Publication:
Interpreting article 16 of the 1951 Refugee Convention: A study of State obligations to ensure access to courts for asylum seekers and refugees under international law

ac.person.orcid 0000-0002-3999-7843
ac.person.orcid 0000-0001-9821-1209
ac.person.position HDR Student
ac.person.position Staff
ac.person.position Staff
dc.contributor.advisor McAdam, Jane
dc.contributor.advisor Crouch, Melissa
dc.contributor.author Dunlop, Emma
dc.date.accessioned 2022-03-17T05:00:57Z
dc.date.available 2022-03-17T05:00:57Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.description.abstract This thesis examines the scope and content of article 16 of the 1951 Refugee Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It asks: What obligations bind Contracting States to provide asylum seekers and refugees with access to courts under article 16 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and do these obligations extend beyond those that otherwise bind States under international human rights treaties, customary international law, and general principles of law? The thesis identifies eight issues on which scholars’ views have evolved over time on article 16. These are (i) whether the term ‘refugee’ in article 16 encompasses the unrecognised asylum seeker; (ii) the scope of the term ‘courts’, and the provision’s application to refugee status determination proceedings; (iii) the geographic scope of the provision; (iv) whether ‘free’ access implies a guarantee of ‘effective’ access; (v) the appropriate definition of ‘habitual residence’, and whether legal residence is a prerequisite; (vi) the scope of the term ‘matters pertaining to access to the Courts’; (vii) the appropriate comparator for whether a ‘refugee’ is afforded ‘the same treatment as a national’; and (viii) whether article 16 obliges the Contracting State to create jurisdiction to hear a dispute where a court otherwise lacks competence. Through doctrinal analysis, the thesis investigates the historical origins of article 16; the extent to which its protections have been subsumed by international human rights law, customary international law, and general principles of law; and its ultimate scope. It concludes that gaps remain in the protective framework of international human rights law and general international law, but that the interpretative approach taken by courts and treaty bodies to the human rights treaties analysed – particularly regarding the principle of effectiveness – could usefully be adapted to interpret article 16. Applying an evolutionary, teleological approach to the interpretation of the 1951 Convention, the thesis then reaches conclusions on article 16’s scope and content that respond to the eight issues identified. It concludes that article 16 remains a relevant and robust source of protection for asylum seekers and refugees.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1959.4/100168
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher UNSW, Sydney
dc.rights CC BY 4.0
dc.rights.uri https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.subject.other access to courts
dc.subject.other asylum seekers
dc.subject.other refugees
dc.subject.other Refugee Convention
dc.title Interpreting article 16 of the 1951 Refugee Convention: A study of State obligations to ensure access to courts for asylum seekers and refugees under international law
dc.type Thesis
dcterms.accessRights embargoed access
dcterms.rightsHolder Dunlop, Emma
dspace.entity.type Publication
unsw.accessRights.uri http://purl.org/coar/access_right/c_f1cf
unsw.date.embargo 2024-03-17
unsw.description.embargoNote Embargoed until 2024-03-17
unsw.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.26190/unsworks/6995
unsw.relation.faculty Law & Justice
unsw.relation.school School of Global and Public Law
unsw.relation.school School of Global and Public Law
unsw.subject.fieldofresearchcode 480310 Public international law
unsw.subject.fieldofresearchcode 480701 Administrative law
unsw.thesis.degreetype PhD Doctorate
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