Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This study investigates the communication process in the asylum hearing. The asylum hearing is the only opportunity asylum seekers have to explain their reasons for applying for asylum. On the basis of this hearing, the Ministry of Justice decides if the asylum seeker is granted the status of refugee in the Netherlands. In the hearing, communication takes place between people with different languages and with different cultural backgrounds. This study investigates whether problems do occur during the asylum hearing and, if so, of what nature they are. The method we used in this study is bipartite. First, we analysed hearing reports in which the whole interview is written down. Second, we interviewed all participants in the hearing: the asylum seeker, the interpreter, the representative of justice, and the legal aid worker (who is involved but not active in the asylum hearing). The results show that communication problems do indeed occur during the asylum hearing. The problems are mostly caused by misinterpretation due to the different cultural backgrounds of the participants. Problems due to the different language backgrounds also occur, but mainly when the interpreter and the asylum seeker have different mother tongues.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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