Event details
Event Start Date: 26/11/2019
Event End Date: 26/11/2019
Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

Venue: Law theatre, GO4, Law Building, UNSW Sydney (F8 on the campus map)

 Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2019
Good decisions: Achieving fairness in refugee law, policy and practice

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Every day, decisions are made about whether people need international protection because they are at risk of persecution or other forms of serious harm. A variety of people make these life-or-death calls – immigration officials at the airport, tribunal members and judges, public servants, even Ministers themselves. In another sense, the decisions are also made by the general public, because the politicians they elect to public office will shape the overall approach. This conference explores aspects of refugee decision-making from the micro to the macro level – from individual cases through to wider public policy. It asks how we can ensure that refugee decision-making is fair, transparent and protection-sensitive, with outcomes that are consistent with international law.


Keynote Speaker

 Hilary Evans Cameron

A former litigator, Hilary Evans Cameron represented refugee claimants for a decade and now holds a doctorate in refugee law from the University of Toronto. Her research explores refugee status decision-making with a focus on credibility assessment. She is the author of Refugee Law's Fact-Finding Crisis: Truth, Risk and the Wrong Mistake (Cambridge 2018). Dr Evans Cameron was the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s 2017 Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research. She is a lecturer at Trinity College in the University of Toronto in the Ethics, Society and Law program and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.




 @kaldorcentre  #Kaldor2019


Conference Sponsors

The Kaldor Centre would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of the 2019 Annual Conference. To discuss available sponsorship opportunities please contact Frances Voon, Executive Manager at: Frances.Voon@unsw.edu.au.

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Conference Program

 Download the Conference Program

 Download the Conference Insights Report





The year in review


Professor Guy S Goodwin Gill (Acting Director, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW)



 [Download speech]



Opening keynote address 

Chaired by Andrew Kaldor AM (Advisory Commitee Chair, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW)

Toward "fair, transparent and protection-sensitive" credibility judgments

 Dr Hilary Evans Cameron (University of Toronto)



 [Download transcript]





Panel 1 – Deciding refugee claims


What factors enhance (or impede) good refugee decision-making on a case-by-case basis? This session explores how procedures and processes affect the way decisions are made, and the impacts they have on the lives of those affected by them.



Chaired by Om Dhungel (Consultant and trainer)


Street-level bureaucrats, discretion and data: pre-screening protection claims at the border

Regina Jefferies (Scientia PhD scholar, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW)


[View presentation slides]


Assessing asylum claims for members of the "Legacy Caseload" 

Edward Santow (Human Rights Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission)


[View presentation slides]


Refugee Status Determination: Mental distress and lethal hopelessness: Challenges for legal professionals 

Mary Anne Kenny (Associate Professor, School of Law, Murdoch University) & 

Professor Nicholas Procter (Chair, Mental Health Nursing, University of South Australia)


[View presentation slides]






Panel 2 – Good policy, good politics?


How do we ensure that decisions that shape our laws and public policy result in fair, transparent and protection-oriented outcomes? This session explores the interaction (and dissonance) between public attitudes on refugees, the lived experiences of refugees, and increasingly restrictive policies towards citizenship and inclusion.



Chaired by Abdul Karim Hekmat (Journalist and photographer) 


Nothing about us without us: The role of people with lived experience in decision-making 

Najeeba Wazefadost (President, Hazara Women of Australia)


The wealth paradox: Economic prosperity, populism and opposition to refugees and asylum seekers 

Professor Jolanda Jetten (School of Psychology, University of Queensland)


[View presentation slides] 


How law and policies create barriers to inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum 

Dr Sangeetha Pillai (Senior Research Associate, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW)


[View presentation slides]  





Panel 3  Q&A:  Getting to good decisions


This panel is an interactive discussion with decision-makers working across the spectrum of assessing protection claims in Australia. 

Chaired by Shukufa Tahiri (Policy Officer, Refugee Council of Australia)


Shahyar Roushan (Senior Member, Administrative Appeals Tribunal)


Justice Melissa Perry (Judge, Federal Court of Australia)


Shaun Hanns (former Protection Obligations Decision Maker, Department of Home Affairs)



Vote of thanks


Professor Andrea Durbach (Professor and Associate Dean (Academic), Law Faculty, UNSW)



Conference lunch and break refreshments were provided by the House of WelcomeThe House of Welcome catering social enterprise creates connections through cultural and fusion-inspired cuisine made by people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.


Cover photo courtesy of UNHCR/Will Swanson

The Kaldor Centre plays a vital role in developing legal, sustainable and humane solutions for displaced people around the world.