This is CSEL's first paper in a legal journal that is examining wider issues of emotion and law (a special edition of the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly). We outline the relevant areas of law and then describe a study of the assumptions made about claimants' behaviour, intentions and ability to present themselves in the legal domain. We introduce the key issues of emotion in refugee law, setting them in the context of Maroney's 2006 taxonomy of the study of emotion and law. We outline a number of key studies on traumatic memory, disclosure and presenation, showing that science can contribute a 'breadth of evidence' to this area of law. We then consider what the psychological literature has to offer with regard to the difficult role of the decision maker.