Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM099: International Refugee Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Mr Michael Sanderson (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


In this module you will undertake a detailed study of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, displaced persons and other ‘forced migrants’. 

The module will begin with an initial overview of the history and context of forced international migration during which you will be asked to critically reflect on the origins and changing significance of the concept of a “refugee”.  You will then undertake a detailed examination of the various models of legal protection afforded to forced migrants.  While this will inevitably begin with an examination of the meaning and enforcement of the 1951 Geneva Convention it will also include the examination of a range of other complementary protection regimes, including general human rights based protections.  In particular, you will be asked to examine the regional protection regime applicable within Europe, including key EU Directives and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).  The module will include with an extended seminar during which you will be asked to assess the validity of the current international protection framework against a series of humanitarian case studies, including Darfur, Rwanda, Kosovo and Syria. 

No specific knowledge of refugee or asylum law is required or assumed.  However, some knowledge of public international and human rights law will be helpful and students who have not previously studied public international or human rights law at the undergraduate level are strongly encouraged to introduce themselves to these areas of law prior to starting the course.  The module convenor is happy to supply relevant introductory readings for students seeking to improve their knowledge of these areas of law prior to beginning the module.. 

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