The expert assessment is an opinion issued by a specialist on an issue in respect of which the Agency for Refugees does not hold the necessary expertise.
An expert age assessment is appointed by the interviewer during the interview when the applicant claims to be an unaccompanied minor aged under 18, but the interviewer doubts this claim. In Bulgaria the expert assessment of a person’s age is done by means of an X-ray of the wrist.
An expert psychiatric assessment is appointed by the interviewer during the interview in the event of reasonable doubts as to the applicant’s mental health or intellectual capacity and his/her ability to take care of his/her affairs. If the expert assessment confirms these doubts, the Agency for Refugees may request that the court orders guardianship for the applicant. This means that the applicant’s signature becomes invalid unless it is laid down by a guardian specially appointed to take care of the applicant’s legal matters. In such cases, an interview might not be conducted with the applicant if his/her mental disease prevents him/her from making oral or written statements.
Court expert assessments are used by the court to clarify various circumstances in the course of examining an appeal against a decision refusing a status. The applicant who has lodged an appeal against the refusal, has the right to request that the court appoints an expert assessment by means of which he/she could clarify and prove a statement made by him/her which the Agency for Refugees has rejected as false. By way of principle, a judicial fee due for the expert assessment is paid into the court’s bank account; however, this fee will not be paid by the applicant appealing against the refusal, if he/she does not have financial resources to meet his/her basic needs. For more information about court procedures, see “Appeals before the court”.