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. Her thesis is on the role of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees in the European asylum system. Working as a teaching assistant in International and European Law at the University of Milan, she 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 takes part in training programmes for professionals working in reception facilities. She has authored a number of articles and book contributions in the field of EU asylum law, focusing on the case law of the European Courts

Mariana Gkliati, module convenor

Mariana Gkliati - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Mariana is a PhD researcher and lecturer at Leiden University. Her research in the area of asylum and immigration focuses on legal accountability and effective legal protection of individuals against human rights violations attributed to the EU agency Frontex. She lectures in masters and bachelors programmes on European Asylum Law and Migration Law and Policy in Europe.

Her work experience includes positions in Vienna, Athens and Leiden. Mariana has previously worked at the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in the area of asylum, migration and borders, and as a legal case reporter and commentator for Oxford Reports on International Law. Previously she had was a journalist, mainly covering stories on education and civil and social rights, and has done voluntary work for the Greek NGO AITIMA, which provides legal and social aid to asylum seekers and refugees.