Immigration law differs from any other law, criminal or civil. It has its own rules. If, for example, you were brought to criminal justice, you would not be able to present hearsay evidence (you cannot bring something as a true statement if it is not yours), but in immigration cases you can. Let’s say, you don’t have any material evidence of belongings to a particular political group to present to an adjudicator at your refugee hearing. Can you still prove your case? Yes, you can. You would be allowed to show the tribunal letters from people who know you and the situation; you can also present photographs which are not directly connected to the fact you want to prove, a statement from friends or even people who were in similar circumstances. I recall one case when we successfully proved the case of a refugee claimant who did not have a direct documentary evidence to show that he firstly, was Jewish and secondly that he belonged to a group of business people who were targeted by corrupted elements. When preparing his case we asked him to bring all documents he had in his place and he brought a business card of a theater director who happened to hide our client from bandits. The adjudicator accepted the card as evidence after our client explained how two were connected. Our client also proved his Jewish nationality by showing a photograph of his relative’s grave in St. Petersburg. The name on the grave was illegible, but our client explained in details why he has the photograph in his possession and who was the relative. The adjudicator combined everything, the client’s straightforward testimony, the photograph and previous written history of his life. In legal world it is called a “totality of evidence”. In another case, we presented our client’s involvement in a political activity in Azerbaijan, and his paintings where he reflected struggle of people in a subtle metaphorical manner, as evidence. The adjudicator accepted the paintings as corroborative evidence to our client’s testimony. So, the inference is that you can bring anything you have to prove your case, but you should remember that the evidence and your story must create a plausible (believable) case.


What evidence to present in Immigration Cases

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