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Refugee Protection and AAA and others (2023-4)

Hosted by Border Criminologies and the Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford) with The Dickson Poon School of Law (King’s College London).

This series of panel discussions will examine the arguments advanced in R (on the application of AAA and others) v SSHD and analyse its implications for Rwanda, the UK, and for refugee protection more broadly.

Our panels bring together speakers whose expertise and experience makes them uniquely placed to explore the consequences of the Supreme Court’s judgement from a range of jurisdictional, institutional, political and legal perspectives.


Nicola Palmer, Reader in Criminal Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law.

Catherine Briddick, Andrew W Mellon Associate Professor of International Human Rights and Refugee Law, Refugee Studies Centre.


In April 2022, the UK Government and Rwanda entered into a Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This political agreement seeks to enable the ‘transfer’, or forced removal, of asylum-seekers from the UK to Rwanda to have their claims determined there. 

In May and June 2022, a group of asylum-seekers who arrived irregularly were told that their asylum claims were not going to be decided in the UK. Instead, they were to be removed to Rwanda to have their claims determined there, in accordance with Rwandan asylum law and procedure. Following the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights, no removals to Rwanda have taken place. 

The appellants in AAA and others are asylum-seekers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Sudan, and Albania and the charity, Asylum Aid. They challenge both the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy in general, and the decisions made in each individual case. On 29 June 2023 a majority of the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government’s plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. The Supreme Court’s judgement on the appeal is expected in early 2024.

Panel 1: International Refugee Law and Safe Third Countries

Wednesday 22 November, 5pm via Zoom

Chair: Dr Catherine Briddick

Watch the seminar video on Vimeo


Professor Cathryn Costello (University College Dublin)

Cathryn Costello is Full Professor of Global Refugee and Migration Law at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin. She was formerly Professor of Fundamental Rights and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School (2020 – 2023), and she remains a Visiting Professor at the Hertie School. She was Andrew W Mellon Professor of International Refugee and Migration Law at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford (2013-2023). She is a leading scholar of international and European refugee and migration law and also explores the relationship between migration and labour law in her work. She is currently the Principal Investigator of RefMig, a five-year ERC-funded research project exploring refugee mobility, recognition and rights, and the Volkswagen Foundation funded AFAR (Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) project. She has also undertaken research for UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. She holds a doctorate in law from the University of Oxford.

Raza Husain KC (Barrister, Matrix Chambers)

Raza Husain specialises in public law, with an emphasis on immigration and human rights. Raza was appointed silk in 2010, and nominated in 2013 year as Human Rights Silk of the Year, having previously been awarded Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards in 2007.  In 2013 Raza was listed among the top 100 silks practising in all fields at the UK bar. Raza won Silk of the Year at Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023. Raza has appeared in over 30 cases in the Supreme Court or House of Lords. In the last 14, he has appeared as leading advocate, on each occasion successfully save once. Raza has a significant international practice.  He regularly appears before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  He regularly advises and is instructed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Raza regularly acts for high profile individuals and has a particular expertise in the interface between extradition, the political motivation bar, and asylum. 

Dr Madeline Garlick (UNHCR)

Madeline Garlick is Chief of the Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She is also Guest Researcher at the Centre for Migration Law, Radboud University, the Netherlands, and teaches on an occasional basis at Sciences Po, Paris, Oxford University and at the College of Europe, Bruges. Madeline Garlick was responsible for UNHCR’s liaison with the EU institutions from 2004–2013. She has worked for the Migration Policy Institute, the UN in Cyprus and Bosnia and Herzegovina on legal issues related to the rights of displaced people. She is a qualified barrister and solicitor in Victoria, Australia.

Panel 2: Borders, Racialisation, and Refugee Protection in Rwanda

Wednesday 29 November, 5pm via Zoom

Chair: Dr Nicola Palmer

Speakers: Professor Michael Collyer, Dr Frank Habineza MP, Dr Felix Ndahinda, and Dr Uttara Shahani

See the Seminar page for registration.

Panel 3: The Illegal Migration Act 2023 following AAA and others

Wednesday 24 January, 5pm

Chair: Dr Alpa Parmar

Speakers tbc


Download the Michaelmas term's RSC events poster.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

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

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.

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

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA