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refugees and migrants disembarking from the SOS Mediterranee ship in Catania, Sicily © UNHCR/Iosto Ibba
Refugees and migrants arrive in Catania, Sicily, after being rescued at sea

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law was published in spring 2021. It aims not just to recount the status quo, but also to critique it and set the agenda for future research on international refugee law. It is a 65-chapter reference work with 78 authors, of whom 48 are women. The gender (im)balance of the authors and editors reflects a notable feminization of this field of study, one which has decisively influenced its development. The Handbook differs significantly from existing reference works on international refugee law, in terms of both its breadth and depth. In their choices about authors, topics, and overall structure, the editors aspired for it to be global in scope. In terms of law, they sought to ensure consideration of a wide range of international legal instruments relevant to refugee protection. While the Refugee Convention is a central instrument and reference point, it is not the only one. Refugee protection involves many sources of law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international migration law, the law of the sea, and international and transnational criminal law. Geographically, the editors aimed to reflect on the practice of States globally, not just those in the Global North and/or parties to the Refugee Convention.

This collaboration was supported by the research partnership between Professors Foster and Costello funded by the MLS-Oxford Myers fund; the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney; and the Refugee Studies Centre.

The team

  • Cathryn Costello
    Cathryn Costello

    Andrew W Mellon Professor of International Refugee and Migration Law / Professor of Fundamental Rights and Co-Director, Centre for Fundamental Rights, Hertie School, Berlin

  • Jane McAdam
    Jane McAdam

    Scientia Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales

  • Michelle Foster
    Michelle Foster

    Professor and Director, Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Melbourne Law School

Handbook Workshop

workshop on the Handbook was held at All Souls College, Oxford, in July 2019, bringing together an outstanding group of scholars from across the globe. 

Selected publications