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Silence and Voice in Oral Hearings: Spatial, Temporal, and Relational Conditions for Communication in Asylum and Compulsory Care Hearings  

Published onAug 21, 2022
Silence and Voice in Oral Hearings: Spatial, Temporal, and Relational Conditions for Communication in Asylum and Compulsory Care Hearings  
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Silence and Voice in Oral Hearings: Spatial, Temporal, and Relational Conditions for Communication in Asylum and Compulsory Care Hearings
Description

The legal right to be heard by a judge is an important human right. However, what happens if a claimant does not meet the requirements of legal communication when given the opportunity to be heard in court? In this article, I address this question by exploring how temporal, spatial, and relational conditions encourage or silence vulnerable claimants’ voices in asylum hearings and compulsory psychiatric care hearings in Swedish administrative courts. In addition, I analyze the multiple functions orality has when judges make decisions in these case types. The results provide nuance to claims in previous studies about the importance of enough time, spaces that signal solemnity, and flexibility in judges’ approaches to vulnerable claimants’ voices by demonstrating how these conditions interact with each other and generate different communicative atmospheres. Moreover, this study challenges the idea that oral hearings are necessarily beneficial for claimants as it demonstrates that under certain conditions orality can place claimants at a disadvantage and amplify their defenselessness. However, orality brings legitimacy to court proceedings even in these cases as it communicates justice to the public evaluating these procedures from a distance.

 

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