LAW37600 Migration Law

Academic Year 2022/2023

States have a right under international law to limit access by non-citizens to a state. Rights of non-citizens in a State may differ to those who are citizens or permitted residents. This module engages with questions regarding how law permits or potentially limits State regulation pertaining to migration. This module examines the key sources of migration law, analyses the role and purpose of borders, aspects of Irish economic migration law and rights of persons who are undocumented. The module then turns to consider aspects of refugee law, as well as and deportation.

While jurisdictionally focused on Ireland, migration law does not exist in a domestic legal vacuum. Ireland is a dualist legal system, where international law applies only to the extent that the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) determine. However, Irish courts have often utilised international law as a subsidiary means of interpretation. The special status of European Union law means that it forms part of the Irish legal system. In addition, aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights can impact on Irish migration law.

This module is assessed by an end of trimester closed book two hour examination (100%).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this module, diligent students should be able to:

i. Consider the law and politics of migration and borders within international, European, and domestic settings.
ii. Evaluate the effectiveness or otherwise of human rights protections for different categories of migrants.
iii. Critically explore aspects of labour migration law.
iv. Demonstrate a high level of knowledge of refugee law.
v. Comprehend, discuss, and challenge the functions and purpose of migration controls at the international, European and national level.

Indicative Module Content:

This content is indicative of what this module will explore in 2023, and is subject to change due to legal developments.

This module engages with two key themes that will provide students with fascinating insights into issues of migration law. The module will commence with an introductory lecture on sources of migration law and borders. The module then examines:

Theme One Labour Migration Law: We examine international human rights and migrant workers, labour migration law in Ireland, and the rights of persons who are undocumented in the Irish legal system.

Theme Two The Refugee Definition: Protection from Persecution: We explore issues such as entry into the EU for the purposes of lodging a refugee claim, along with the ‘Dublin System’. With a detailed focus on the International Protection Act 2015 (as amended), the issue of Ireland's responsibility for determining a refugee claim, the legal grounds that must be proved for a person to be granted refugee status in Ireland, exclusions from refugee protection, as well as the procedures for claiming protection in Ireland.

The module concludes with a select exploration of Deportation and Removal Law in Ireland.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is lecture based, with student engagement and interaction required throughout lectures.

Relevant readings -legislation, case-law, secondary sources- will be identified in lecture reading lists and/or PowerPoints. PowerPoints will be available to all students prior to each lecture. At relevant points of the module, students will be directed to reading, which must be completed prior to the lecture. This will assist in ensuring lecture based student discussion and analysis of key areas of legal controversy, and this will be an essential part of this course.

Approaches to teaching and learning will will include: reflective learning, case-law based learning and critical thinking approaches to Migration Law. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: A two hour closed book end of trimester examination. Those sitting the exam will be provided with an indication of exam topics throughout the module. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual Feedback on Learning (Throughout the Semester): Should students require feedback on their learning for this module, then students are encouraged to self-assess their learning, and seek clarification by asking a question on Brightspace discussion boards and/or arranging an individual consultation during office hours. Group class feedback on Examination (100%): Group feedback will be available on the examination and available to students once the University releases your final grade for this module, and the School of Law directs feedback be provided in June 2023. Individual feedback on the take-home examination: After results are released, you will have an opportunity to receive individual feedback. This will be available once grades are final. You will receive information on the process for obtaining individual feedback on your exam for this module in late June 2023, via Brightspace.

Various legislation including, International Protection Act 2015 (as amended), Employment Acts (as revised), EU Treaties/ Directives/Regulations, international legal instruments. 'Soft' law materials will also be engaged with.

Case law from Irish courts, Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights will be prescribed reading, depending on the topic.

You will be referred to relevant secondary legal materials (books, book chapters, journal articles, blogs, reports etc.) as appropriate in the week-by-week reading lists. I will only be recommending materials that you can have ready access to either through UCD Library or freely available on-line (such as on academic institutional repositories).

Please note that there is no required text for purchase for this module. Reading and other materials will be available from UCD Library (online or offline).

In addition to the precise readings you may be referred to, the following is a select bibliography that may assist in furthering your understanding and knowledge of migration law.

E-Book: Vincent Chetail, Philippe De Bruycker, and Francesco Maiani, Reforming the Common European Asylum System : The New European Refugee Law (Brill 2016)
E-Book: Cathryn Costello, The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law (OUP 2016).
E-Book: James C. Hathaway and Michelle Foster, The Law of Refugee Status (2nd edn, OUP 2014).
Library Copies Only: John Stanley, Immigration and Citizenship Law (Roundhall 2017).

You should develop the practice of consulting the leading academic journals in the migration law field. You will be referred to articles within the reading list, but you should seek to augment these through your own research. This will keep you up to date with current developments. These journals can be accessed through UCD Library, and may include:

Journal of Refugee Studies
Journal of Migration and Refugee Issues
International Journal of Refugee Law
European Law Review
European Public Law
International and Comparative Law Quarterly.
Irish Law Times.
Name Role
Professor Cathryn Costello Lecturer / Co-Lecturer