An ever-rising bar for medical evidence?
Medico-legal reports (MLRs) are forensic reports of the physical and psychological impact of torture. They are compiled by especially trained doctors following their examination of torture survivors.
MLRs are a vital clinical tool in the presentation and determination of asylum claims and other cases involving torture survivors, and are a cornerstone of Freedom from Torture's work.
This is because those who flee torture often leave with little evidence of what has happened to them – apart from the physical and psychological injuries that torture has caused.
CPD certification agreed in principle.
Our Proving Torture conference in autumn 2015 addressed new trends in the use of MLRs in the UK context and considered solutions to challenging issues that have arisen in the wider global context.
There was wide agreement among delegates and speakers at our conference that the bar for proving torture is rising in the UK; and that a gradual undermining of medical evidence in asylum decision-making is underway.
On this hub you will find a store of useful learning from the conference, including presentations by Dr Juliet Cohen, Head of Doctors at Freedom from Torture, Stephanie Harrison QC, Hon Justice McCloskey and Professor Juan E Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, among others. We have also included some links to key documents and articles.
- The Hon. Mr Justice McCloskey
- Stephanie Harrison QC
- Dr Pierre Duterte
- Helen Brady
- Professor Sir Nigel Rodley
- Dr Juliet Cohen View a video of Juliet's full presentation here >>
- Dr Jane Herlihy
- Mark Symes
- Debora Singer
Conference documents and useful related material, Session 4
- Professor Juan Méndez View a video Juan's full presentation here >>
- Dr Angela Burnett
- Beate Dasarathy
- Alasdair Mackenzie
- Sonal Ghelani
Professor Juan E Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture
Philip Nathan, Barrister, Landmark chambers
Arun Gananathan, Barrister, Birnberg Peirce
Dr Peter Green, Consultant Forensic Physician
Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chair, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
Debora Singer, Policy Manager, Asylum Aid
Alison Stanley, Joint Head of Immigration, Bindmans
The Istanbul Protocol is the set of UN-recognised guidelines for the production of medico-legal reports. Some guides to the Protocol which have been produced by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. You can also read our case law summaries illustrating the way decision-makers have treated medico-legal reports.
- Ros Akar-Grams, who heads up the Freedom from Torture legal team, writes about Proving Torture in the New law Journal http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/proving-torture
- Dr Juliet Cohen, Freedom from Torture’s Head of Doctors, writes for the BMA website on Proving Torture http://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/work/2015/october/doctors-evidence-in-assessing-torture-must-not-be-over-ridden
- Colin Yeo, immigration barrister at Garden Court Chambers reviews Proving Torture here https://www.freemovement.org.uk/freedom-from-torture-proving-torture-conference-papers/