Statelessness, nationality and the protection of stateless persons


This module explores the international law relating to statelessness and stateless persons and its development over the past sixty years.

Topics covered

  • The concept of ‘nationality’ under international law and the extent of the problem of statelessness worldwide
  • The international community’s responses to statelessness and the development of legal frameworks intended to both reduce/eliminate statelessness and to protect stateless persons.
  • The definition of ‘stateless person’ and challenges faced in applying this definition in practice.
  • The role of human rights law in reducing and preventing statelessness and protecting stateless people.
  • The expanding mandate of UNHCR in respect of Stateless Persons, and national laws and policies relating to statelessness

Learning outcomes

This module provides you with an advanced critical understanding of the concepts, theories, legal/policy standards and mechanisms pertaining to statelessness and stateless persons. You will learn to develop, advance and defend legal and policy arguments evaluating concepts, theories and laws on statelessness and nationality.


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

Dr Tamás Molnár

Dr Tamás Molnár - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Tamás graduated at the Eötvös Lorand University of Budapest (ELTE), Faculty of Law in 2003 (cum laude) and the Université libre de Bruxelles, Institut d’Etudes Européennes in 2006 (LLM in EU law grande disctinction) then obtained his PhD in public international law in 2013 at ELTE.
He is a visiting lecturer on international migration law in the Corvinus University of Budapest, Department of International Relations and has published widely in the fields of international law, EU law and statelessness law.

Since 2010, he has done consultancy for UNHCR on statelessness issues and for the European Network on Statelessness since 2014. Since 2016, he works for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (Vienna) as a legal research officer on asylum, migration and borders in the field of statelessness.

Previously Tamás was head of the Migration Unit, Department of EU Cooperation, Ministry of the Interior of Hungary (2010-14), and was charged with the drafting of the Hungarian statelessness determination procedure in 2006–07. He is an associate member of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and holds several other European memberships.

Member institution: School of Advanced Study
Caia Vlieks

Caia Vlieks - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Caia is Research and Education Officer at the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. She is also lecturer and researcher at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Her doctoral research concerns the issue of statelessness in Europe and focuses on European legal instruments that can contribute to preventing and solving statelessness in light of the changing conceptions of nationality and citizenship, and the right to a nationality.

Caia has considerable experience in teaching statelessness and fundamental rights, and has published different articles and papers on the issue of statelessness. Caia holds an LLM in international and European law (cum laude) and an LLM in legal research (cum laude) from Tilburg University.