Asylum law in Europe: towards regional harmonisation of international protection


This module explores the legal and policy frameworks which apply to refugees and other displaced persons in and around Europe.

Topics covered

  • Refugee flows and asylum trends in Europe and the historical development of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as well as its scope and objectives
  • The main provisions governing qualification for refugee status under the CEAS
  • The EU form of complementary protection, ‘subsidiary protection’, and its application to those fleeing armed conflict
  • Reception conditions for asylum seekers and asylum procedures under the CEAS
  • The EU’s responsibility-allocation system for the examination of asylum claims and the principle of intra-EU solidarity and fair-sharing of responsibility
  • The EU asylum system’s external dimension and the EU’s role as a global protection actor

Learning outcomes

The module seeks to impart a solid critical understanding of the key concepts, standards and mechanisms of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe asylum systems. You will learn how to construct, advance and defend legal and policy arguments based on European asylum law and apply the relevant legal standards to factual case studies.


This elective module is assessed via a 4,000-word research essay, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and three online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.

Module team

Giulia Vicini, module convenor

Giulia Vicini - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Giulia is a PhD candidate in International and European Law at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is writing a thesis on the role of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees in the European asylum system. She is a teaching assistant in International and European Law at the University of Milan, and also runs a legal clinic on the protection of migrants and refugees in an LLM programme on sustainable development. Giulia works as a barrister in Milan, primarily assisting asylum seekers before national courts, and participates in training programmes for professionals working in reception facilities.

She is author of a number of articles and book contributions in the field of EU asylum
Law, focusing on the case law of the European Courts. Her publications
include ‘The Dublin Regulation between Strasbourg and Luxembourg: reshaping nonrefoulement in the name of mutual trust?’ in the European Journal of Legal Studies 8(2)
2015 and ‘Conscientious objection to military service and the notion of persecution
in European Union asylum law: the Shepherd Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union’ in the Journal of International Criminal Justice 13(4) 2015.

Mariana Gkliati, module convenor

Mariana Gkliati - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Mariana completed her PhD at Leiden University on the legal responsibility of the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex for human rights violations. Next to the University of London, she also teaches at the Migration Law Clinic of Roma Tre University.

She currently runs a postdoctoral project, titled 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency: Systemic Accountability in Practice', which engages a large network of collaboration of legal practitioners, policy-makers and researchers and focuses, amongst other angles on the externalisation of the work of Frontex in West Africa.