Not available in 2022/23
LL4BB      Half Unit
International Law and the Movement of Persons Between States

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chaloka Beyani

Associate Professor of Law and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons 2010-2016. Member of the UN Secretary General's Human Rights Up Front 2014 and continuing.


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Human Rights, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Public International Law and Human Rights Law.

This course has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.

Course content

The course provides a detailed study of the international legal framework in which the causes, problems, policies, standards, techniques and institutions concerning the protection of asylum seekers, refugees and refugee women, and migrants are situated. The course explores the overlap between International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, the phenomenon of Migration, including Human Trafficking in the context of refugees, legal and illegal migrants. It covers: the definition of refugees, legal and illegal migrants, including trafficking in human beings; the concepts of 'well-founded fear' of persecution and group eligibility to refugee protection; procedures for determining refugee status on an individual and group basis, in Africa, Asia, Australia, the European Union, North America, and Latin America; temporary protection; the process of exclusion from refugee protection; the role, in refugee law and human rights, of the principle of non-refoulement in refugee protection; the cessation of refugee status, voluntary repatriation, and safe return; standards applicable in international law to the protection of refugees, migrants, and evolving standards against human trafficking; the regulation of migration in regional economic and political unions, namely the European Union, East African Community, the Union of West African States, the Caribbean Community and the Southern African Development Community; and finally the institutional protection of refugees, and migrants by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the, the International Organisation for Migration. Topics include: • International Law and the Movement of Persons Between States • Definition of Refugees • The Right to Seek and Obtain Asylum and Determination of Refugee Status • Exclusion from Refugee Protection • Protection of asylum seekers and refugees from Refoulement • Standards of Protection and cessation of refugee status • Definition of Migrants • Protection of Migrants in International Human Rights Law • Regional Integration and Migration • Trafficking in Human Beings and Human Smuggling


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

G.S. Goodwin-Gill and Jane MacAdam, The Refugee in International Law, 3rd ed., (Oxford, 2007) J. Hathaway, The Rights of Refugees under International Law (Cambridge, 2005) E. Feller, V. Turk and F. Nicholson, Refugee Protection in International Law: UNHCR’s Global Consultations on International Protection (Cambridge University Press 2003) I. Brownlie and G. Goodwin-Gill, Basic Documents on Human Rights latest edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, OR Ghandi, International Human Rights Documents, latest edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2021/22: 41

Average class size 2021/22: 20

Controlled access 2021/22: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills