The RLI annual conference serves as a dedicated forum for bringing together decision-makers and practitioners, policy-makers, academics and students to share, discover and debate the latest thinking and developments in the refugee protection field.

It also reflects our success in acting as a global platform for furthering research, dissemination and legal and policy impact in the refugee law field.

Conference Details

‘Inequality and Fairness in Refugee Protection’
7th Annual Conference
Refugee Law Initiative, University of London
21 - 23 June 2023
Senate House (In person)

The RLI Annual Conference offers a dedicated annual forum internationally to share and debate the latest research and cutting-edge developments in refugee protection. This conference builds on previous annual conferences by uniting academics, practitioners, policy-makers and students to consider pressing challenges in refugee law and policy.


2023 Theme and Thematic Panels

1. Dedicated Theme and Panels

This year’s dedicated conference theme – ‘Inequality and Fairness in Refugee Protection’ – asks how law and policy can address the profound challenges of inequality and unfairness experienced by refugees and other displaced persons in many parts of the world.

Alongside keynote presentations, about half of the panel sessions will be devoted to this theme. Proposals for these ‘thematic’ panels should speak directly to the special theme for this year. Possible topics for paper or panel submissions include the following:

  • What are the main forms of inequality faced by refugees today and historically? To what extent are they specific to the situation of refugees and/or connected to broader issues of injustice in global/national/local society? What does the pursuit of fair or equal treatment for refugees imply philosophically or sociologically?
  • How do law and policy at the national and international levels redress inequalities experienced by refugees in their enjoyment of civil and political rights? How about in the economic, social and cultural sphere? To what extent do laws and policies create inequalities rather than resolving them? How could they be made fairer?
  • How do refugee definitions in the Convention and in regional instruments (or in national law) engage with different kinds of inequality in the country of origin? Do they engage with issues of exclusion and inequality in economic status or climate change exposure, for example, as well as political or civic representation?
  • Is it fair or even permissible to distinguish between refugees in order to treat them differently? What are the legal, policy and ethical implications of such inequality between refugees? Do they depend on the reasons for unequal treatment, e.g. distinctions on the basis of nationality, mode of entry or other criteria?
  • How do inequalities between countries at the global, regional or even bilateral level shape their responses to the refugee issue? What does fairness or equality at this level of refugee law and policy sphere really mean, especially in relationship to so-called ‘responsibility-sharing’, given a fundamentally unfair world?
  • What is (or should be) the role of different institutions in the refugee regime in relation to addressing inequality or promoting fairness? Do these considerations differ across institutions, including federal States, sub-national governments, courts, international agencies, NGOs, refugee and host communities, universities etc.?
  • How do concepts of equality and fairness relate to debates about the representation of refugees, whether in terms of their inclusion in national society, policy processes at the national, local and international levels, or academic research and teaching? What about the role of host communities and other displacement-affected persons?

Note that these are pointers only and we welcome proposals on any aspect of debates concerning ‘in/equality’ in refugee law and protection.

2. Open Theme Panels

The remainder of panel slots will be open to ANY topic on law, policy and practice relating to refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and forced migrants. They offer a platform for a broader range of high-quality research in this field. Proposals to these panels can be for law, policy or practice at the international level, in the UK and Europe, or in any other country or region.

3. Call for Proposals - Papers, Panels and Posters

We invite paper and panel proposals (of 3-4 papers) for ‘thematic’ panels and for ‘open’ panels. Proposals must be sent as emailed Word attachments. The subject line of your email must state whether your proposal is for a single paper or a panel and whether it is for the ‘thematic’ or ‘open’ panels. Paper proposals must include an abstract of approx. 300 words and author full name and institutional affiliation. Panel proposals must include the full name and institutional affiliation of each panellist and an abstract of approx. 300 words for each paper included in the panel, as well as the overall rationale. Proposals will be selected by the committee based on quality, relevance, and coherence with other submissions.

We also invite proposals for posters to be presented at the drinks reception (see examples - This is a space that newer researchers, taught students, etc. may find more suitable. High-quality proposals not accepted for the panel sessions may be offered a place on the poster session. Please indicate in the subject line of your email if you are proposing a poster.

Please send proposals to by Friday 3rd February 2023. Initial decisions will be notified the week commencing Monday 6th February 2023. The decision of the selection committee is final. We welcome proposals from researchers and practitioners at any career stage and from any country, particularly those with lived experience of displacement.

4. Registration

All attendees, including presenters, will need to register for this in-person conference. Conference registration for one day only is not available.

A. Early Bird - booking completed before or on 1st March 2023: Standard - £120; Student, unemployed etc. - £100; RLI Affiliates (RAs, SRAs, MA Refugee Protection students) - £85

B. Non-Early Bird - booking completed after 1st March 2023: Standard - £150; Student, unemployed etc. - £125; RLI Affiliates (RAs, SRAs, MA Refugee Protection students) - £100

‘Early bird’ registration opens on Wednesday 9th November 2022 via the RLI website. Early bird tickets are non-refundable.

We strongly encourage registration, with a discounted rate available, by former or current refugees as presenters or participants at the conference. Please contact us at for further information.

Participants are responsible for making their own visa, travel and accommodation arrangements, which are not included in the registration fee. However, we can provide details for economical hotels close to the conference venue.

RLI Affiliates should note that we are planning an RLI Affiliates Workshop before the conference proceedings on 20th June and to note this when making travel arrangements.

A limited number of places are available so please book early to avoid disappointment. 

5. Draft Programme

6. Practical Information

Please find the conference practical information guide here which outlines how to find the venue, accommodation information and details on the poster session.

Previous Conferences