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. We 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).

Seminars will be student-centred and inquiry-based, with limited time allocated to teacher transmission of material in each class. You 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 you 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.

You 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.

Public International Law
Tuesdays 11am-2pm, 2 August - 11 October (8 weeks)
Next course:
2 August 2022 (see all)
Professor Peter Billings
UQ St Lucia (view map)
Enrolment options: 

Topics covered

  • 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 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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Please note detailed session dates and times will be available closer to the course start date.

Upcoming sessions

2 August 2022 11:00am2:00pm
9 August 2022 11:00am2:00pm
16 August 2022 11:00am2:00pm
30 August 2022 11:00am2:00pm
6 September 2022 11:00am2:00pm
13 September 2022 11:00am2:00pm
4 October 2022 11:00am2:00pm
11 October 2022 11:00am2:00pm
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.