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.

‘Pacts, Promises and Refugee Protection’
8th Annual Conference, Refugee Law Initiative, University of London
3 - 5 June 2024


The 8th Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) will be held in-person in 2024 from Monday 3rd June to Wednesday 5th June at Senate House, University of London.

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.

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Further details for the 8th Annual Conference

1. 2024 DEDICATED THEME AND PANELS

This year’s dedicated conference theme – ‘Pacts, Promises and Protection’ – interrogates the proliferation across the world of a range of new quasi-legal pacts on refugee protection. 

An growing array of quasi-legal pacts between governments (and others) impact on refugee protection today. They include global compacts on refugees and migration, regional pacts like the EU Pact, Dublin Agreement, and Cartagena process, multilateral pacts, including voluntary repatriation agreements and CRRFs, and bilateral pacts, e.g. the UK-Rwanda deal, Italy-Libya deal and US-Canada agreement. They have a complicated relationship to the UN and regional treaties on refugees and human rights that underpin international protection.

What do such quasi-legal pacts mean for the future of refugee protection? How do they shift our understandings of this field of law? What is their impact on the lived experience of refugees? These key questions will be addressed by the ‘thematic’ panels at this year’s conference. Possible topics for proposals for these ‘thematic’ panels could include:

  • How do we theorise these quasi-legal pacts and their appeal? How do they shift the existing system of refugee protection? Do existing legal standards limit the content of the pacts? Does their proliferation undermine or strengthen regime coherence? 
  • What politics underpin these new pacts? To what extent do they reflect refugee interests or participation? What are their wider political and economic implications, e.g. on global/regional politics of refugee protection, human rights, migration etc.?
  • How are such pacts implemented in practice? What are their effects on refugees? Do they provide for accountability mechanisms? Are their provisions challengeable before national or international courts? What view do courts take of their legality? 
  • Which States are creating these new pacts? What role do international organisations and agencies, including at the regional level, play? What about de facto governments or rebel groups, or other non-State actors, such as civil society? 
  • How do pacts fit with inter-State relations on economic cooperation, development aid, migration and climate change? What are the implications of e.g. readmission agreements or border co-operation, for power relations between States? 
  • What role can refugee-led and other civil-society organisations play in monitoring of these pacts? How might this play out in specific contexts e.g. domestically in the context of the UK-Rwanda deal or regionally centred on the EU’s new pact? 

2. 2024 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. PROGRAMME & PRACTICAL INFORMATION

You can view and download the programme here.

We have also produced a document which includes a list of accommodation near the venue and information regarding poster presentations, including specifications and printing. You can view and download this practical information document here.

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 2024: Standard - £150; Student, unemployed etc. - £130; RLI Affiliates (RAs, SRAs, MA Refugee Protection students) - £115

B. Non-Early Bird - booking completed after 1st March 2024: Standard - £200; Student, unemployed etc. - £170; RLI Affiliates (RAs, SRAs, MA Refugee Protection students) - £150

‘Early bird’ registration opens on Wednesday 15th November 2023 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 rliconference@sas.ac.uk 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. 

When making travel arrangements RLI Affiliates should note that internal RLI working groups may plan to hold meetings after the conference proceedings on 5 June.

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

Previous Conferences