Project title

Detaining Asylum Seeking Unaccompanied Children: A Comparative Study

Project duration 4 weeks, 24 June to 19 July 2019

The project concerns laws and practices regarding the immigration detention of unaccompanied minors across a number of jurisdictions.

The project examines the relevant legal frameworks in the selected jurisdictions, whether and how detention of unaccompanied children is permitted, levels of such children in detention, and whether there are gaps between law and practice. Detention of unaccompanied children in the examined jurisdictions is measured against the requirements of international law and best practice.

The project’s aim is to assess the degree to which unaccompanied children are detained and highlight gaps between law and practice, including gaps between international and national laws.

Jurisdiction selection is still tentative, but will likely comprise OECD countries.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The student will gain skills in legal research, including collation and analysis of sources and information from other jurisdictions. The research project may result in publication/s, including with the student.

The student will gain an understanding and appreciation of current legal issues relating to the control of irregular migration and asylum, as well as international laws and standards regarding the detention of children.  

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from students who have completed at least two years of a law degree at UQ, including both criminal law courses. Previous evidence of research experience and competency is desirable, as is an interest in issues regarding asylum seekers, irregular migration, and the rights of children.

Primary supervisor

Dr Joseph Lelliott

Further information

There is no need to contact the supervisor prior to an application, though applicants can email Dr Joseph Lelliott ( for further information.