SOAS University of London

School of Law

Asylum and Immigration Law

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Full Year

Important: Module Convenor approval required.

The module will provide an in-depth introduction to asylum and immigration law in the United Kingdom. It covers key concepts; the development of the field of law viewed in historical and political context; asylum law, particularly the refugee definition, status determination and procedural rights; questions of nationality and the system of immigration control and enforcement. It also considers how EU law and human rights standards impact(ed) UK law governing aslyum and immigration. Drawing on a range of theoretical accounts, policy documents, case law and critical analysis of developments at the national, regional and international level, the module enables students to acquire both sound knowledge of the law and critical awareness of the biases, gaps and challenges in the current system. By locating UK asylum and immigration law in the broader context of global developments, it allows students to appreciate the multiple standpoints and factors that influence law and practice in the field. This is complemented by a clinic element that offers students the opportunity to gain fist-hand experience of applying aslyum and immigration law through working with a cross-section of practitioners (community law centres, NGOs, law firms). The module design of combining theory and practice is also aimed at a better appreciation of the human dimension of immigration and asylum law, learning and reflecting upon how refugees and migrants experience the law.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the various legal concepts, rules, institutions and procedures in the field of asylum and immigration law
  • Debate the role of law and legal institutions in respect of asylum and immigration
  • Develop cogent arguments in the relevant field based on theoretical, practical and comparative sources
  • Identify and critically appraise the multiple factors, including doctrines and biases, that influence the development and application of asylum and immigration law
  • Reflect critically on the role of the law in shaping the experiences of migrants and asylum seekers, including the protection of their rights
  • Competently apply this knowledge in practical settings.


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture

Method of assessment

Formative Assessment

Informal presentations on clinic work and in response to latest developments in the field

Summative Assessments

Coursework: 30% (3000 words), 20% (Clinic Brief; 2000 words)

Unseen Written Examination: 50%

Suggested reading

  • Bridget Anderson, Us & Them: The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Efrat Arbel, Catherine Dauvergne and Jenni Millbank (eds.), Gender in Refugee Law: From the Margins to the Centre (Routledge, 2014)
  • Mary Bosworth, Inside Immigration Detention (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Gina Clayton, Textbook on Immigration and Asylum Law, 6th edn. (Oxford University Press, 2014)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules