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LAW4164 - International refugee law and practice 406

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Assoc Prof Susan Kneebone


Not offered in 2007


Topics include: root causes of forced migration; sources of international refugee law and the evolution of the international regime for refugee protection during the 20th century; limits of the basic principle of asylum and non-refoulement and the application of the refugee definition in Australia and other jurisdictions; application of the refugee definition to particular groups of applicants, such as gender or culturally based groups; procedures for detention and determination of refugee status in Australia compared with other jurisdictions; modifications of the Refugees Convention including international burden sharing agreement and proposals to reformulate the refugee protection regime.


Upon completion of this unit students should: 1) understand the background and nature of international refugee law; 2) have detailed knowledge of the international instruments applicable to asylum seekers, including the Refugees Convention; 3) understand the causes of forced migration and current international policies towards such migration; 4) be able to compare international responses to forced migration with the application of the Refugees Convention; 5) understand and be able to evaluate the application of theories of justice in relation to asylum seekers; 6) understand and be able to evaluate the competing theories of universal human rights and cultural relativism in relation to refugees; 7) have acquired detailed knowledge of the concept of a 'refugee' under the Refugees Convention and of the various elements of the definition; 8) be able to evaluate Australia's practices towards refugee applicants and application of the Refugees Convention by comparing them with those of other jurisdictions; 9) understand and be able to evaluate measures adopted to modify the Refugees Convention; 10) have further developed legal research, writing and legal argument skills by undertaking systematic research, including empirical research and the application of theory, into issues relating to international refugee law; 11) have further developed skills of oral presentation and argumentation in an interactive class context and 12) have further developed practical skills through the optional placement scheme


Research assignment (4,000 words): 50%
Examination (2 hours writing time plus 30 minutes reading and noting time): 50%.

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104