Refugee Law

Course number: LAW 3980

Second and third year – perspective

Course Description & Objectives:

This course focuses on refugee law from both a domestic and international framework.

Refugee protection in Canada (with a focus on the refugee definition, inland refugee claims, resettlement and private sponsorship) will be discussed in relation to international obligations, sovereignty, recent legislative and policy changes, and border control. Theoretical perspectives will situate the course and be brought in throughout.  Students will have the opportunity to observe a refugee claim, speak with local refugee lawyers and possibly work directly with refugee settlement agencies.

This course does not cover economic or family class admissions to Canada or citizenship law. However, due to overlap, students who took Law 3212 Immigration and Refugee Law in Winter 2017 are not permitted to enroll in this course.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and interpret key provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.
  • Assess how government policy affects the implementation and effect of the law.
  • Discuss the role of international law in domestic law.
  • Formulate positions on the law and decision-making as well as evaluate public policy and ethical debates surrounding asylum seekers and refugee resettlement.
  • Apply the knowledge acquired in the course in the form of clear, persuasive written assignments.


Course materials will be posted to UMLearn or available electronically through CanLII or UM Library as set out in the syllabus.

Optional: Peter Showler, Refugee Sandwich: Stories of Exile and Asylum (McGill-Queen’s University Press: 2006). Available from UofM Bookstore or on reserve in the Law Library.

Course Evaluation:

  1. Case Summaries (20%)
  2. Written Reflection (20%)
  3. Research Assignment (50%)
  4. Class Attendance and Participation (10%)

INSTRUCTOR: Shauna Labman

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