This article focuses on mental health assessment of refugees in clinical, educational and administrative-legal settings in order to synthesise research and practice designed to enhance and promote further development of culturally appropriate clinical assessment services during the refugee resettlement process. It specifically surveys research published over the last 25 years into the development, reliability measurement and validity testing of assessment instruments, which have been used with children, adolescents and adults from refugee backgrounds, prior to or following their arrival in a resettlement country, to determine whether the instruments meet established crosscultural standards of conceptual, functional, linguistic, technical and normative equivalence. The findings suggest that, although attempts have been made to develop internally reliable, appropriately normed tests for use with refugees from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, matters of conceptual and linguistic equivalence and test–retest reliability are often overlooked. Implications of these oversights for underreporting refugees' mental health needs are considered. Efforts should also be directed towards development of culturally comparable, valid and reliable measures of refugee children's mental health and of refugee children's and adults' psychoeducational, neuropsychological and applied memory capabilities.