UCL FACULTY OF LAWS

LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.


INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN REFUGEE LAW (LAWSG122)
Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Ingrid Boccardi
 
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method:10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students, Other UCL Masters students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: International Law, Criminal Justice, Family and Social Welfare, Human Rights, European Union Law, Public Law
Assessment
Practice Assessment: Individual appointments to discuss outline of course essay – feedback on detailed table of contents for course project
Assessment method for Masters students: 3,000 word coursework essay
Module Overview

Module summary

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is now 60 years old. At the end of 2010, UNHCR reported that the number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution stood at 43.7 million worldwide with a marked upward trend since 2005. Against this background, international debates continue regarding the nature of the protection that refugees should be granted, the role of the international community, and the obligations of receiving countries towards refugees.
This module will provide a critical understanding of both the international and European regime of refugee protection. The first part of the module will cover the international legal framework for refugee protection, its main challenges and shortcomings. A review of key jurisprudence within international, regional, and national courts will provide an understanding of how refugee and asylum law is interpreted and implemented. Main areas of discussion will include international criteria for the attainment, exclusion and withdrawal of refugee status, the development of the non-refoulement principle, and the changing role of UNHCR. Subsequent seminars will explore the concept of complementary protection offered by other instruments of international law and the European Convention of Human Rights.

The second half of the module will focus on the development of a Common European Asylum System by the European Union. The EU is the only example worldwide where a large number of countries are in the process of harmonising their national interpretation of international refugee protection obligations. Thus, the EU offers valuable insights in the difficulties that prevent a coherent application of refugee protection instruments. Where appropriate, comparisons will be drawn with other regions worldwide. Finally, the module will consider whether the 1951 Refugee Convention is still capable of adequately catering for refugee movements in the 21st century.

By the end of the module, you should be in a position to:

  • have assimilated the main principles of the international and European refugee regime and their applications in different contexts
  • be familiar with the political, economic and human rights issues related to refugee studies
  • master the understanding and application of the European refugee regime and of EU asylum instruments
  • be able to critically evaluate the policies and values inherent in Refugee Law and have developed an individual reform perspective

Module syllabus

WEEK 1
Refugee Law in Context: the Evolution of International Refugee Protection and the Institutional Framework - Norms and actors

WEEKS 2 and 3
The definition of ‘refugee’ and the notion of ‘Protection’

WEEK 4
The evolving role and mandate of UNHCR – IDPs – new situations of displacement
Cessation and exclusion of refugee status

WEEK 5
The non-refoulement principle, complementary protection and Human Rights

WEEK 6
European Protection of refugees – the ECHR and other regional instruments

WEEKS 7, 8 and 9
The development of the EU competence on migration and the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) - Externalisation of asylum: Interception, interdiction and extraterritoriality issues in EU policy

WEEK 10
Refugee protection and Human Rights: asylum, durable solutions and the reform of the international refugee system

Recommended materials

Goodwin-Gill G. and McAdam J., The Refugee in International Law 3rd edition (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 2007)

Preliminary reading

Rosemary Byrne ed, The Refugee Law Reader: Cases, Documents, and Materials (5th ed Budapest – Dublin – 2009) which is available at http://www.refugeelawreader.org/

Other information

The module will consist of a weekly two-hour seminar. Detailed hand-outs containing each week’s topic, questions for discussion and the relevant reading list will be placed on Moodle (virtual learning environment). Students are expected to familiarise themselves with the topic in advance and contribute to discussions in the seminars.

Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


APPLICATION NOTICES

The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now closed.

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.