Protection from 'refuge'

Image of lifeboat in the stormy sea

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 30 June 2016


Seminar Room 1.13, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Kate Ogg


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

The PhD midterm review seminar provides an opportunity for PhD scholars to give an update on the progress of their doctoral research and to receive feedback from beyond their supervisory panel.

This thesis addresses an emerging trend whereby refugees are coming to the courts but they are not seeking protection from persecution in their home country. Rather, they are seeking protection from a place of ‘refuge’.

These ‘protection from ‘refuge’’ cases present difficult questions for decision makers: on what grounds can a refugee or aspirant refugee be protected from a place that may present human rights and protection concerns but to thousands of others, notionally at least, is a place of ‘refuge’?

This thesis examines the ways in which decision makers determine these ‘protection from ‘refuge’’ cases. Kate Ogg’s current research indicates that most decision makers focus on the refugee’s personal circumstances, rather than the protection available in the place of ‘refuge’, and will only protect a refugee from a place of ‘refuge’ if he or she is exceptional in some way.

Kate argues that this approach inhibits judicial consideration of the scope, quality, and purposive function of refuge. Further, such judicial disengagement perpetuates a narrow concept of refuge and may result in refugee law developing in an asymmetrical fashion.

In particular, a dynamic approach to the refugee definition, alongside judicial disengagement with the various notions of refuge in the Refugee Convention, risks expanding the categories of people who qualify as refugees while truncating the scope of protection they are owed.

About the Speaker

Kate Ogg is a full time lecturer at the ANU College of Law where she teaches International Law of Human Rights and Litigation and Dispute Management. Before starting her career as an academic Kate practised as a litigation solicitor in international and Australian law firms.

Kate has a background in both law and sociology and undertakes interdisciplinary research in the areas of refugee law, human rights law, litigation, access to justice and feminist legal theory.

Her recent research has focussed on the exclusion of women from the Refugee Convention on the grounds of criminality, the legal meaning of ‘effective protection’ for refugees, the legalities of seeking asylum at embassies and the links between refugee law and transitional justice.

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