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ASYFAIR Germany dataset: asylum adjudication in Germany (2018/19)

Cite this dataset

Hoellerer, Nicole; Gill, Nick (2021). ASYFAIR Germany dataset: asylum adjudication in Germany (2018/19) [Dataset]. Dryad.


The Project: ASYFAIR is a multi-disciplinary research project, employing a combination of methodologies to produce rich data sets on legal asylum procedures. The purpose of the study is to examine legal aspects of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which was reformed by the European Union in 2013 and that seeks to implement a set of standardise procedures of asylum determination. The ASYFAIR project offers the opportunity to assess progress towards harmonisation of asylum determination processes in Europe, and provides new conceptual frameworks with which to approach the dilemmas and risks of inconsistency in an area of law fraught with political controversy and uncertainty.

The ASYFAIR project examines legal appeal procedures at court determining asylum in Europe, and has collected first-hand qualitative and quantitative data at asylum courts in the UK, Germany, France, Austria and Belgium, as well as interview data in Italy and Greece. The project is at the interface between critical human geography, anthropology, border studies and law. Conceptually, ASYFAIR data connects to work on legal consistency, legal pluralism, the universalism and omnipresence of law, legal speeds, barriers to access to justice, the effects of waiting and delay in asylum claim determination, judicial worldviews and biases, the relative impotence of information in the face of legal reasoning, responsibility offloading from first instance to appeal procedures, the usefulness of judicial panels, and the frequency with which narratives are interpreted in court discourse.

The unique feature of the ASYFAIR project is that relatively little academic work has examined how asylum court hearings are conducted in practice. Aggregate data on outcomes (verdicts by judges) and general asylum data is available publicly or on request from courts, but there has been little scrutiny of the actual events during court hearings, obscuring procedural justice and inconsistency. ASYFAIR examines what happens during asylum appeal hearings, and explores how legal processes may vary according to factors such as the court location, the scheduling of hearings, legal and governmental representation in hearings, as well as factors such as gender, age and attire of individuals, the country of origin, native language and religion of asylum appellants, and certain demeanours of participants, and their (assumed) preparation for hearings. The quantitative data on Germany that this websites makes available offers a unique insight into legal procedures in asylum determination by presenting what is happening during asylum court hearings.


Methodology: ASYFAIR uses a variety of research methods. The primary data-collection is based on multi-sited, ethnographic observations of public asylum court hearings, as well as interviews. The data made available (ASYFAIR Germany Quantitative Data Set) is based on a quantitative survey conducted in conjuncture with ethnographic court observations at German courts from 2018-2019. The survey tool (ASYFAIR Germany Pro Forma) was composed by ASYFAIR researchers following a pilot study at courts in early 2018, and builds on the previous work in the UK by the ASYFAIR’s PI Dr. Nick Gill. The Pro Forma was completed by the researcher responsible for conducting ethnographic observations in Germany. The original .pdf file was editable, and completed electronically by the researcher, and the data from this survey tool was exported as a .xlxs file, and compiled in one .xlxs file, which was later analysed with the quantitative data mining software SPSS.

The data set is likely to be of interest both to academic communities like geographers, legal and border scholars, and anthropologists, as well as to policy makers and activists working in refugee status determination.

Usage notes

ASYFAIR: Fair and consistent asylum adjudication? A critical, multi-methodological and interdisciplinary study of asylum court hearings in Europe

Principle Investigator (PI): Dr. Nick Gill, University of Exeter (UK),

Lead Researcher: Dr. Nicole Hoellerer, University of Exeter (UK), 

The ASYFAIR project is hosted by the University of Exeter (UK) and has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. StG-2015_677917. 

ASYFAIR website:

The Data Set and Notes: The data made available (ASYFAIR Germany Quantitative Data Set) contains quantitative data from the ASYFAIR survey, based on 270 court observations at German administrative courts from 2018-2019. Sensitive, case-specific and ethnographic information whose disclosure could pose the risk of being identified (such as the names of participants and case file numbers), or pose a real risk of harm to individual asylum appellants (such as details about the asylum claim, mental and/or physical health), as well as free-text fields describing details for various sections of the survey, have been removed from the data set to preserve anonymity. In some instances, data has been edited for simplification. In a few instances, ASYFAIR researchers added variables (columns) to the survey data set after data collection for ease of data analysis (for example, variables of the presence of participants).

The notes on the data set (ASYFAIR Germany Quantitative Data Set Notes) outlines descriptions of each of the 1,334 variables (columns) in the data set. The notes also indicate where data has been removed (R), edited (E) or added (A).

We also provide a list of the acronyms used in the data set (ASYFAIR Germany Quantitative Data Set Acronyms).

The Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf) ASYFAIR Germany Pro Forma shows the original ASYFAIR survey tool.

The read-me file (ASYFAIR Germany Data Set READ ME) provides some notes that may assist with reading the data and using the data set.

Usage of Data: Individuals who use the ASYFAIR data set, are requested to cite the data set (e.g. DOI) made available here.

Contact: For queries, please contact the ASYFAIR team at, or see the project website


European Research Council, Award: STG-2015_677917