• Class Number 4805
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Toni Johnson
    • Dr Toni Johnson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

A participant who has successfully completed this course should have a clear understanding of:

  • the conventional and customary law obligations of States in respect of refugees and other asylum-seekers and of the rights of applicants
  • the protection mechanisms, both national and international, that operate for the immediate and long-term protection of refuge-seekers and the policy considerations that affect contemporary State attitudes to such groups
  • the legal problems affecting national interpretations and application of refugee concepts, with particular emphasis on definitional problems, status determination procedures and non-refoulement.

The course will focus mainly on the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, supplemented by additional materials that assist in the interpretation, construction and critique of these instruments. Particular attention will be paid to national implementation of refugee protection and status determination procedures in Australia, comparing and contrasting the approach taken, where appropriate, with that of other nations.

Addressed will be the origins of the international system of protection, its limitations and deficiencies; the role and relevance of UNHCR; definitional problems; exclusion and cessation of refugee status; core concepts of protection (including complementary protection), asylum, non-refoulement, penalization and refugee rights; asylum, temporary refuge, temporary protection and burden-sharing; durable solutions; protracted refugee situations; status determination procedures; detention; ‘deflection' techniques; other categories such as ‘environmental' refugees and internally displaced persons; and a consideration of possible future directions for refugee law.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

A student who has successfully completed this course should:
  • develop coherent and advanced knowledge of the substance, rationale, and history of the legal norms that govern the international protection system for refugees, the rights international law bestows upon them and the obligations of States in this area;
  • have acquired a familiarity with the legal problems caused by definitional and operational issues under the provisions of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and be able to identify and provide solutions to such complex problems with intellectual independence;
  • be able to discuss and debate the various policy issues raised by the implementation of international and domestic protection systems in light of contemporary circumstances, demonstrating and applying advanced conceptual and theoretical knowledge;
  • have technical skills to work with primary and secondary sources describing and critiquing the operation of the refugee law regime in Australia, including relevant legislation, case law, policy and determination procedures, and contemporary issues in the development of domestic refugee law; 
  • use those technical skills to plan, design and execute a piece of research which develops new understanding and perspectives with some independence;(vi) be able to communicate that new understanding to a variety of audiences and in a variety of written formats (including oral presentation, legal submission, law reform submission, and other critical research essay writing)
  • consistent with the College’s commitment to law reform and social justice, have developed a critical understanding of the roles of refugee lawyers can play in promoting refugees’ access to justice and equality before the law.

Required Resources

B.S. Chimni, ‘The Geopolitics of Refugee Studies: A View from the South’ (1998) 4 Journal of Refugee Studies 350

Students may wish to buy a copy of Bherouz Boochani, No Friend But The Mountains (PanMacmillan, 2019) but it is not compulsory. Extracts will be provided via Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the current Grading Distribution Policy has been suspended pending the development of a new policy. For further information about the interim policy please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements and updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The origins, evolution and structure of refugee law
2 Principles of Refugee Law: non-refoulement and asylum
3 Principles of Refugee Law: extraterritoriality and non-penalization
4 Principles of Refugee Law: Solutions, cooperation and ‘solidarity’ Family
5 Principles of Refugee Law: Protection, Palestinians, Protracted Situations and institutional supervision (ie UNHCR & UNRWA)
6 Loss, Denial and Exclusion: securitization, deflection and the 'exclusionary' ethic of refugee law
7 Exploring the refugee definition: an Australian perspective
8 Australian refugee legal policy conundrums – deterence, sovereignty, and ‘regional solutions’
9 Australia refugee jurisprudence: From Tampa and Al-Kateb to Operation Sovereign Borders and M68: 1992-2018
10 Burdens and Crises – regional & global approaches European Refugee Law – a study in supranational ‘cooperation’ (or not) in the face of a 'crisis' Whither 'solidarity'? The New York Declaration and the 2018 UN Global Compact
11 Gender and Critical Approaches to Refugee Law
12 Safety and Distribution: ‘safe’ countries, ‘effective’ protection, ‘burden sharing’ and creating a ‘refugee market’ – revisiting Hathaway and Neve Final Class: Looking Forward, Thinking Differently

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online quiz (multiple choice) 10 % 24/03/2019 19/04/2019 1,2,3,4,6
Submission 30 % 10/04/2019 24/04/2019 1,2,4,5,6
Research Essay 50 % 31/05/2019 17/06/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Participation 10 % 31/05/2019 30/06/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is assessed continuously. To be effective, the class participation objective requires that students attend and contribute to in-class discussions.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 19/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,6

Online quiz (multiple choice)

Details of Task: The quiz will assess students' developing understanding of the key principles and concepts covered in the first 4 weeks of the course.

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to submit the quiz will result in a 0 for this task.

Value or weighting: 10%

Release: Monday 20 March 2019, 6pm via course Wattle site.

Due date: Sunday 24 March 2019, 8 pm via course Wattle site. Late submissions (without an extension) are not permitted.

Estimated return date: Monday 12 April via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria: Accuracy of understanding, knowledge of concepts and principles.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 10/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,6


Details of Task: This task will require students to make a submission on behalf of a hypothetical claimant. It will involve identifying legal issues and relevant jurisprudence via application of case law, legal reasoning, legal principles, country reports.

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to complete the task will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 30%

Word limit: 1,200 words

Release: 4 March 2019 via Wattle.

Due date: 4pm, 10 April 2019 via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) will be accepted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 24 April 2019 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding and discussion of relevant law
  • Reference to relevant country situations
  • Structure including logical development of content.
  • Research of primary legal (case law and legislation) and scholarly secondary sources.
  • Referencing and compliance with AGLC.
  • Expression and written communication including use of legal terminology, English expression, grammar and punctuation

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Research Essay

Details of Task: Students can formulate their own essay topics. The focus of their essay can be theoretical, critical, legal, etc. Students will develop advanced knowledge of a topic, consider policy issues, legal norms, identify relevant critical sources, attain technical skills and communicate different perspectives. Alternatively students may wsh to submit a law reform style piece of work. Research and analyse a specifc legal problem or norm. Identify relvant policy and legislation, identify sources, development of technical writing skills pertaining to law reform style submissions.

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to complete the task will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 50%

Release: 1 April 2019

Due date: 31 May 2019 via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) will be accepted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 17 June via Turnitin.

Word Limit: 2,500 words

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding and discussion of relevant law/legislation/policy dependent upon choice of task
  • Argument and response to question
  • Critical evaluation of material
  • Creativity and originality of approach:
  • Research of primary legal (case law and legislation) and scholarly secondary sources. (a) Primary legal materials (legislation, case law, international instruments if relevant) (b) Scholarly secondary materials (journals, monographs etc)
  • Referencing and compliance with AGLC.
  • Effective use of words and word limit to address key issues
  • Expression and written communication including use of legal terminology, spelling etc.
  • Structure including logical development of content/material.
  • Effective use of headings.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7


Details: Students must attend class. In small groups, students will make a 10 -15 minute oral presentation each week on a topic. The student groups will lead class discussion; present a critical and considered analysis of case law/reading/government policy – to be discussed with lecturer in advance.

Nature of task: Attendance is compulsory. Presentation and class participation will be graded.

Weighting: 10%

Release: Ongoing

Due: Ongoing. If exceptional circumstances prevent a student from presenting with their group, students must contact the convener to discuss an alternative week to present.

Estimated Return Date: 26 June via Wattle

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding and discussion of relevant law and policy
  • Critical and analytical response to relevant material or question/task.
  • Creativity and originality of approach
  • Research of primary legal (case law and legislation) and scholarly secondary sources. (a) Primary legal materials (legislation, case law, international instruments if relevant) (b) Scholarly secondary materials (journals, monographs etc)
  • Structure including logical development of content/material.
  • Engagement with audience in terms of tone, eye contact, pace and delivery.
  • Awareness and effective use of time

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Toni Johnson
6125 3483

Research Interests

Dr Toni Johnson

Thursday 11:00 12:00
Dr Toni Johnson
6125 3483

Research Interests

Dr Toni Johnson

Thursday 11:00 12:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions