The course will focus primarily on the international legal instruments that create the global and regional refugee regimes, supplemented by additional materials that assist in the elaboration, construction and critique of these instruments. Attention will also be paid to national implementation of refugee protection and status determination procedures. While the Australian approach to refugee law and policy will be covered, this will be put in its regional, international and comparative contexts, with close attention also paid to challenges, developments and innovations in Europe, Africa and the Americas. The course will not focus exclusively on the legal category the ‘refugee’, but will consider complementary approaches to the protection of displaced persons and the challenges posed to the law - theoretically and practically - by forced displacement more broadly. This will include considering the perspective of displaced persons when confronted with borders, law and the legal system.
The course will address the origins of the international and regional systems of protection, their limitations and deficiencies; the role and relevance of UNHCR and other agencies; definitional problems; exclusion and cessation of refugee status; Palestinian refugees; core concepts of protection (including complementary protection), asylum, non-refoulement, non-penalization and refugee rights; asylum, temporary refuge, temporary protection and burden-sharing; durable solutions, ‘legal’ pathways and other innovations; protracted refugee situations; the challenge of ‘translation’ of international norms into domestic law; trends in status determination procedures; detention, 'deflection' techniques and deterrence regimes; other categories such as environmental, climate and internally displaced persons; regional mechanisms in Europe, Africa and the Americas; critical approaches to refugee law and forced displacement; and a consideration of possible future directions for the discipline.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Analyse complex problems, concepts and theories in international refugee law and devise solutions appropriate to the specific context;
- Undertake critical legal research, legal writing and resolution of complex legal problems with an international or transnational dimension across a range of issues and topics in international refugee law;
- Research and write on the practice or theory of international refugee law including in-depth legal and policy research in the international refugee law field, as well as the implementation of refugee law domestically;
- Incorporate social, policy, comparative or interdisciplinary approaches into legal analysis of international and domestic refugee issues;
- Engage in original and critical reflection on international refugee law topics;
- Communicate legal, policy and theoretical perspectives of international refugee legal issues effectively, both verbally and in writing; and
- Structure, sustain and evaluate legal argument in international refugee law applying legal knowledge to complex international refugee legal problems in an analytical and creative manner.
- A class presentation or legal submission on behalf of a hypothetical claimant (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
- A written research assignment or law reform submission (4,500 words) (65) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
- One online quiz (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.
Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.
Requisite and Incompatibility
There is no prescribed text for this course.
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.
An e-brick will be available on the Wattle course site.
Assumed KnowledgeParticipants must have completed Principles of International Law (LAWS8182) or equivalent.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.