UPDATE: Researching the Legal Aspects of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union [[1]]


By Colin Fong [[2]]


Colin Fong is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales and has also taught law at Western Sydney University, University of Sydney, University of Technology, Sydney, the University of Notre Dame Australia and Macquarie University. Colin worked as a librarian with the Australian School of Taxation (Atax), and with a large Sydney law firm. He has written extensively on legal and taxation research.


Published February 2016

(Previously updated on Jan./Feb. 2010 and June/July 2013)

Read the Archive Version!


Table of Contents

1.     Introduction

2.     Primary Sources

3.     Acts of Parliament

4.     Regulations

5.     Judgments

5.1. Canada

5.2.  United Kingdom

5.3.  European Union

6.     Secondary Sources

7.     Government Reports

8.     Monographs

9.     International Law Sources

10.  Journal Indexes and Articles

11.   Current Awareness

12.  Conference and Seminar Papers

13.  Multimedia Sources

13.1.                Australia

13.2.                Canada

14.  Theses

15.  Government Sources

15.1.                Australia

15.2.                Canada

15.3.                United Kingdom

15.4.                European Union

16.  Organizations

17.  Academic Centers

17.1.                Australia

17.2.                Canada

17.3.                United Kingdom

17.4.                Europe

18.  Web Resources


1.     Introduction

The aim of this essay is to assist researchers in finding legal information regarding asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union. This comparative approach will allow researchers to see both differences and similarities in the different countries' approach to asylum seekers and refugees. The plight of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union is the subject of many laws, judgments and commentaries.


As one of many cartoons remind us, Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph were refugees from the reign of King Herod and fled to Egypt. Many of us celebrate this refugee’s birthday every year!  Most of the printed publications in this essay, relate to those published in the past ten to fifteen years. In the Australian media, we have misleading references to asylum seekers and refugees as illegal immigrants or queue jumpers. Some of them may well be illegal immigrants and others may be valid refugees.


Following the Expert Panel Report in August 2012, significant changes were made, including the so-called ‘Pacific Solution II’ – reopening detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island in PNG; an increase in resettlement places; and the implementation of the ‘no advantage’ test which significantly curtails the rights of asylum seekers in the community who arrived without visas, and subjects those processed offshore to an indefinite wait for a durable solution. (If you go to Professor Jane McNamara’s Publications on her website , you will see links to two submissions to Parliamentary inquiries by a group of Australian refugee law academics, which explain the incompatibility of these proposals with international law.)


In 1977, Bob Hawke, a future Australian Prime Minister from 1983-1991, announced Australia, as a sovereign nation, had “the right to determine how it will exercise its compassion and how it will increase its population.”: [[3]] This statement appeared to be repeated by the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard when he announced: “But we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. [[4]]


Importantly, in 2012 Australia created new criteria in section 36 of the Migration Act on which a protection visa could be granted.  Known as ‘complementary protection’, this implements some of Australia’s obligations under international human rights law not to send people to a place where they would face a real risk of being subjected to arbitrary deprivation of life, the death penalty, torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. [[5]]


Fast forward to the federal election campaign of 2013 where the then federal coalition Opposition campaigned on a policy of turning back the boats. As the federal coalition successfully won the federal election it pursued its “Stop the boats” policy. However in the past 2-3 years, Australia has had three prime ministers, and three immigration ministers. [[6]]


Offshore detention centres have received much unwanted publicity with allegations of sexual assaults and abuse. Cambodia accepted Australia’s request to resettle asylum seekers who tried to land in Australian waters via boat. Very few asylum seekers have resettled in Cambodia. During the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe during September 2015, the former prime minister, Tony Abbott promised Australia’s acceptance of 12,000 Syrian refugees be accepted for Australia. However, after Abbott was ousted as prime minister, when delivering the second Margaret Thatcher lecture, he suggested Europe should adopt Australia’s tough border protection policies. [[7]]


In the sphere of politics, Australia changed from a left leaning federal government to a conservative one in September 2013. In the United Kingdom the Conservative Party retained central government in May 2015. In Canada their Liberal Party was elected in October 2015 after nearly a decade of Conservative Party rule.


2.     Primary Sources

The primary sources consist of numerous federal and state statutes and regulations plus numerous judgments from courts and tribunals.


3.     Acts of Parliament

In Australia, statutory laws dealing with refugees are primarily a federal matter as migration matters come under the federal powers enshrined in the federal Constitution s 51 (xix) regarding naturalization and aliens and (xxvii) regarding immigration and emigration. The main federal act of parliament is the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).  Sections 410-473 deal with the operations of the Refugee Review Tribunal with later sections dealing with possible review by the Federal Magistrates Court, Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia. Section 36 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) provides for 'protection visas' and refers to the Refugees Convention, and the Act and Regulations establish the conditions for grant of these and other visas. The concept of 'protection obligations' described in s 36 is a statutory one. Non-citizens without a visa that is in effect are liable to detention and removal from Australia.

In addition to the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) was the introduction the legal sanctions under the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth).


These acts are available via a number of free websites such as ComLaw, the official site for Commonwealth acts and instruments (current, authorized version), AustLII (short for Australasian Legal Information Institute), and a number of subscriber sites such as Lawlex, TimeBase, and LawNow via LexisNexis Au.


In Canada, statutory laws dealing with refugees are primarily a federal matter. The main federal act of parliament is the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 2001, c 27 (Can). This act is available via a number of free websites such as CanLII (short for Canadian Legal Information Institute) or the Dept. of Justice Laws web site. See also the 2016 Annotated Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada edited and annotated by Goslett, HM and Caruso, BJ [[8]] . Canadian subscriber online resources include QuickLaw via Lexis-Nexis, e-Carswell. See the Canadian encyclopedic digest, Vol. 15, title 75 Immigration and refugees which includes a table of statutes and regulations, also available via WestlaweCarswell.


In the United Kingdom, the various acts of parliament include the British Nationality Act 1981 (UK) Chapter 61; Immigration Act 1971 (UK) with amendments made by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (UK); Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (UK) Chapter 41 and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (UK) Chapter 13. These acts are available via a number of free websites such as BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) and from subscription websites such as LexisNexis, Westlaw.


Acts of parliament are all obtainable from the government legislation website , as are regulations. Other relevant acts include the UK Borders Act 2007 (c.30) and the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (c.11).


In the European Union, there are the various acts of the parliament of individual countries. In addition to this between 1999 and 2005, several legislative measures harmonizing common minimum standards for asylum were adopted, the four most important ones being: Reception Conditions Directive, Qualification Directive, Procedures Directive, EURODAC Regulation etc. The 'Dublin' Regulation, which determines which EU State, is responsible for examining an asylum application. [[9]]


On LexisNexis, you can search the following databases:


·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Combined Files  

·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Preparatory Acts  

·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Legislation 

·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Parliamentary Questions

·       The European Company Across Europe 

·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: National Provisions Implementing Directives 

·       EUR-Lex EU Law Database: Treaties 


EU law is available free from the EUR-lex database (you don't have to go through LexisNexis).


Apart from the asylum directives, the following are also important:



4.     Regulations

In Australia the relevant regulations are the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) with specific regulations dealing with various United Nations resolutions for particular countries such as Iraq, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Sudan, Sierra Leone, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).


In Canada, the relevant regulations are the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations 2002-227 together with Convention Refugee Determination Division Rules and the Refugee Claimants Designated Class Regulations.


In the United Kingdom, there are many relevant statutory regulations. There many made under various acts of parliament.  A small selection of relevant ones include The Refugee or Person in Need of International Protection (Qualification) Regulations 2006 (UK); The Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005 (UK); The Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Fast Track Procedure) Rules 2003 (UK); The Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) Rules 2003 (UK).


5.     Judgments

There have been many judgments from both courts and tribunals relating to asylum seekers and refugees. In Australia, there have been a number of refugee cases heard by the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia and the Refugee Review Tribunal. In the High Court, some of the landmark cases include:



Landmark Federal Court of Australia cases in the past twenty years include:



In addition to the print references, these cases are available from AustLII, LexisNexis Au or LexisNexis or Lawbook Online. Note annual summaries of refugee law cases in the High Court of Australia involving international issues appear in the Australian Year Book of International Law.


Some of the judges in the above cases have critiqued the function of judicial review in refugee decisions. Note what the former Minister for Immigration of 2002 said, and the following is taken from the transcript:


Minister: “We have a transparent process for determining whether or not people are refugees. It costs a lot of money.”

Presenter: “There’s no judicial review, is there?”

Minister: “Yes there is.”

Presenter: “There’s appeal to the courts?”

Minister: “There is, but I don’t think there ought to be”. [[10]]


5.1.  Canada

In Canada, many judgments may be found via the free website CanLII, short for the Canadian Legal Information Institute or a subscription website such as Quicklaw via LexisNexis Canada or Westlaw. See also Immigration Law Reporter via WestlaweCarswell and the Canadian Abridgment Digest 3rd Ed, Vols. 51-53 Immigration and Citizenship.


Some of the landmark cases include:



5.2.  United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute has compiled a list of   Immigration and Asylum Law cases. See the following note: “Through the OpenLaw Project BAILII seeks, with the assistance of law lecturers, to identify cases from the past and to make these freely and openly available on the internet to support legal education”. Also on BAILII see the decisions from the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission and the United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal is now the UK Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) or UKUT (IAC).


See also the UK Immigration and Nationality Law Reports.


Some of the landmark cases include:



5.3.  European Union

European Union judgments on refugees and asylum seekers may appear in databases such as LexisNexis databases such as:



On Westlaw International case law may be found via the following databases:



Other useful databases include:



Some of the landmark European Union cases include:



6.    Secondary Sources

The range of secondary sources is large ranging from texts to loose-leaf services to journal articles and electronic resources. Not only are there legal texts, there are also socio-economic-political works, which provide and important alternative viewpoint on this subject. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal Migration & Refugee Division publishes a Guide to refugee law in Australia, which is available online and is a current source of domestic law application/interpretation and of all relevant cases. [[11]]


7.     Government Reports

In Canada, Strangers at the gates: refugees, illegal entrants, and procedural justice, was a report prepared for Employment and Immigration by H Patrick Glenn.[[12]] Later reports included Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Building on a strong foundation for the 21st Century: New directions for immigration and refugee policy and legislation,[[13]] Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Into the 21st Century: a strategy for immigration and citizenship,[[14]] and Canada, Immigration Legislative Review Advisory Group Not just numbers: a Canadian framework for future immigration.[[15]]


In Australia, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration of the Australian Parliament produced a report called Asylum, border control and detention. [[16]] See also the various Senate Committee reports (click on ones of interest to see full title report). 


Then there is Protecting the border: immigration compliance, an annual publication.[[17]] Philip Flood conducted an independent inquiry to investigate, examine and report on aspects of Australian Immigration Detention Procedures.[[18]] The Federal Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade made an inquiry into detention centres to assess the human rights conditions[[19]]. The Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident report reviewed four major sets of issues. “They are:(1)the so-called children overboard' incident involving the HMAS Adelaide and the vessel known as SIEV 4, and the management of information concerning that incident by the Federal Government and Commonwealth agencies;(2)accountability issues arising from the 'children overboard' incident, including the adequacy of administrative practices in certain Commonwealth agencies, and the accountability framework for Ministers and their staff;(3)other matters arising out of the Australian Defence Force operation 'to deter and deny' asylum seekers from arriving in the Australian migration zone in an unauthorised manner by boat, with particular reference to the vessel now known as SIEV X; and(4) the nature of the agreements reached, the operation and cost of detaining persons in Nauru and Papua New Guinea as part of the so-called 'Pacific Solution."[[20]] Interpreting the Refugees Convention: an Australian contribution was released in 2002[[21]], and recently there was the Senate report on the Administration and operation of the Migration Act 1958. [[22]]


In 2004, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, produced A last resort? National inquiry into children in immigration detention, written by Vanessa Lesnie and others [[23]] See also the Inquiry into the circumstances of the immigration detention of Cornelia Rau. Report chaired by Palmer, M. [[24]] For later Australian Human Rights Commission publications, see their website. [[25]]


The federal Parliamentary Library published Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976, written by Janet Phillips and Harriet Spinks, [[26]] Destination anywhere? Factors affecting asylum seekers’ choice of destination country, by Harriet Spinks, [[27]] Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts? authored by Janet Phillips [[28]] and The people smugglers’ business model, authored by Cat Barker. [[29]] Many others, e.g. developments in Australian refugee law and policy 2010-13: see website for all. See also publications by the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Law Reform Commission.[[30]] Note the recent Department of Immigration and Citizenship submission to the Australian Parliament House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure and upgrade works to establish a regional processing centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.[[31]]


In the United Kingdom, there are many useful reports by the House of Lord Select Committee on the European Union, the House of Lords/House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Home Office.[[32]] The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published reports[[33]] and the Migration Observatory, University of Oxford published Migration to the UK: asylum.[[34]]


In the European Union, there are reports by the European Commission, [[35]] European Asylum Support Office .[[36]]


8.    Monographs

In Canada, a good place to start research is Halsbury’s Laws of Canada, title on Immigration and Citizenship (2015 Reissue) also available online via LexisNexis Canada.  In Canada, leading texts in this area include Canadian immigration and refugee law by Bagambiire, DBN[[37]],

 The Refugee Convention by Zambelli, P[[38]], Refugee law by Jones, M[[39]], Canadian immigration & refugee law practice 2010 by Waldman, L[[40]], Immigration and refugee law: cases, materials and commentary by Carasco, E et al[[41]] and The grounds of refugee protection in the context of international human rights & humanitarian law: Canadian & US case law compared, by von Sternberg, MR[[42]]. Another five titles, though not uniquely Canadian include Critical years in immigration: Canada and Australia compared by Hawkins, F[[43]], edited by Adelman, H et al Immigration and refugee policy: Australia and Canada compared,[[44]] edited by James Hathaway Reconceiving international refugee law,[[45]] Humanitarianism, identity, and nation: migration laws of Australia and Canada by Catherine Dauvergne [[46]] and Let me be a refugee : administrative justice and the politics of asylum in the United States, Canada, and Australia  by Rebecca   Hamlin. [[47]]

In Australia, a good place to start research is Halsbury’s Laws of Australia titles 77 — Citizenship and Migration and 80 — Civil and Political Rights, also available online via LexisNexis Au or The Laws of Australia title Human rights also available online via Thomson Reuters. In Australia although not as extensive as Hathaway, we have McAdam, J and Chong, F Refugees: why seeking asylum is legal and Australia's policies are not, [[48]]  Crock, M (ed) Creating new futures: settling children and youth from refugee backgrounds, [[49]] Thwaites, R  Liberty of non-citizens indefinite detention in Commonwealth countries, [[50]] Crock, M & Berg, L Immigration, refugees and forced migration: law, policy and practice in Australia,[[51]] Crock, M & Saul, B Future seekers: refugees and the law in Australia,[[52]], Crock, M; Saul, B and Dastyari, A Future seekers II: refugees and irregular migration in Australia[[53]], Crock, M Immigration and refugee law in Australia[[54]], Crock, M (ed) Protection or punishment?: the detention of asylum-seekers in Australia, [[55]] Crock, M Seeking asylum alone – Australia: a study of Australian law, policy and practice regarding unaccompanied and separated children,[[56]]  Bhabha, J & Crock, M Seeking asylum alone - a comparative study: unaccompanied and separated children and refugee protection in Australia, the UK and the US,[[57]] Germov, R & Motta, F Refugee law in Australia[[58]], The Refugees Convention 50 years on: globalisation and international law, edited by Susan Kneebone,[[59]] Vrachnas, J et al Migration and refugee law: principles and practice in Australia [[60]], Pickering, S Refugees and state crime[[61]], Mary Crock Seeking asylum alone: a study of Australian law, policy and practice regarding unaccompanied and separated children [[62]], Taylor, S (ed) Nationality, refugee status and state protection : explorations of the gap between man and citizen[[63]], Blay, S; Burn, J & Keyzer, P Offshore processing of asylum seekers: the search for legitimate parameters [[64]], Humanitarianism, identity, and nation: migration laws of Australia and Canada by Catherine Dauvergne [[65]] and Bagaric, M et al Migration and refugee law: Principles and practice in Australia [[66]].


On a more polemical view, there is Robin Rothfield (ed) The drownings' argument : Australia's inhumanity : offshore processing of asylum seekers, [[67]] Emma Larking Refugees and the myth of human rights: life outside the pale of the law, [[68]] Rebecca   Hamlin Let me be a refugee: administrative justice and the politics of asylum in the United States, Canada, and Australia [[69]], Klaus Neumann Across the seas – Australia’s response to refugees: a history, [[70]] Bob Douglas and Jo Wodak (ed), Refugees and asylum seekers: finding a better way: essays by notable Australians, [[71]]  Rosie Scott & Tom Keneally (ed) A country too far: writings on asylum seekers, [[72]] Frontier justice: the global refugee crisis and what to do about it by Andy Lamey, [[73]] A new approach breaking the stalemate on refugees and asylum seekers by John Menadue, Arja Keski-Nummi and Kate Gauthier,[[74]] Compassionate bastard: How an ordinary bloke came to manage Villawood Detention Centre and still live with himself, by Peter Mitchell,[[75]] Asylum seekers: Australia's response to refugees by Don McMaster [[76]], Australia's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers by Peter Mares,[[77]] People smugglers: the people smuggling industry and the secret cost to Australia by Greg Clancy[[78]], Refugees and the myth of the borderless world by William Maley et al.[[79]], Immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers by Helen Hughes,[[80]] People smugglers: the people smuggling industry and the secret cost to Australia, [[81]] Frank Brennan, et al Refugees, morality and public policy: the Jesuit Lenten seminars 2002 and 2000[[82]], Frank Brennan, Tampering with asylum: a universal humanitarian problem [[83]] Eve Lester Asylum seekers in Australia [[84]]Heather Tyler Asylum: voices behind the razor wire[[85]] Diane Barnes edited Asylum seekers and refugees in Australia :issues of mental health and wellbeing,[[86]] Klaus Neumann Refuge Australia: Australia’s humanitarian record [[87]], David Marr & Marian Wilkinson Dark victory,[[88]] Tony Kevin A certain maritime incident:  the sinking of SIEV X [[89]], Michael Gordon Freeing Ali: The human face of the Pacific Solution[[90]], Savitri Taylor, (ed) Nationality, refugee status and state protection: explorations of the gap between man and citizen.[[91]]


For an overseas perspective, see Gender in refugee law: from the margins to the centre , edited by Efrat Arbel, Catherine Dauvergne and Jenni Millibank, [[92]]  E Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, G Loescher, K Long and N Sigona (eds), The Oxford handbook of refugee and forced migration studies,[[93]] SF Martin, S Weerasinghe and A Taylor (eds), Migration and humanitarian crises: causes, consequences and responses, [[94]] Anne Hammerstad Rise and decline of a global security actor: UNHCR, refugee protection and security, [[95]] Peter Gatrell  The making of the modern refugee, [[96]] Caroline Moorehead Human cargo: a journey among refugees[[97]], Michel Agier Managing the undesirables,[[98]] Borderline justice: the fight for refugee and migrant rights by Frances Webber.[[99]]


Related works include Interpreters' handbook, compiled by the Refugee Review Tribunal [[100]]. Parenting in Australia: a resource and guide to assist facilitators in providing information to newly arrived refugee parents written by the members and staff of TRANSACT. [[101]] See other RRT handbooks and guidelines (e.g. on credibility)


In the United Kingdom a useful place to start research is Halsbury's Laws of England (volume 57 5th edition 2012) title of Immigration and Asylum and available on LexisNexisAu or LexisNexis. , There are publications, such as Eric Fripp, Rowena Moffatt and Ellis Wilford (eds)  Law and practice of expulsion and exclusion from the United Kingdom: deportation, removal, exclusion and deprivation of citizenship, [[102]] Daniel Wilsher  Immigration detention: law, history, politics,[[103]]  Raza Husain & Nicholas Blake (ed) Immigration, asylum, and human rights [[104]], Ian Burnett, Anna Kotzeva, Robin Tam & Lucy Murray Asylum and human rights appeals handbook [[105]], Gina Clayton Textbook on immigration and asylum law, 4th ed [[106]], Dallal Stevens UK asylum law and policy: historical and contemporary perspectives [[107]], Satvinder S Juss A guide to the Asylum and Immigration Act (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) 2004 [[108]], James Gillespie & Margaret Phelan  Immigration law handbook,[[109]] Carol Bohmer & Amy Shuman Rejecting refugees: political asylum in the 21st Century,[[110]] Kate E Tunstall (ed) Displacement, asylum, migration: the Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2004,[[111]] Ann Bernstein and Myron Weiner (ed) Migration and refugee policies: an overview,[[112]] Michael Dummett On immigration and refugees [[113]].


In the European Union, a good place to start research is the Encyclopedia of European Union Law edited by Neville March Hunnings. [[114]] Encyclopedia of European Community Law [[115]] In the European Union titles include Heijer, Maarten den Europe and extraterritorial asylum [[116]], Slingenberg, L Reception of asylum seekers under international law: between sovereignty and equality, [[117]] Reneman, M EU asylum procedures andthe right to an effective remedy, [[118]] S Peers, E Guild, D Acosta, K Groenendijk and V Moreno Lax (eds), EU immigration and asylum law, [[119]] Lambert, H Seeking asylum: comparative law and practice in selected European countries,[[120]] Calavita, K Immigrants at the margins: Law, race, and exclusion in Southern Europe,[[121]] Baldaccini, A; Guild, E & Toner, H Whose freedom, security and justice?: EU immigration and asylum law and policy [[122]], Slingenberg, L Reception of asylum seekers under international law: between sovereignty and equality [[123]], Nuala Mole & Catherine Meredith Asylum and the European Convention on human rights, [[124]] Ruth Rubio-Marin (ed) Human rights and immigration, [[125]] H Lambert, J McAdam and M Fullerton (eds), The Global Reach of European Refugee Law. [[126]]


One of the leading international texts in this area is Hathaway, JC & Foster, M Law of refugee status. [[127]] This text is held in many overseas libraries and is used extensively in many common law countries. This work is commonly relied upon within Australia, in particular when it comes to arguments about Australia's international obligations. See also Kneebone, S Stevens, D and Baldassar  L (ed)  Refugee protection and the role of law: conflicting identities,[[128]Hathaway, JC (ed) Human rights and refugee law,[[129]] Juss, SS & Harvey, C (ed)  Contemporary issues in refugee law[[130]] Gallagher, AT & David, F The international law of migrant smuggling,[[131]] Feller, E; Türk, V & Nicholson, F (eds) Refugee protection in international law: UNHCR's global consultations on international protection,[[132]] Goodwin-Gill, GS & McAdam, J The refugee in international law[[133]], Hathaway, JC The rights of refugees under international law[[134]], Dauvergne, C Making people illegal: what globalization means for migration and law [[135]], Kneebone, S (ed) Refugees, asylum seekers and the rule of law: comparative perspectives [[136]], Price, M Rethinking asylum: History, purpose, and limits [[137]], Westra, L Environmental justice and the rights of ecological refugees [[138]], Kneebone, S  and  Rawlings-Sanaei, F (eds) New regionalism and asylum seekers: challenges ahead, [[139]] Holmes, L (ed) Trafficking and forced migration: Australian, European and global perspectives,[[140]] Crepeau, F et al (eds) La dynamique complexe des migrations internationals,[[141]] Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees Asylum procedures: Report on policies and practices in IGC participating states,[[142]] Hurwitz, A Collective responsibility of states to protect refugees,[[143]] Zimmerman, A., The 1951 Convention on the Status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol - A Commentary ,[[144]] Lambert, H & Goodwin-Gill, G The use of foreign law by the judiciary in refugee law cases,[[145]] Schrag, PG,  Ramji-Nogales, J &  Schoenholtz, AI Refugee roulette: disparities in asylum adjudication and proposals for reform,[[146]] Wouters, K International legal standards for the protection from refoulement,[[147]] Phuong, C The international protection of internally displaced persons,[[148]] McAdam, J Complementary protection in international refugee law,[[149]] Foster, M International refugee law and socio-economic rights: Refuge from deprivation,[[150]] UNHCR State of the world’s refugees (various edns, latest is 2006)[[151]]; McAdam, J (ed), Climate change, forced migration, and international law,[[152]] McAdam, J (ed), Climate change and displacement: multidisciplinary perspectives,[[153]] Simeon, J Critical issues in international refugee law,[[154]]  Nicholson, F and Twomey, P (eds) Refugee rights and realities: evolving international concepts and regimes,[[155]] Weis, P The Refugee Convention, 1951: the travaux préparatoires analysed, with a commentary;[[156]] and The Collected travaux préparatoires of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, compiled by Alex Takkenberg & Christopher C Tahbaz[[157]] Gammeltoft-Hansen, T Access to asylum: international refugee law and the globalisation of migration control. [[158]] Another source is the Handbook on procedures and criteria for determining refugee status: under the 1951, Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees [[159]] and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Handbook for emergencies [[160]].


9.    International Law Sources

If readers are interested in treaties and international law sources, one of the key treaties in this area is the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees [[161]] and its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.  A key work is Zimmermann, A (ed) The 1951 Convention on the Status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol - A Commentary.[[162]] Another key source is the Handbook on procedures and criteria for determining refugee status: under the 1951 Convention and the 1967, Protocol relating to the status of refugees .[[163]] See also Plender, R Basic documents on international migration law, 3rd rev ed, which contains Pt. 1 General multilateral instruments -- Pt. 2 Texts governing nationality and statelessness -- Pt. 3 General instruments on refugees -- Pt. 4 Council of Europe instruments -- Pt. 5 European Union provisions governing freedom of movement for citizens and their dependents -- Pt. 6 The Schengen Acquis -- Pt. 7 The European Union’s asylum policy -- Pt. 8 Admission and residence in the European Union of third country nationals -- Pt. 9 International labour office materials -- Pt. 10 American treaties -- Pt. 11 African treaties[[164]] and Perruchoud, R & Tomolova, K (eds)   Compendium of international migration law instruments, which contains 1. Human Rights Law; 2. International Labour Law; 3. Nationality and Statelessness; 4. Trafficking and Smuggling; 5. International Maritime Law; 6. State Security; 7. Detainees; 8. Diplomatic and Consular Relations; 9. International Trade Law; 10. Migration and Development; 11. Minorities; 12. Refugee Law; 13. Internally Displaced Persons; 14. International Humanitarian Law. [[165]]


These are 'primary sources' (of law and guidance respectively) from an international law perspective. In this context, the Refugees Convention and Australia's other international obligations are only directly part of Australian law to the extent that they are given effect in legislation (although they can influence questions of statutory interpretation).


10. Journal Indexes and Articles

The major Australian and overseas journal indexes include:



Specialized journals include:



Non legal journals include:



Full text journal articles may be found in both print and electronic sources. For electronic Australian legal journals, see AustLII, LexisNexis Au, AGIS Plus Text and Westlaw AU. For Australian non legal books and journal articles, see Neumann, K., The resettlement of refugees in Australia: a bibliography. [[166]] For Canadian electronic legal journals, see HeinOnline, Quicklaw via LexisNexis Canada or LexisNexis. For United Kingdom, electronic legal journals see HeinOnline, LexisNexis and Westlaw.


11.  Current Awareness

There are many sources for current awareness ranging from newspapers, to radio and television broadcasts, websites.


In Australia, current newspapers and other news sites include:



In the United Kingdom, current newspapers and other news sites include:



In Canada, current newspapers and other news sites include:



12.  Conference and Seminar Papers

There have been a few conferences and seminars on refugees, of which one of the most recent is Offshore processing of asylum seekers: Australia's obligations held on 25th November 2006 at the University of Technology, Sydney. See also Moving on: forced migration and human rights, (Faculty of Law, University of Sydney), held 22 November 2005 at NSW Parliament House. The proceedings of this were published in J McAdam (Ed) Forced migration, human rights and security (Vol. 17 Studies in International Law).[[167]] International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ) World Conference – operating since 1995, 2013 conference held at UNSW on 23 March 2013.


See also Fynn, V (ed) Documenting the undocumented: redefining refugee status. [[168]]


13.  Multimedia Sources


13.1.        Australia


·     Asylum seekers [videorecording]: detainee riots, West Melbourne, Vic, Media

Monitors, 2002

·     Seeking asylum (videorecording), [Australia]: Piper Films, c2002

·     Tyler, Heather Asylum [sound recording]: voices behind the razor wire, Sydney, Australian Listening Library, 2003

·     The Asylum Seekers [sound recording], Australia: ABC Radio National, c2003

·     Masters, Anthony Asylum [sound recording], North Hobart, Hear A Book, 2003

·     Tampa and beyond (video and notes), Bendigo, Vic, Video Education Australasia, 2002

·   The Tampa issue [electronic resource]: all the significant cases and relevant legislation included on CD, [Sydney], Lawbook Co, 2002

·   Asylum debate, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law, 21 September 2010


13.2.               Canada



14.  Theses

There are many theses and one possible source was the Australian Digital Theses Program. Australian Digital Theses Program ceased operation on 28 March 2011. Australian theses are now searchable via the National Library of Australia’s Trove service.


Overseas there are a number of other sites, some of which have full text such as the UNSW Library. Recent examples include Elizabeth Biok’s Australia and refugees in the Asia Pacific, Andreas Schloenhardt’s Migrant smuggling: illegal migration and organised crime in Australia and the Asia, Julia Hinsliff’s Integration or exclusion?: the resettlement experiences of refugees in Australia, Christine Ratnasingham’s Australian quasi refugees and international refugee law: abetment or abdication?[[169]].


Many Canadian and other theses may be found by going to UMI ProQuest. Canadian theses and information about the Theses Canada program may be found here.


UK theses may be found at Index to Theses (UK) .



15.  Government Sites


15.1.      Australia



15.2.      Canada



15.3.      United Kingdom



15.4.      European Union



16. Organizations


In Australia there are:



In Canada there are:



In the United Kingdom there are:



In the European Union there are:


European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE)  is now a pan-European Alliance of refugee-assisting non-governmental organizations.


17.  Academic Centers


17.1.      Australia


·       Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights

·       Monash University Law School Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and the Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements

·       International Refugee Law Research Programme in the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at University of Melbourne Law School  

·       University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Australian Human Rights Centre  


17.2.               Canada


·       Centre for Refugee Studies, York University and Queen's University 

·       McGill University Faculty of Law, the Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism Migration and Mobility initiative


17.3.               United Kingdom



17.4.               Europe



18. Web Resources


·       For refugee status law in different countries, there's an updated Guide to Country Research for Refugee Status Determination.









·       International Association of Refugee Law Judges  is for appellate judges and adjudicators who give independent interpretation to the Refugee Convention.



·       Migration Act 1958 and associated Migration Regulations (since 1 September 1994)

·       Citizenship Act 1948 and associated Citizenship Regulations (since 10 April 1997)

·       Other Migration and Citizenship related legislation

·       Procedures Advice Manual 3

·       Migration Series Instructions

·       Australian Citizenship Instructions

·       Legislative Instruments (including Section 499 Directions and Gazette Notices).





·       Michigan-Melbourne Refugee Caselaw Site, collects, indexes, and publishes leading judgments on refugee law.









Further reading:



[[1]] Another guide: http://libguides.anu.edu.au/content.php?pid=273673&sid=2309640 – links to a variety of other bibliographic sources.

[[2]]  Senior Visiting Fellow, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and University of Western Sydney School of Law. Acknowledgement: To the following who assisted with previous editions of this work. Charles Beltz, Counsel, Australian Government Solicitor for his personal suggestions and to Professor Jane McAdam, University of New South Wales for her comprehensive comments and additions. Assistance was also provided by Frances Webber, Garden Court Chambers, London, Tamara Wood and Sally Richards both from the University of New South Wales. All errors are my responsibility.

[[3]] As cited in Teichmann, Max ‘Straws in the wind: boat opponents / The house that Don built’ News Weekly, 21 September  2002 http://newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=1149

[[4]] Australian Federal Election speeches John Howard, 2001 http://electionspeeches.moadoph.gov.au/speeches/2001-john-howard

[[5]] See the Refugee Review Tribunal’s Guide to refugee law in Australia, and also to Professor Jane McNamara’s complementary protection database of Australian and NZ decisions (which you can find on the resources page of her International Refugee and Migration Law Project at the G+T Centre of Public Law): http://www.gtcentre.unsw.edu.au/resources/international-refugee-and-migration-law-project.

[[6]] Now called Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

[[7]] Transcript : Tony Abbott's controversial speech at the Margaret Thatcher Lecture, Sydney Morning Herald 28 October 2015 http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/transcript-tony-abbotts-controversial-speech-at-the-margaret-thatcher-lecture-20151028-gkkg6p.html

[[8]] Toronto, Carswell, 2015 includes soft cover and CD.

[[9]] A number of these have been revised and amended since.  Have a look at European Council on Refugees and Exiles’s website for details, for example.

[[12]] Cowansville, Québec, Canada, Editions Y Blais, 1992.

[[13]] Hull, QC, Minister of Supply and Services, 1999

[[14]] Hull, QC, Minister of Supply and Services, 1994

[[15]] Ottawa, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 1997

[[16]] Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994.

[[17]] 2000 ed., Belconnen, ACT, Dept. of Immigration & Multicultural Affairs

[[18]] This was presented to Parliament on 27 February 2001.

[[21]] Canberra, Dept. of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, 2002

[[22]] Canberra, The Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee, 2006

[[23]] Sydney, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 2004

[[24]] Palmer, M (Chair), June 2005.

[[32]] For example, Gilbert, A and Koser, K Information dissemination to potential asylum seekers in countries of origin and/or transit, Home Office Findings No. 220, London, Home Office, 2004. See also UK Home Office Border Agency website regarding asylum seekers http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/asylum

[[33]] For example, Aspinall, P and Watters, C Refugees and asylum seekers. A review from an equality and human rights perspective, Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report 52, Manchester, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010

[[36]] For example, the 2011 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union and on the Activities of the European Asylum Support Office http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/pdf/easo_annual_report_final.pdf

[[37]] Aurora, Ont, Canada Law Book, 1996

[[38]] Toronto, Carswell, 1999

[[39]] Toronto, Irwin Law, 2007

[[40]] Markham, Ont, LexisNexis, 2009 (annual)

[[41]] Toronto, Emond Montgomery Publications, 2007

[[42]] Amsterdam, Kluwer Law International, 2001

[[43]] Kensington, NSW, New South Wales University Press, 1989

[[44]] Carlton, Vic, Melbourne University Press, 1994

[[45]] The Hague; M Nijhoff Publishers, 1997

[[46]] Vancouver, UBC Press, 2005

[[47]] Oxford, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014

[[48]] Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2014

[[49]] Leichhardt, NSW, Federation Press, 2015

[[50]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2014

[[51]]  Annandale, NSW, Federation Press, 2011

[[52]] Annandale, NSW, Federation Press, 2002

[[53]] Annandale, NSW, Federation Press, 2006

[[54]] Annandale, NSW, Federation Press, 1998

[[55]] Annandale, NSW, Federation Press, 1993

[[56]]  Annandale, NSW, Themis Press, 2006

[[57]] Annandale, NSW, Themis Press, 2007

[[58]] Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 2003

[[59]] Burlington, VT, Ashgate, 2003

[[60]] 3rd ed, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 2011

[[61]] Annandale, NSW: Federation Press, 2005

[[62]] Leichhardt, NSW, Themis Press, 2006

[[63]] Leichhardt, NSW, Federation Press, 2005

[[64]] Ultimo, NSW, Halstead Press, 2007 (UTS Law Review  No 9)

[[65]] Vancouver, UBC Press, 2005

[[66]] 3rd ed, Port Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 2011

[[67]] Bentleigh, Vic, Labor for Refugees, 2014

[[68]] Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT, Ashgate, [2014]

[[69]] Oxford, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 2014

[[70]] Collingwood, Vic, Black Inc, 2015

[[72]] Melbourne, Viking/Penguin, 2013

[[73]] St Lucia, Qld, University of Queensland Press, 2011

[[74]] Haymarket, Sydney, NSW, Centre for Policy Development, August 2011 http://cpd.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/CPD-Refugee_Report_Web.pdf

[[75]] Ringwood, Vic, Penguin, 2011

[[76]] Parkville, Vic, Melbourne University Press, 2001.

[[77]] Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2001

[[78]] St Ives, NSW, Sunda Publications, 2002

[[79]] Canberra, Dept. of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 2002.

[[80]] St Leonards, NSW, Centre for Independent Studies, c2002

[[81]] St Ives, NSW, Sunda Publications, 2002

[[82]] Ringwood, Vic, David Lovell Publishing, 2002

[[83]] Revised ed, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press, 2006

[[84]] Kings Cross, NSW, Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, 1998

[[85]] South Melbourne, Vic, Lothian, 2003

[[86]] Parramatta, NSW, Transcultural Mental Health Centre, 2003

[[87]] Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2004

[[88]] Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin, 2003

[[89]] Melbourne, Scribe, 2004

[[90]] Sydney, UNSW Press, 2005

[[91]] Leichhardt, NSW, The Federation Press, 2005

[[92]] Hoboken, Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2014

[[93]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014

[[94]] Routledge, London, 2014

[[95]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014

[[96]] New York, Oxford University Press, 2013

[[97]] London, Chatto & Windus, 2005

[[98]] Cambridge, UK,  Polity, 2011

[[99]] London, Pluto Press, 2012

[[100]] Refugee Review Tribunal, Canberra, The Tribunal, 1996.

[[101]] Canberra, TRANSACT, 1998

[[102]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2014

[[103]] Cambridge University Press UK, 2011

[[104]] 2d ed, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013

[[105]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008

[[106]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010

[[107]] London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2004

[[108]] London, Cavendish, 2005

[[109]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009

[[110]] Milton Park, UK, Routledge, 2007

[[111]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006

[[112]] London, Continuum, 2001

[[113]] London; New York, Routledge, 2001

[[114]] London, Sweet & Maxwell, (Looseleaf)

[[115]] London, Sweet & Maxwell (Looseleaf)

[[116]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2012

[[117]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2014

[[118]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2014

[[119]] 2nd ed, Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2012

[[120]] Dordrecht, M Nijhoff, 1995

[[121]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005

[[122]] Oxford, Hart, 2007

[[123]] Oxford, Hart, 2013

[[124]] 3d ed., Strasbourg, Council of Europe Publishing, 2010

[[125]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014 (Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law)

[[126]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013

[[127]] 2d ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014

[[128]] Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2014

[[129]] Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2013

[[130]] Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2013

[[131]] New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2014

[[132]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003

[[133]] 3d ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007

[[134]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005

[[135]] Cambridge , UK; New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008

[[136]] Cambridge, UK; New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009 

[[137]] Cambridge, UK; New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009 

[[138]] London; Sterling, VA, Earthscan, 2009

[[139]] Berghahn Books, Oxford. 2007

[[140]] Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008

[[141]] Montreal, Presses de l’Universite de Montreal,  2008

[[142]] Geneva, 2009. The Participating States are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

[[143]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.

[[144]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011. This research involved more than forty academics worldwide.

[[145]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010. The research involved academics in nine EU Member States.

[[146]] New York, New York University Press, 2009.

[[147]] Intersentia Uitgevers N V, 2009.

[[148]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

[[149]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007.

[[150]] Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 2009. The Phuong, McAdam and Foster titles are on specialist areas within international refugee law, rather than more general texts.

[[151]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.

[[152]] Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012. This one is purely on the law, whereas the other one is multidisciplinary.

[[153]] See https://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE004324074 for table of contents (Oxford Hart Publishing 2010.  

[[154]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

[[155]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999.

[[156]] Cambridge, New York, NY; Cambridge University Press, 1995.

[[157]] 2nd ed, Amsterdam, Dutch Refugee Council, 1990.

[[158]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

[[159]] Geneva, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, [1979]

[[160]] 3rd ed, Geneva, UNHCR 2007.

[[162]] Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011.

[[163]] Geneva, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, [1979]

[[164]] Leiden; Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2007.

[[165]] Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

[[166]] Swinburne University of Technology (3 Feb., 2016), Institute for Social Research, available at http://apo.org.au/resource/resettlement-refugees-australia-bibliography.

[[167]] Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2008. Also available electronically as part of Ebook Library

[[168]] Center for Refugee Studies 2009 Annual Conference Proceedings, April 16-17, 2009 at York University, Toronto, Canada, Boca Raton, Florida, Universal-Publishers, 2010

[[169]] University of Sydney, 2009, University of Adelaide Law School, 2003, University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2007, Australian National University, 2009. The second one also published Boston, Mass,  Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2003 

[[171]] International Organization for Migration – Institute of Geography Université de Neuchâtel (2012). Electronic copy available at http://publications.iom.int/books/people-move-changing-climate-bibliography.