The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
20 October 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Refugees and internally displaced persons constitute between 68.5 million people. The aim of this module is to examine the protection they receive in international law. Legal definitions of refugee status, both international and regional, are the focus, along with the guarantees provided through international human rights law. In addition, the module explores limitations placed on their international commitments by states in Europe and North America. The final part of the module reviews the interface between international refugee law and international criminal law.

Module aims

The module will provide students with necessary understanding of the protection of refugees and displaced persons in International Law as a necessary basis for further study and careers within this field. It is expected that upon successful completion of the course, students will have a thorough knowledge and insight of the pertinent international legal frameworks and the ability to apply them as appropriate.

Module learning outcomes

Module Learning Outcomes (i) Students will gain an understanding of the nature of international refugee law and relevant aspects of international human rights law and international criminal law,
(ii) Students will learn about the various regional responses to the protection of refugees and other displaced persons.
(iii) Students are encouraged to develop analytical and critical skills relating to the protection of refugees and other displaced persons in international law.
(iv) Students will learn about cessation of status and exclusion from status.
(v) Students are provided with a solid foundation for the further study and research of more specialist areas of international law pertinent to forced displacement.

Module information

Topics covered:
Seminar 1 - Introduction with History and Non-Refugees
Seminar 2 - Refugee status under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
Seminar 3 - Membership of a Particular Social Group, especially gender
Seminars 4 and 5 - Non-refoulement under Article 33.1 and Complementary Protection
Seminar 6 and 7 - Regional Mechanisms, including armed conflict
Seminars 8 and 9 - Exclusion and Cessation

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be taught via weekly 2-hour seminars. The module teaching team will upload all relevant teaching materials on Moodle. You will find reading lists, the textbook, weekly handouts or PPS notes on Moodle. The materials in question are designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the seminars and to equip you to analyse the required readings. You will be expected to have completed the required readings in advance of your seminars.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (LW907 Protection of Refugees)    100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Geoff Gilbert, email: g.gilbert@essex.ac.uk.
Law Education Office, pgtlawqueries@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Luke Moffett
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 4 (22.2%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
14 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Law School

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