Improving objectivity, balance and forensic fitness in LAAP

a response to Matras

Authors

  • Jim Hoskin University of York
  • Tina Cambier-Langeveld IND
  • Paul Foulkes University of York

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.39208

Keywords:

laap, lado, bayes, forensic awareness, bias, hypothesis testing

Abstract

This paper is a response to Yaron Matras’s article ‘Duly verified? Language analysis in UK asylum applications of Syrian refugees’. Matras evaluates 50 reports by the Stockholm-based agency Verified AB. He introduces his own approach, which he calls ‘inductive-dialectological’, and claims that it addresses many of the problems in Verified’s approach. We respond on a number of fronts. We interpret the role and duty of the expert performing language analysis in the asylum procedure as essentially the same as that of a forensic expert in criminal law. We argue that Matras’s approach fails to adhere to principles of sound forensic evidence, thereby risking biased conclusions. Furthermore, we contend that Matras’s view on the question to be addressed is not in line with the trier of fact’s requirements. We also consider the need for a fixed conclusion scale, the institutional demands driving casework and the large number of disparate conclusions among experts. We conclude with some advice to asylum courts and LAAP practitioners.

Author Biographies

Jim Hoskin, University of York

Jim Hoskin is conducting PhD research at the University of York, in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, with the aim of devising valid and reliable supplementary tests for LAAP. His research is supported by a Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities. He was formerly (2016-17) an employee of Verified AB.

Tina Cambier-Langeveld, IND

Dr Tina Cambier-Langeveld is a forensic phonetician with broad experience in forensic casework (1999-present). She was trained to be a forensic expert at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). She is now the senior linguist in charge of language analysis in the asylum procedure for the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service. She also acts as expert and consultant for the speech & audio group at the NFI and she annually teaches a 14-week MA course on forensic speech science at Leiden University. She is honorary chair of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics (2011-present).

Paul Foulkes, University of York

Paul Foulkes is a Professor in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York. His interests are mainly in forensic speech science, sociophonetics and child language development. He has conducted casework in forensic speech science in the UK, Ghana, New Zealand and Sweden.

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Case:

R –v–Slade, Baxter, Pearman & Hudson [2015] EWCA Crim 71. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2015/71.html

Published

2020-03-02

How to Cite

Hoskin, J., Cambier-Langeveld, T., & Foulkes, P. (2020). Improving objectivity, balance and forensic fitness in LAAP: a response to Matras. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 26(2), 257–277. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.39208

Issue

Section

Commentaries/Responses

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