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This seminar will provide an opportunity to examine the changing legal context of migration governance in and around the Mediterranean. It will bring together academic lawyers and practitioners to discuss the workings of the legal regime of search and rescue, suppression of human smuggling, non-refoulement and the prohibition on collective expulsion. The aim is to focus on discrete recent legal developments in particular, and to explore their implications. These are UN Security Council Resolution 2240 (2015) on human smuggling in Libya, various EU Member States’ plans to erect further border walls and fences, and the communication of cases against Spain concerning its border practices in Ceuta and Melilla and their compatibility with the prohibition on collective expulsion.

Unfortunately, due to space restrictions, this special seminar is invitation only.


1:00    Registration, Sandwich lunch served

Chair & Convenor: Professor Cathryn Costello, Andrew W Mellon Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law

1:30    The Mediterranean as a Special Area of Responsibility (Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law, All Souls College)

2:00    UN Security Council Resolution 2240 (2015) - The Crime of Human Smuggling as a Threat to International Peace and Security (Professor Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Associate Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford)

2:30    Current Litigation Against Border Expulsions (Ms Nuala Mole, Director, AIRE Centre)

3:00    Q & A - Coffee Break

3:30    All at Sea - Operational and Legal Issues in Maritime Search and Rescue (Commander Patrick Burke, Legal Officer, Irish Defence Forces)

4:00    The Boat is Full - Non-Refoulement at Border Fences and Walls (Ms Stephanie Motz, Visiting Fellow, Refugee Studies Centre)

4:30    General Discussion and Closing Observations

5:00    End of Seminar


Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

Voluntary statelessness

Tuesday, 29 November 2022, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 1, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Palestine Refugees and International Law

Friday, 10 March 2023 to Saturday, 11 March 2023 @ University of Macedonia, Egnatia 156, Thessaloniki 546 36, Greece

Recognising Refugees | RSC Conference 2023

Monday, 20 March 2023 to Tuesday, 21 March 2023 @ Keble College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PG