Refugee Law

Unit code: LML7007 | Study level: Postgraduate
(One credit point is usually equivalent to one hour of study per week)
City Queen
LML6002 - Australian Migration Law
LML6003 - Australia's Visa System 1
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


This unit of study provides students with a theoretical understanding of refugee law and its practical application in Australia and in the international context. The unit will examine the international legal regime for the protection of involuntary migrants, the UN Refugee Convention's definition of refugee, Australia's visa system and application procedures relating to onshore and offshore refugees, the operation of the Refugee Tribunals, judicial review and judicial interpretation. Merits and judicial review principles in relation to protection visa applications will also be considered.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Interrogate the international and domestic development of refugee law and critically review the impact of judicial review on contemporary refugee and humanitarian visa applications;
  2. Cross examine and apply case law and research to support specific protection visa applications, including communicating submissions in for protection visas in the context of primary and merits review applications;
  3. Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise relevant legislation, court decisions and rulings by the Refugee Review Tribunal and courts and apply to authentic complex cases and new situations and for further learning;
  4. Critically evaluate the constantly evolving and changing refugee law in the context of contemporary Australian society and the migration agent’s or migration lawyer’s responsibilities within this area;
  5. Adapt the United Nations Convention and Protocol relating to the status of refugees and initiate new ideas related to judicial review of applications; and
  6. Interpret and discourse complex global refugee issues and the law with peers and professionals.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 40%
Research Assignment (3,500 words)
Assessment type: Examination
Grade: 60%
Final Examination

Required reading

The Law of Refugee Status
Hathaway, J and Foster, M (2014)| Cambridge University Press
The Rights of Refugees under International Law
Hathaway, J (2005)| Cambridge University Press
Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1992)| UNHCR

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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