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.



Conference Fees

Prices are inclusive of GST and booking fees.    

     Early bird fee (by 30 September 2019)

          Standard Registration $160
          NGO/Student Registration $100

     Regular fee (from 1 October 2019)

          Standard Registration $200
          NGO/Student Registration $140

Conference lunch and break refreshments will be 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.


 Enquiries: please contact us at kaldorcentre@unsw.edu.au

 @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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 Draft Conference Program




The year in review

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


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)




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, trainer and former refugee from Bhutan)


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)


Assessing asylum claims for members of the "Legacy Caseload" 

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


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)





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 sweeping Ministerial powers to decide refugees’ fates without judicial oversight or review.

Chaired by Abdul Hekmat (Journalist, photographer and former refugee from Afganistan) 


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

Najeeba Wazefadost (President, Hazara Women of Australia)


Becoming part of the Australian community: Law, policy and their impact on refugees and people seeking asylum 

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


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

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




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. How do decisions by government officials impact on what the tribunal and courts can do? What does it mean for the courts to conduct judicial review, but not merits review? What factors might result in a decision being overturned?

Chaired by Shakufa Tahiri (Former refugee, now human rights advocate and policy officer at the Refugee Council of Australia)



Shahyar Roushan (Senior Member, Administrative Appeals Tribunal)


Justice Melissa Perry (Judge, Federal Court of Australia)




Vote of thanks


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


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.