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Cathryn Costello addresses the workshop participants

In late July 2019, the RSC hosted a workshop at All Souls College preparing for the Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law. Convened by the Handbook’s editors, Professor Cathryn Costello (RSC) and RSC Research Associates, Professors Michelle Foster (University of Melbourne) and Jane McAdam (Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW), the workshop brought together an outstanding group of scholars from across the globe including Professor E Tendayi Achiume (UCLA), Professor Vincent Chetail (University of Geneva), Dr Madeline Garlick (UNHCR), Professor Elspeth Guild (Queen Mary University of London), Professor Rebecca Hamlin (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Professor Audrey Macklin (University of Toronto), Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn (Chulalongkorn University), and Professor Marjoleine Zieck (University of Amsterdam). The volume has over 60 contributors, including Professor Seyla Benhabib (Yale University), Alvaro Botaro (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights), Professor BS Chimni (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Professor James Hathaway (University of Michigan), Professor Gregor Noll (Gothenburg University), Professor Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen (Copenhagen University), Professor Fatima Khan (University of Cape Town), and Professor Kristen Sandvik (PRIO and University of Oslo).

The Handbook aims to take a global view of international refugee law, bringing together leading scholars from across the globe to undertake a critical analysis, seeking to define the field and set the agenda for future research. It is global in substantive, legal, and geographical senses. Substantively, the Handbook aims to balance coverage of traditional core topics in refugee law, such as the refugee definition, with contemporary concerns around states’ restrictive practices, and new challenges, such the role of technology in refugee protection. It will also include interdisciplinary reflections on international law pertaining to refugees, from ethical and political perspectives, and critical perspectives from a feminist, postcolonial and queer legal-theoretical perspectives.

Legally, the global aspiration is reflected in the inclusion of not only international refugee law stricto sensu, but also contributions examining how other fields of international law affect refugees and displacement, including international humanitarian law, human rights law, international criminal law, and the law relating to the responsibility of states and international organisations. Geographically, the Handbook contains chapters on international refugee law across the globe, including understudied regions, for instance including four chapters on different parts of Asia. The contributors come from over 30 countries, reflecting a concerted effort to reflect the diversity in the legal academy on this topic.

The event was supported by RSC funding from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as an ongoing Oxford Law Faculty – Melbourne Law School partnership grant held by Professors Costello and Foster, and the Kaldor Centre. The Handbook is due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2021.