Episode 55 – Risk Salience and Unconscious Bias in Decision Making, with Hilary Evans Cameron

Hilary Evans Cameron is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson Law. Prior to become a faculty member, Hilary represented refugee claimants for a decade. She is the author of Refugee Law’s Fact-finding Crisis: Truth, Risk, and the Wrong Mistake. Her paper on risk salience in refugee decisions that we discuss can be found here. She is also the creator of www.meetgary.ca, a website which provides guidance to both decision makers and asylum claimants on the implicit biases and thought processes that can influence decision makers. She provides training to the Immigration and Refugee Board on this topic.

3:00 The two strong pulls in the law of how a decision maker should make a decision in a refugee hearing that impacts risk salience.

7:00 Can a decision maker ever be truly neutral?

11:00 Does the fact that the refugee process starts with a removal order “set things up” for strict scrutiny? Plus how politicians can influence error preference.

18:30 Refugee acceptance rates have increased recently. Is this a result of new decision makers or the same decision makers applying different maxims. Can someone’s risk salience approach change over time?

22:00 The non legal things that can influence decision makers.

26:30 Studies on accuracy in credibility and how risk salience follows.

30:00 Should decision makers make their biases explicit?

36:30 What is the fear that people have of refugee claimants?

43:01 The illusion of transparency. “The idea that truth will shine through.”

44:30 The myth that a memory is like a video recording.

46:00 The myth that a refugee claimant will never take unnecessary risks.

47:15 The myth of once a liar always a liar.

48:80 The maxim of the perfect applicant.

52:00 The maxim of “our expectations were clear.”

1:01 The inconsistency between standards in refugee law and trauma theory.

1:04 Hillary’s working with the IRB

1:15 Have any IRB members told Hillary that who the representative is can impact how they view the claim?

1:21 When should you admit a past lie?

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