• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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

  1. the treaty and customary law obligations of States and the international community with respect to refugees and other forced migrants.
  2. the protection mechanisms - national, regional and international - that operate for the immediate and long-term protection of refuge-seekers, and the historical, socio-political and geopolitical factors informing contemporary approaches to such groups and the development of the law and policy.
  3. the interpretation, application and manipulation of refugee law, with particular emphasis on definitional problems, status determination procedures, non-penalization and non-refoulement, and extraterritoriality.
  4. critical, gendered and refugee-centered approaches to the discipline and its current trajectory. 

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 and Europe, and the cross-fertilization of policy initiatives and politico-legal discourses.

Through lectures, seminars and exercises, the class will explore the origins of the international system of protection, its limitations and deficiencies, and the continuing geo-political context which shapes its direction; the role and relevance of actors including UNHCR, refugees, civil society and non-state actors; definitional problems; exclusion and cessation of refugee status, especially in the ‘age of terror’; core concepts of protection (including complementary protection), asylum, non-refoulement, penalization and refugee rights; asylum, temporary refuge, temporary protection, burden-sharing and burden-shaing; durable solutions, protracted refugee situations, and the refugee ‘camp’; credibility and status determination procedures; ‘deflection' techniques and the dominant deterrence paradigm; gender, TWAIL, LGBTIQ+ and critical perspectives; centering refugee voices and lived experience; climate change displacement and internal displacement; the role of the refugee ‘lawyer’; and future directions for refugee law.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Investigate and interpret 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.
  2. Critically analyse the legal problems caused by definitional and operational issues under the provisions of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and propose solutions to such complex problems.
  3. Analyse the various policy issues raised by the implementation of international and domestic protection systems in light of contemporary circumstances.
  4. Synthesise and apply relevant Australian refugee law legislation, case law, policy and determination, in order to resolve refugee law problems.
  5. Plan, design and execute refugee law research and communicate findings in oral and/or written formats.
  6. Critically reflect on the roles refugee lawyers can play in promoting refugees’ access to justice and equality before the law.

Indicative Assessment

  1. The proposed means of assessment for this course will provide students with at least two pieces of assessment, including one piece during the teaching period. More information about the means of assessment, including the relationship between the assessment and the learning outcomes of the course, will be available in the class summary and on the course WATTLE page. (100) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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 semi-intensively with compulsory contact hours of approximately 36 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. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course. 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.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2201 Administrative Law and LAWS2250 International Law; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2201/LAWS6201 Administrative Law and LAWS2250/LAWS6250 International Law You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8471 Refugee Law or LAWS8252 International Refugee Law.

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.

Preliminary Reading

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.


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
2024 $4980
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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