How to gather evidence

(for information only, individuals must seek legal advice for their own cases)

What is ‘evidence’, what is ‘proof’

‘Evidence’ will be used by your lawyer to argue that you have ‘proved’ your case.

Other evidence will be used by the Home Office lawyer to ‘prove’ you have not made your case.
Objective evidence:

This comes from:

  • Country position reports’ from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Country reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Solidarity Peace Trust and such Non-Governmental organisations
  • Bulletins from Foreign Ministries of Britain, USA, or other countries with asylum seekers
  • Newspaper reports

Personal evidence:

This may include:

  • Your own identity documents: birth certificates, passport, school/college certificates, party membership cards, marriage/baptism certificates, arrest warrants
  • Local, national or international media reports, which name you, or people you can show you know
  • Letters of membership of a known social/ethnic group, party, religion at risk of persecution. If it was sent from abroad KEEP ENVELOPES, with stamps, etc. (Faxes are mistrusted, because they can be easily falsified so get originals if at all possible)
  • Supporting Letters or documents from others, especially those in organisations at risk, who know you and can be checked out
  • Original documents of friends or family already granted refugee status in UK or elsewhere
  • Proof of activities that you have been involved in : meetings, political events and demonstrations, vigils (minutes, photos, flyers, news reports)
  • Proof of family relationships/partnerships : if you have been in a relationship for a long time you need to show that you have been together for some years ; if you have children with someone who has status in the Uk you need to prove this by providing evidence such as birth certificates, family photos, family household bills

Medical reports

If you have been tortured or suffered war effects, a report from a medical specialist is important in court.

In Britain organizations such as the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (‘MF’), and the Helen Bamber Foundation work in this area.

Their doctors are very skilled; trust them. You cannot ‘fake’ the effects of torture or rape … so don’t try, just answer their questions. Don’t be afraid to cry or remember fear and anger …

The MF is always overloaded with work, so your solicitor should ask for such a report at the earliest opportunity.

Nationality reports

If you travelled to the UK on a passport of a different nationality to which you are not entitled (South African passport, Malawi passport) it is VITAL that you prove your nationality.

This may be helped by getting your solicitor to get a nationality report done by a recognized expert.

It may be possible for your solicitor to get a letter from the South African or Malawian High Commission testifying that you are not a South African or a Malawian.

Your solicitor should request the return of any Zimbabwean ID documents (if you have submitted them to the UKBA) so they can be verified by an expert.

Expert reports

Expert reports can be obtained by your solicitor to comment on your case. An independent report may confirm your story about what happened to you back home.

They can also be used to clarify what the present situation is in the country (either politically or medically).