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Article
Junk Science? Four Arguments against the Radiological Age Assessment of Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum
International Journal of Refugee Law (2016)
  • Gregor Noll
Abstract
Should radiological age assessment be considered as a means of alleviating the doubts of a decision maker in the asylum procedure? The present article addresses this question through a number of steps. First, it questions whether the use of radiological imaging methods in the age assessment of unaccompanied adolescents seeking asylum complies with the internal norms of the forensic science community. It does not. Secondly, the article considers whether the use of these methods is scientifically authoritative according to the current state of the art in forensic medicine and traumatology. It is not. Thirdly, the article asks whether their use sufficiently safeguards against a particular kind of communicative error between decision makers and experts. It does not. The article shows that properly understood advice from a medical expert who takes into account the scientific issues enumerated in this article can never dispel doubt about an applicant’s age. According to article 25(5) of the European Union (EU) recast Asylum Procedures Directive, this prevailing doubt will automatically trigger the assumption that the applicant is a child, which is the article’s fourth and final argument.
Keywords
  • unaccompanied minors,
  • age assessment,
  • asylum procedure,
  • radiological age assessment
Publication Date
2016
DOI
10.1093/ijrl/eew020
Citation Information
Gregor Noll. "Junk Science? Four Arguments against the Radiological Age Assessment of Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum" International Journal of Refugee Law Vol. 28 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 234 - 250
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gregor_noll/61/