Skip to main content

Immigration Pt 2: Advanced Concepts in Asylum Law (Senior Status)


Module description

International Refugee and Asylum Law is a body of rules and procedures that aims to protect asylum seekers and refugees. An asylum seeker is a person who, due to fears in his/her own country, has crossed international borders into another State with the hope of being granted refugee status. International protection depends on an asylum seeker meeting the criteria for refugee status under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. This is the principle international treaty, but, alongside this, some European states, in seeking to achieve consistency and a common legal framework in the application of the refugee definition, apply the Council Directive 2004/83/EC (also known as the Qualification Directive) to determine who is a refugee. Claims for protection may also include rights invoked under the European Convention of Human Rights.

This module will allow you to broaden your knowledge of international refugee law. You will have an opportunity to critically analyse and reflect on refugee and asylum issues in the United Kingdom and assess its evolution as a legal means of categorisation and protection. The module will provide an overview of the commonalities and conflicts within what can be perceived as a system of refugee protection or failure of protection.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Sources of UK refugee law
  • Meaning of well-founded fear of persecution
  • Convention reasons (race, nationality and religion)
  • Convention reasons (political opinion and membership of a social group)
  • State protection and internal relocation; humanitarian/subsidiary protection
  • Human rights (Article 3 and 8 ECHR)
  • Cessation and exclusion of refugees/non-refoulement
  • Asylum appeals, procedure and process
  • Safe third country removals

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its Protocol, and Article 1 (refugee definition, inclusion, exclusion and cessation) and Article 33 (non-refoulement)
  • demonstrate nuanced understandings of the expanded definitions of refugee and conditions for return contained in the Council Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country national and stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection, 20 October 2004, (2002 OJ L 304/12), and in the Refugee or Person in Need of International Protection (Qualification) Regulations SI 2006/2525
  • critically appraise the applicable guarantees within human rights under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental  Freedoms 1950
  • understand protection theory developed in the literature
  • identify key cases from national tribunals and the European courts, and critically analyse and communicate their principles
  • critically evaluate important principles and concepts of international asylum and refugee law and related human rights law
  • understand the procedural restrictions for the asylum seekers in accessing and gaining protection prior to, during, and the application and appeals process.