• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Matthew Zagor
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. A class presentation or legal submission on behalf of a hypothetical claimant (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
  2. A written research assignment or law reform submission (4,500 words) (65) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
  3. One online quiz (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]

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 three contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a; Master of Laws (MLLM) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law; or Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2250 /LAWS6250 International Law ; or Master of International Law & Diplomacy (MINLD) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4271/LAWS8471 Refugee Law. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for appropriate permission.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.

Preliminary Reading

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 Knowledge

Participants must have completed Principles of International Law (LAWS8182) or equivalent.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4740
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4600 06 Sep 2022 07 Sep 2022 16 Sep 2022 28 Oct 2022 Online View

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