Freedom from Torture - "Proving" Torture

"Proving" Torture

An ever-rising bar for medical evidence?

Body of Evidence

Dr Juliet Cohen giving her presentation

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.

Proving Torture conference speakers and delegates giving their views

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

Useful documents and articles

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.

Media articles

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