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Listen to the 5 March seminar by Professor Gregor Noll (Lund University), part of the Hilary term 2014 Public Seminar Series

Asylum applications by young persons may raise the question whether the applicant is a minor or not. Being a minor offers advantages in the asylum procedure, such as access to procedural benefits and safeguards, the exemption from removal to other EU Member States under the Dublin Regulation, and a much higher likelihood of being granted protection as an ‘unaccompanied minor’.

Host states are interested in limiting the group to which those advantages apply so as to minimise costs and to avoid what has been termed ‘pull effects’ on future asylum seekers. In cases where applicants arrive without documents, or hold documents deemed unreliable, there are no formal or historical sources that may alleviate or confirm this doubt. So decision takers speculate on what age the applicant’s biological or intellectual development might indicate. Frequently, they resort to medical age assessments in such situations.

In this seminar, Professor Noll pursues the question of how skeletal x-ray images are translated into medical and legal knowledge and what role aesthetic judgment plays in this translation. He focuses in particular on the interplay between law and medicine in this translation process.

About the speaker

Gregor Noll holds the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations Chair in Commemoration of Samuel Pufendorf at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden. His current research is on refugee and migration law, the theory of international law as well as international humanitarian law.

Currently, Gregor is pursuing two larger projects:  1) A Heideggerian Reading of the Concept of Jurisdiction in Human Rights Law; and  2) Targeting and Proportionality in IHL. His latest publication is an article titled 'Analogy at war: proportionality, equality and the law of targeting', published in the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 43: 205–230.

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