeals are dealt with in the UK asylum process, and how the system can be improved to ensure women are treated fairly.

The research, ‘Through Her Eyes: Enabling Women’s Best Evidence in UK Asylum Appeals’, is being undertaken jointly with NatCen Social Research.

Artwork by Eleonore Dambre

Nearly two thirds of initial asylum applications are refused each year by the Home Office.  Most people then take their case to appeal. This research explores how women asylum seekers navigate the appeals process, the extent to which current guidance is followed and what support is available to women as their case is heard at the First Tier Tribunal.

The researchers undertook in-depth qualitative interviews with women who have been through the appeals process as well as legal analysis of their case files. In addition, the research involved interviews with judges, legal representatives and support organisations.

Questions considered as part of the research were:

  • How do women asylum seekers experience the appeals process?
  • What are the range of ways the appeals process impacts on women asylum seekers?
  • What are the factors underpinning women’s asylum claims being successful on appeal?
  • Research discussion notesHow is the Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010 (Child, vulnerable adult and sensitive appellant guidance) being implemented in relation to women’s cases?


Asylum Aid held an event on 30th March 2017 at Garden Court Chambers presenting the emerging findings and recommendations of the research.  This provoked animated discussion and ideas which can be incorporated into the research. You can watch a film of the event below covering the emerging findings and recommendations below and also read notes from the expert panel and the broader discussion. The full report will be published later in the year.

This research follows on from Asylum Aid’s ground-breaking research on women’s initial asylum claims, Unsustainable: the quality of decision-making in women’s asylum claims published in 2011. The findings published in Unsustainable led to changes in how the Home Office trains its decision-makers and the dis-aggregation of data on appeals results by sex for the first time.

Watch now: Emerging findings and recommendations.

The research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, although the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of the Foundation.