This course critically examines international and regional laws (treaties and case-law), and domestic laws (legislation and case-law) and politics, relating to forced migration. Study will focus on contemporary refugee law and practice in Australia with a focus on international refugee law, international human rights law and the transplantation of those norms into domestic law via the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (and selected key cases interpreting and applying those laws).

Semester long - 1 day/week
Next course:
4 August 202113 October 2021 (see all)
Professor Peter Billings
UQ St Lucia (view map)
Enrolment options: 

What you will learn

Seminars will be student-centred and inquiry-based, with limited time allocated to teacher transmission of material in each class. Students will be expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of each topic revealed through familiarity and critical awareness of relevant primary and secondary sources, including official government publications and academic literature.

The course will provide students with an opportunity to undertake an extended piece of (inter-disciplinary) research on a socio-legal topic/problem related to those areas of study introduced and examined in the course, promoting advanced research and communication skills.

Students will critically examine how Australia has responded to the socio-politico-legal challenges of forced migration (refugee protection seekers) in the Asia-Pacific region from the last 1980s to date, with a particular emphasis on the topics listed below.

Topics covered

Topics covered include:

  • Who is a Refugee? 1.International Law’s Construction of a Refugee and Transplantation in Australian Domestic Law
  • Who is a Refugee? 2. Refugee Status under the Migration Act 1958: Divorcing Domestic Law from International Law?
  • Access to Refugee Protection: A Right to Seek Asylum? Operation Sovereign Borders and Interdiction at Sea
  • Access to Refugee Protection: To Deter, Detain and Deny: Offshore Regional Processing and Human Rights
  • Mandatory Immigration Detention in Australia: Prolonged and Indefinite Detention for Refugees (for Preventive Purposes)?
  • The Nature of Refugee Protection: Temporary versus Permanent Protection Visas
  • Access to Justice: Administrative Justice and the Complexities of Refugee Status Determination
  • The Rule of Law and Refugees: Judicial Review over Refugee Claims

Who is the course designed for

Our CPD courses are available to professionals interested in contemporary legal issues.

Whether you're looking to acquire CPD points, expand your knowledge in a specific area of the law, or gain a general understanding of legal issues impacting your profession, our courses will equip you to go further in every possible future.

Style of learning

Our courses are delivered in collaborative, seminar-style teaching environments, in the award-winning Forgan Smith building.

Our CPD participants benefit from small class sizes which encourage group discussion and debate, and 1-on-1 access to industry experts and leading researchers.


This course is delivered at UQ St Lucia campus.

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Enrol as CPD

This course is part of the Masters of Laws postgraduate program.

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Upcoming sessions

4 August 2021 9:00am13 October 2021 5:00pm
Professor Peter Billings

CPD enrolment closes two weeks prior to the course start date.

No entry requirements apply, you are not required to submit assessment and your course participation cannot be used as academic credit towards a degree qualification.

Our courses count toward Queensland Law Society Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points if you can demonstrate relevance to your legal practice.

Dr Peter Billings is an Associate Professor at UQ Law and a Fellow of the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law. He was the Director of Mooting in the Law School from 2011-2015. In 2014 he was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Warwick. His research interests are in particular areas of public law, administrative law, immigration and refugee law, social welfare law and the law relating to Indigenous Australians.