Summary: The Goldilocks principle applies to evidence and disclosure in the context of refugee proceedings, where there needs to be a balance of the "just right" amount of evidence to support a claim. The claimant is obligated to corroborate their claim and benefits from a high threshold for adverse plausibility findings, but must provide evidence that is reasonably available. Too little evidence may result in insufficiency of evidence, while too much evidence may raise questions about its provenance. The principle values quality over quantity and finding the balance between too weak and too strong evidence. Determining the "just right" amount of evidence depends on the claimant profile and country in question.
The Goldilocks principle refers to the idea that certain conditions must be just right in order for something to be successful or optimal. The reference to "Goldilocks" comes from the children's story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," in which the titular character tries different bowls of porridge and finds that one is too hot, one is too cold, and one is just right. In a similar way, the Goldilocks principle states that there is a "just right" or optimal range of conditions for a given system or process.
I once discussed the principle in oral arguments at the Federal Court; arguing that the Officer's decision was unreasonable as it castigated the employment letter as too similar to the NOC main duties. The Officer had their own perspective of what constituted a "just right" employment letter setting out job duties.
In terms of refugee proceedings: the Goldilocks principle can apply to evidence or disclosure in the sense that there needs to be a balance or "just right" amount of disclosure to support a claim. Too little disclosure may not provide a strong enough case or corroboration for the claim, while too much evidence may be overwhelming or unnecessary --or may lead the Board Member down the proverbial rabbit hole.
The refugee claimant is obligated to corroborate their claim and this is particularly at issue in terms of personal identity. The claimant benefits from the presumption of credibility; necessary given the reality that it is often difficult to corroborate the mistreatment or persecution. Agents of persecution are understandably loathe in providing affidavits that support their victim's claim. The claimant is a stranger is a strange land and may not have access to documents that have been left behind, lost or destroyed.
The claimant also benefits from the high threshold for adverse plausibility findings (although this does not seem to hold certain Board Members back).
Technically no corroborating claimant specific evidence is required as long as there is credible testimony in line with objective country conditions. That being said, there is always some kind of claimant specific evidence that is available (letters or affidavits from friends, neighbours, relatives; medical reports; proof of employment/marriage/divorce; newspaper articles, etc.) The claimant should be able to provide evidence that would be reasonably available or accessible; failure to do so may risk an adverse finding.
Thus, too little corroborative evidence and a claim may fail on the grounds of insufficiency of evidence & of course documents aren't everything. Baptismal certificates indicating a religious conversion may not be worth very much if the claimant cannot credibly establish through testimony their knowledge or adherence to their new faith.
In refugee claims the Goldilocks principle describes the idea that a certain level of evidence needed to support a claim should be neither too weak nor too strong, but just right.
In terms of evidence: quality of course trumps quantity (weak and/or unnecessarily repetitive).
Too many documents and evidence may raise the Board Member's eyebrows as well. There may well be questions as to the provenance of those documents.
To some degree this brings to mind Wabi-sabi --the Japanese aesthetic concept that values simplicity, naturalness, and the imperfections and impermanence of things. It is usually associated with traditional Japanese arts and crafts, such as pottery and gardening, but can also be applied to other forms of art and design. Wabi refers to a sense of understated elegance and rustic simplicity, and often carries connotations of poverty and loneliness. Sabi, on the other hand, refers to the patina of age, the signs of wear and tear, and the natural marks of time. A mass produced plastic cup is artificial whereas an artisan will produce a ceramic cup with inherent variation and thus authentic or natural. Things that are "real" are imperfect and often unplanned or spontaneous.
This is a complex area -disclosure depends on the claimant profile and the country in question. It is difficult to determine the "just right" amount of evidence needed to support a claim because the evidence must be balanced and appropriate for the claim in question.