• Class Number 4600
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • AsPr Matthew Zagor
    • AsPr Matthew Zagor
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 06/09/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 16/09/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 07/09/2022
SELT Survey Results

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyse complex problems, concepts and theories in international refugee law and devise solutions appropriate to the specific context;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Incorporate social, policy, comparative or interdisciplinary approaches into legal analysis of international and domestic refugee issues;
  5. Engage in original and critical reflection on international refugee law topics;
  6. Communicate legal, policy and theoretical perspectives of international refugee legal issues effectively, both verbally and in writing; and
  7. 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.

Research-Led Teaching

The content of the course – including the readings and research-intensive means of assessment – is informed by the research interests, expertise and professional experience of the convenor. Matthew Zagor's work on exclusion, detention, autonomy, authenticity, recognition and narrative identities will be included in the Reading Guide.

Required Resources

All reading resources will be accessible via the Reading Guide available on Wattle and through the ANU Library.

See Reading Guide for bibliography and resources.

Staff Feedback

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

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

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

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

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

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 any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Day 1: 5 September Framing the refugee as a subject (or object?) of international law Reading contemporary affairs as an international refugee lawyer – putting on your new specs The origins, evolution and TWAIL critique of international refugee law
2 Day 2: 6 September The ‘cornerstone’ principle? Non-refoulement – status, content and contours of the norm
3 Day 3: 7 September Limits and borders of international refugee law Non-refoulement's limits? Mass influx, art 33(2), derogations,diplomatic assurances, collective expulsion Extraterritoriality and externalisation - leveraging spatial metaphors and pushing out borders
4 Day 4: 12 September Definition & recognition Interpreting the definition – how far can it go?
5 Day 5: 13 September Definition & recognition Applying the definition – status determination, credibility, and narrative identities
6 Day 6: 14 September Definition & recognition The exclusion clause (ART 1F) & the securitization of refugee law
7 Day 7: 15 September Asylum, non-penalization, and the logic of the camp – unpacking the deterrence paradigm
8 Day 8: 19 September Solutions, protection and institutions Solutions, solidarity and 'legal' pathways International protection & the institutions of IRL - UNHCR, IOM, the global compact, and the illusive nature of European 'solidarity'
9 Day 9: 20 September The Australian encounter with IRL – 1938-2022 From Evian to operation sovereign borders: Australia’s engagement with international refugee law – norm entrepreneurship in an age of deterrence
10 Day 10: 21 September Looking Forward - W(h)ither IRL in Anthropocene? A consideration of the direction, continuing relevance and sustainability of IRL in the face of the seemingly permanent crises of political instability and climate change, as well as the rise of surveillance technologies, authoritarian ideologies and ethno-nationalism. Centring the refugee voice - an opportunity for renewal?

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Contribution to Online Discussions 10 % 22/09/2022 04/10/2022 1,2,6
Quiz 15 % 11/10/2022 19/10/2022 1,2,3,6,7
Research Assignment or Law Reform Submission 75 % 25/10/2022 17/11/2022 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 04/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,6

Contribution to Online Discussions

Details of Task: During the online intensive, students will be provided a range of exercises and discussion questions through online fora on the Wattle page. During the intensive, students must make 4 posts into these fora which substantively engage with the issues raised for discussion and/or the contributions of others in the class in response to those questions. Each participant’s contributions will be reviewed at the end of the class and a participation grade provided according to the below assessment criteria.

Nature of the Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 10%

Release: Topics for discussion will be posted from the first to the last day of the intensive and students can engage with those posts at any time over the course of the intensive. Contributions will be counted towards the mark until the final day of the intensive.

Word limit: The cumulative length of contributions should be between 600-800 words. Students are expected to keep their contributions to a reasonable length, roughly between 150-250 words.

Due Date: 5pm, Thursday 22 September 2022. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Estimated return date: 4 October 2022.

Assessment Criteria:

  • understanding of relevant law and legal policy
  • critical and analytical response to the topic
  • structure and organisation of ideas
  • references to, and engagement with, relevant primary and secondary sources
  • written expression, including use of legal terminology proof-reading, grammar and punctuation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 11/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 19/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6,7


Details of Task: Students will be required to answer fifteen multiple choice questions to be completed within 1 hour and fifteen minutes (ie 75 minutes), drawing primarily upon the content of the lectures and seminars. This assignment acts as a learning aid to consolidate the foundational knowledge of international refugee law which must be understood before undertaking more in-depth research or practice in the discipline. It also provides an opportunity to apply some of that knowledge to hypothetical scenarios. This requires grappling with and applying the basic definitions and principles tackled in the course, as understood in the jurisprudence and writings of publicists. 

Nature of the Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 15%

Release: 5pm, Monday 10 October 2022 via Wattle. If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances and cannot sit the quiz at the due date and time, you should apply for an extension here. The College will give you one opportunity to sit the quiz, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to sit the quiz. If you have accessed the assessment, you will not be approved an extension and will need to complete the assessment by the due date. However you can apply for special consideration for your circumstances to be considered.

Timing: Once you log into the quiz, you will have 75 minutes to complete it. The quiz will finish automatically after Tuesday 11 October at 5pm and any open attempts will automatically close and be submitted, so please allow sufficient time to complete the quiz.

Due date: Access to the quiz questions will automatically close on Tuesday 11 October at 5pm, but you should commence the quiz no later than 3:45pm on Tuesday 11 October to ensure that you have 75 minutes to complete the quiz. 

Estimated return date: 19 October 2022.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 75 %
Due Date: 25/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 17/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Research Assignment or Law Reform Submission

Details of Task: Research Assignment. The research assignment is designed to give students an opportunity to explore a specific issue in refugee law in depth, engaging with the scholarship and jurisprudence in the area. Depending upon the topic chosen, students will need to engage with the international mechanisms and norms in the discipline, their effectiveness, coherence, implementation and status. This will require demonstrating an in-depth understanding of how relevant norms, principles, institutions and theories have been interpreted, interrogated, challenged and/or consolidated by epistemic communities (academics, judges, political institutions, UNHCR, NGOs etc). Where relevant, comparative analysis should be undertaken, and alternative policy approaches considered. Students will need to demonstrate an ability to discuss and debate the various issues that their topic generates, and to reach persuasive, reasoned conclusions about the state and direction of relevant law and policy. Those undertaking a theoretical topic should demonstrate a sound and critical understanding of relevant theoretical concepts and structures. 

Nature of the Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Approval of Topic: The lecturer will provide a list of suitable topics on WATTLE on 15 September 2022. However, students are encouraged to formulate their own topics which are to be approved by the lecturer by Monday 10 October 2022. All students must notify the Convenor which topic they have chosen by this date.

Weighting: 75%

Release: 15 September 2022.

Due Date: 5pm, Tuesday 25 October 2022 via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) is permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Word limit: 4000 words. Assessment must be submitted in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files are not acceptable.

Estimated return date: Wednesday 17 November 2022.

Assessment Criteria:

a)   Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the question / law reform issue, and covers all the important points
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively

 b) Communication & Development of Argument

  • clear theme or argument
  • arguments logical and well-organised
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently

 c) Argument/Analysis

  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate
  • addressing opposing arguments
  • well-reasoned conclusions

 d) Research

  • research covering primary and secondary materials
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate
  • range of research sources
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay

e) Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation
  • adherence to word limit

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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 test or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time is provided in writing. Please note that the revised due date is calculated by including weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date are penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the assessment task per day or part thereof.

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. Extensions may be granted 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).

AsPr Matthew Zagor

Research Interests

Associate Professor Matthew Zagor has 20 years’ experience as a human rights and law reform advocate, practitioner and scholar. His research is characterised by its transdisciplinary approach and diversity, with recent publications covering the legal paradoxes of refugee resettlement, the comparative constitutional law and executive detention, refugee narrative identities and discourses of autonomy, the ‘humanity’ turn of international law, and perspectives of legality amongst Israeli soldiers.

Matthew’s most recent research considers how liberal notions of autonomy, authenticity and redemption inform legal and political constructions of the refugee, and the intersection between theological and legal - or anti-legal (antinomian) - thinking in the formulation of refugee resettlement policy. His current projects are more doctrinal, uncovering judicial legal theories underpinning approaches to executive detention of non-citizens, and the sui generis approach of Australian courts to the Refugee Convention.

AsPr Matthew Zagor

By Appointment
AsPr Matthew Zagor
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

AsPr Matthew Zagor

By Appointment

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