Innovative, rigorous and forward-thinking research is central to the Kaldor Centre, where scholars are leaders in the national and international discussion about refugee law and policy.
Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO, Kaldor Centre Director
Professor McAdam is internationally renowned as a thought leader in the field of forced migration, particularly for her work in climate change-related displacement. She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, and serves as Co-Rapporteur of the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise. Winner of the 2017 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights, her contributions have been widely recognised, including as finalist for NSW Woman of the Year, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and one of Australia’s top ten ‘Women of Influence’ in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence awards in 2015.
See Professor McAdam’s academic profile and publications.
Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill, Deputy Director
Widely recognised as the preeminent legal scholar in the field of international refugee law, Professor Goodwin Gill is Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law of the University of Oxford. He formerly practised as a barrister from Blackstone Chambers in London. His distinguished career has encompassed various roles with UNHCR, advocacy before the courts in a number of prominent cases, and academic posts in Canada and throughout Europe.
See Professor Goodwin-Gill’s academic profile and publications.
Madeline Gleeson, Senior Research Fellow
Lawyer and award-winning author of Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru (NewSouth 2016) Madeline Gleeson’s areas of expertise include offshore processing, State responsibility and regional refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific. A graduate of UNSW with first class honours, She practiced as a solicitor in Sydney before leaving for Cambodia to work for the Jesuit Refugee Service. As a John Monash scholar, she completed her Masters in International Law in Geneva, where she also worked with UNHCR. Offshore won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for non-fiction, was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, NSW Premier’s Award, the Australian Book Industry Awards, and the 2017 Colin Roderick Award and long-listed for the Stella Prize and Walkley Book Award. In 2017, Ms Gleeson launched the Asia-Pacific Research Group, as part of the Kaldor Centre’s Emerging Scholars Network.
See Madeline Gleeson’s academic profile and publications.
Dr Claire Higgins, Senior Research Fellow
Award-winning historian Dr Claire Higgins’s research focuses on orderly departure programs, in-country processing and protected entry procedures in historical context. She is an Affiliate Scholar at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration in Washington D.C. In 2019 Dr Higgins was awarded an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship (2020-22) to continue her historical research on protected entry procedures. In 2019-20 Dr Higgins was a Collaboration Fellow at UCLA's Luskin Center for History & Policy in Los Angeles. In 2018, as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, Dr Higgins was at Georgetown University undertaking comparative research in alternative pathways for safe and orderly access to humanitarian resettlement. As a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in 2017, Dr Higgins researched Italy’s innovative Humanitarian Corridors program which enables asylum seekers to safely claim protection in Italy. She completed her doctorate in history at the University of Oxford examined on the development of Australian refugee policy. Her first book is Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia’s refugee policy (NewSouth 2017). She has also written for The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Forbes. Dr Higgins founded and convenes the Kaldor Centre’s Emerging Scholars Network.
See Dr Higgins’s academic profile and publications.
Dr Sangeetha Pillai, Senior Research Associate
Dr Sangeetha PIllai is the Kaldor Centre's expert on the domestic public law framework that governs refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. Her current research examines the boundaries of parliamentary and executive power over refugees and asylum seekers in Australian case law. She is an expert on Australian citizenship law, and the constitutional differences in the scope of government power that can be exercised over citizens and non-citizens, and she has published widely on these topics.
See Dr Pillai’s academic profile and publications.
Frances Voon, Executive Manager
Ms Voon joined the Kaldor Centre in 2015 from the UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service in Geneva. She has worked for several years in refugee operations in Bangladesh, Jordan and South Sudan. She completed a Masters in Development Studies at the University of Oxford as a John Monash Scholar, where her research addressed policy and assistance for self-settled refugees in protracted situations. She was Tipstaff to Justice John Basten at the Supreme Court of New South Wales and is admitted to legal practice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales.
Lauren Martin, Communications Officer
Ms Martin was appointed the Kaldor Centre’s first Communications Officer in 2016, joining from the Sydney Opera House, where she was Head of Communications. An award-winning journalist, she was an editor in Australia at The Sydney Morning Herald and later of The Global Mail, appearing in that capacity at the Sydney and Melbourne Writers Festivals. In the United States, she was Managing Editor of the [Martha’s] Vineyard Gazette and Washington Editor for Institutional Investor publications. She earned a BA in Journalism and Political Science (Phi Beta Kappa) at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Frances Nolan, Centre Administrator
Frances Nolan is the Centre Administrator at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Frances has an extensive background in research centre administration within universities and over 15 years’ experience in marketing, project and event management across a range of industries. For general Centre enquiries, conferences and events please contact Frances via email or call +61 2 9385 4075.
Gabrielle Appleby, Professor
Dr Appleby is a Professor at UNSW Law and the Associate Dean (International & External Engagement). She researches and teaches in public and constitutional law, particularly focussing on questions about the role, powers and accountability of the Executive government, the role and ethics of government lawyers, and the independence and integrity of the judicial branch. She is the Co-Director of The Judiciary Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Constitutional Law and the Blog Coordinator and Joint Editor (Academic) of AUSPUBLAW - www.auspublaw.org. She is currently a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project, Law, Order and Federalism.
See Gabrielle Appleby's academic profile and publications.
Chantal Bostock, Senior Lecturer
Dr Bostock initially practised as a migration and refugee lawyer in Sydney. She holds a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney, which she completed by cross-institutional study at the University of Minnesota, USA. She was subsequently awarded a University of Minnesota Human Rights Fellowship to undertake an internship at UNHCR, Geneva before moving to London, where she worked for an extended period as a senior lawyer and manager at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and in the public law team of the Law Commission. Upon her return to Sydney, she worked as a senior lawyer at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) before her appointment to the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal, which merged with the AAT in 2015. She completed her PhD at UNSW on the AAT and Character Assessments for Non-Citizens. Upon completing her term at the AAT, she received the Goddard Sapin-Jaloustre scholarship to live in Paris, researching and writing about the French approach to criminal deportation. She has published papers on various subjects including international refugee law, criminal deportation in Australia and France and the AAT as well as presented at conferences in Australia and the UK. She is now teaching law at UNSW and sits as a community member of the Medical Council of NSW. She is an accredited French/English NAATI translator.
See Chantal Bostock's academic profile and publications.
Erica Bower is a specialist on climate change-related displacement and planned relocation, currently pursuing an interdisciplinary Doctorate at Stanford University. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Platform on Disaster Displacement, and previously worked at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as the climate change and disaster displacement specialist in the Protection Policy and Legal Advice section. As an independent consultant, she has conducted research on climate-related human mobility for National Geographic, UN Women, Oxfam, the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), and the South Asia consultations of the Nansen Initiative. She holds an MSc from Oxford University in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and a BA from Columbia University in Sustainable Development and Human Rights.
Melissa Crouch, Professor
Dr Crouch is an Associate Professor at the Law Faculty, UNSW Sydney. Her research contributes to the field of Asian Legal Studies, with a focus on Comparative Constitutional Law; Law and Development; and Law and Religion. Her research has a particular focus on Southeast Asia, where she has conducted extensive socio-legal field research. She is currently Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Grant on "Constitutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes" (2018-2020).
See Melissa Crouch's academic profile and publications.
Bassina Farbenblum, Associate Professor
Ms Farbenblum joined UNSW in 2009 after a decade as a human rights litigator and clinical legal educator in New York, Mumbai, and Sydney. Her recent research projects include the first large-scale empirical study of migrant workers’ access to justice in countries of origin, focused on migrant workers who go from South and South East Asia to the Middle East. She has recently co-authored two books that provide the first analysis of accountability within the private migrant recruitment industry, and migrant workers' access to compensation and other remedies in their home countries in Indonesia and Nepal.
See Bassina Farbenblum's academic profile and publications.
Daniel Ghezelbash, Associate Professor
Dr Ghezelbash is an Associate Professor at Macquarie Law School. His research focuses on Australian, comparative and international refugee law, and how technology can be used to promote accountability and access to justice. His book, Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World (Cambridge University Press 2018) examines the diffusion of restrictive asylum seeker policies around the world. He is currently working on a project compiling and analysing quantitative data on the decision-making patterns of individual judges and tribunal members in refugee cases, as well as a comparative project on fast-track asylum procedures. He maintains an active practice as a refugee lawyer through his role as Special Counsel at the National Justice Project and as the founder and director of the Macquarie University Social Justice Clinic. He also the founder of the TECH4JUSTICE Lab, through which he mentors law students to build legal tech solutions aimed at increasing access to justice.
See Daniel Ghezelbash's academic profile and publications.
Linda Kirk, Associate Professor
Ms Kirk holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Laws degree with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Adelaide. She is currently completing her doctorate on comparative refugee status determination procedures at Monash University. She is a part-time Senior Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Honorary Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. Ms Kirk was a legal academic in the Migration Law Program at the ANU College of Law from 2014-2018 and served as Sub-Dean and Deputy Director from 2015-16. From 2009-2014 she was a Senior Member of the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal. She was a Senator for South Australia from 2002-2008 and served as a member of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee and as the Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration. She was the Chair of the Australasian Chapter of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ) from October 2011 to July 2016. Ms Kirk is currently a member of the Council of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the IARLJ and the Rapporteur of the IARLJ Extraterritorial Processing Working Party.
See Linda Kirk's academic profile and publications.
Vicki Sentas, Senior Lecturer
Dr Sentas joined the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney in July 2012 and previously held the Newton International Fellowship at the School of Law, King’s College London. Prior to that she worked in higher education policy and in community legal centres in NSW and Victoria. She researches processes of criminalisation and racialisation in law and policing. She teaches in criminal law, criminology and policing and coordinates the Police Powers Clinic at UNSW. Her recent and current research projects examine: the effects of counter-terrorism practices, migration controls and multiculturalism policies on criminal justice and racialised peoples in Australia, the UK and the EU; the criminalisation of armed conflicts, self-determination and diasporas through the use of security lists; police powers and their relationship to diverse forms of regulation including pre-emption and prosecution; police accountability and criminal justice reform.
See Vicki Sentas' academic profile and publications.
Joanne Kinslor, Adjunct Lecturer
Ms Kinslor is a specialist immigration lawyer who has extensive experience and exceptional knowledge of immigration law. She has been accredited as an immigration specialist by the Law Society of New South Wales since 2006. She is Course Convenor and Principal Lecturer of “Australian Immigration Law and Practice” at UNSW Sydney. Ms Kinslor is an active member of the Law Council of Australia’s Migration Law Committee and participates in national debate on immigration law and policy and contributes to Parliamentary submissions.
Natalie Klein, Professor
Dr Klein is a Professor at UNSW Faculty of Law, Sydney, Australia. She was previously at Macquarie University where she served as Dean of Macquarie Law School between 2011 and 2017, as well as Acting Head of the Department for Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism at Macquarie in 2013-2014. Professor Klein teaches and researches in different areas of international law, with a focus on law of the sea and international dispute settlement. Professor Klein is the author of Dispute Settlement and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press, 2011). She provides advice, undertakes consultancies and interacts with the media on law of the sea issues. Prior to joining Macquarie, Professor Klein worked in the international litigation and arbitration practice of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, served as counsel to the Government of Eritrea (1998-2002) and was a consultant in the Office of Legal Affairs at the United Nations. Her masters and doctorate in law were earned at Yale Law School and she is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.
Brooke Marshall, Lecturer
Dr Marshall researches in the areas of private international and comparative law, with a particular focus on French, German, English and EU law. She is the 2016 recipient of the Diploma of The Hague Academy of International Law. Prior to joining UNSW, Dr Marshall was a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, where she completed her doctorate summa cum laude. She will visit the Institute for European and Comparative Law and St Catherine’s College, at the University of Oxford in 2020, before embarking on a project in private international and refugee law at UNSW in 2021.
See Brooke Marshall’s academic profile and publications.
Sanjula Weerasinghe is an Australian lawyer who works at the intersection of international law, humanitarian crises, and displacement. She is an independent consultant, based in Geneva. For UNHCR, Sanjula authored In Harm’s Way, which examined State practice on refugee-law based international protection for persons fleeing disaster and violence. With IOM, Sanjula was the lead drafter of the Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster within the secretariat of the State-led MICIC Initiative. With the Kaldor Centre, Sanjula co-authored International Law and Sea-Level Rise: Forced Migration and Human Rights, which informed the Sydney Declaration of Principles adopted by the International Law Association’s (ILA) thematic subcommittee. Sanjula began her career at a large Australian law firm, has directed legal aid centres in Thailand and Hong Kong, and consulted for the Brookings Institution's former IDP project. Sanjula is a Non-resident Fellow at the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University, where she previously managed a project on ‘Crisis Migration’ and co-edited a book on humanitarian crises and migration.
Tamara Wood, Visiting Fellow
Dr Wood is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Tasmania and a former Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate at UNSW Law. She is an internationally recognised expert on African regional refugee protection and climate change-related displacement. Her roles include being a member of the Advisory Committee for the Platform on Disaster Displacement; a Research Affiliate at the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London; and a former visiting researcher at the University of the Witswatersrand, South Africa. Prior to academic work, she worked as a refugee advocate in Australia, assisting onshore refugee applicants with their claims for asylum. Dr Wood convenes the Africa Group within the Kaldor Centre’s Emerging Scholars Network.
See Tamara Wood's academic profile and publications.
The Kaldor Centre includes a small number of outstanding PhD students pursuing advanced research and developing substantive expertise in refugee law. Meet our current PhD candidates:
'States and unauthorised migration: the movement of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia' (Andrew Byrnes/Melissa Crouch/Michael Grewcock)
‘Building National Asylum Systems from the Ground Up’ (Guy Goodwin-Gill/Sangeetha Pillai)
Mr Barbour’s research seeks to analyse the institutional set-up of different refugee status determination typologies, alongside the many other aspects of operationalising a holistic refugee protection system, in order to inform the establishment and development of new State asylum systems.
‘Justice in Exile: A study of States’ obligations to ensure refugees’ access to courts under international law’ (Jane McAdam/Melissa Crouch)
Ms Dunlop's thesis investigates the scope and content of States’ obligations to guarantee refugees’ access to courts under article 16 of the 1951 Refugee Convention and International Human Rights Law.
‘Refugee protection and multi-State responsibility in the Asia-Pacific: a conceptual framework for accountability under international law’ (Jane McAdam/Guy Goodwin-Gill)
Ms Gleeson's research looks at whether and how international law regulates the conduct of States, or provides a remedy, in situations where two or more States contribute to harmful outcomes for refugees and asylum seekers, specifically within the context of forced displacement in the Asia-Pacific region.
'Exclusion from Refugee Protection: Individual Responsibility for Contravening the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations' (Sarah Williams/Sangeetha Pillai)
Mr Hammerschmid's thesis investigates the scope of Article 1F(c) of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its nexus with international human rights law, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. The overall aim of the thesis is to articulate a complete and coherent analytical framework for applying the uncertain and underexplored provisions of Article 1F(c) in both domestic refugee status determinations and in refugee status determinations conducted under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
'Beyond storytelling: The meaningful participation of refugees in decision-making processes’ (Claire Higgins/Guy Goodwin-GIll)
Mr Harley’s research seeks to better understand how refugees can be more meaningfully included in decision-making processes that affect them. In particular, his research examines what participation in decision-making means in the context of the international refugee regime, how it has been attempted in practice, and what could or should be done going forward to address refugee participation in law and policy.
'Refugee community sponsorship in Australia: Prospects and pitfalls' (Jane McAdam/Rosalind Dixon)
This project examines the prospects and potential pitfalls of utilising community/private sponsorship of refugees as an additional or alternative pathway for the resettlement of refugees to Australia, drawing upon historical and comparative perspectives.
'The Crimes of Operation Sovereign Borders: State Crime, Criminal Law, and Australia's Refugee Policy'
Ms Hodgson's research examines the role of Australian and international criminal law in responding to state crime, through a case study of the Australian Government's conduct pursuant to 'Operation Sovereign Borders'. This thesis will consider the extent to which aspects of Operation Sovereign Borders violate domestic or international criminal law, and some of the legal, evidentiary, practical, and political barriers to prosecuting any crimes. In doing so, this thesis will provide a greater insight into the ability of the criminal law to achieve accountability for state crime and control state action.
'Reimagining refoulement: Developing an evidence-based strategy to esnure domestic compliance with international refugee law' (Andrew Byrnes/Guy Goodwin-Gill/Claire Higgins)
‘The challenges of international responsibility-sharing for refugees and internally displaced persons: A global framework for corporate autonomy in humanitarian matters?’ (Claire Higgins/Guy Goodwin-Gill)
Ms Malafosse’s project analyses how the concept of responsibility-sharing for refugees could be approached and operationalised while fully integrating the business sector. It explores the possibilities for the development of a global framework on corporate humanitarian initiatives and responsibilities, in which businesses can systemically empower refugees through work and participate in safeguarding their labour rights.
'Rethinking the role of "external processing" in the European Union: what would a principled "regional" approach look like?' (Jane McAdam/Justine Nolan)
Ms Moodley’s doctoral research is focused on assessing the legal feasibility of the EU introducing ‘regional’ measures to process asylum seekers before they reach Europe during ‘mass influx’ situations. Relevantly, her study seeks to explore whether such an idea, if undertaken as a complementary pathway to protection in the EU (that is, without prejudice to the right to claim asylum on the territory of EU member states), is capable of operating in compliance with international and EU human rights law, and if so, what that might look like in practice.
'To what extent can Local Government Authorities (LGAs) build durable solutions to protect against disaster displacement risk in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific?' (Jane McAdam/Melissa Crouch)
Mr Potter's research examines the extent that local governments can offer protection against disaster-displacement risk in Pacific Small Island Developing States. This includes examining the interplay of international and national disaster risk reduction laws and stakeholder agencies with local governments to evaluate the effectiveness of their collaboration, and to identify areas of future good practices. Previously Mr Potter has worked as a commercial solicitor in a large Australian law firm and in pro bono immigration and refugee advocacy, before moving to London to complete his Masters.
'Aslyum seekers, mandatory detention and constitutional limits on the exercise of non-statutory executive power' (Rosalind Dixon/Gabrielle Appleby)
Ms Smith’s thesis investigates principled approaches to the question of limits on the non-statutory coercive executive power of the Commonwealth. It explores this question through the lens of whether the executive arm of government has the power to detain non-citizens without statutory authority in three contexts: seeking asylum, counter-terrorism and in response to a public health epidemic.
‘Rethinking the history of refugee protection in Southeast Asia: Law, policy and practice’ (Jane McAdam/Christine Forster)
International refugee law is commonly thought to have had little impact in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian states played no role in drafting the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, and there are very few signatories in the region. Moreover, there is no binding regional treaty for the protection of refugees setting out their status and rights. Yet, archival research reveals that Southeast Asian states did, in fact, have domestic and regional standards of refugee protection in place from at least the 1960s onwards. This research not only uncovers such material but also assesses whether international refugee law was reflected in these standards.
Natasha Yacoub is an international refugee law scholar and practitioner. She has worked for two decades in conflict and peacetime settings with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, including in Australia (covering Papua New Guinea and Nauru), Myanmar, UN Headquarters New York and the Sudan. She is a former member of the Refugee Review Tribunal of Australia. She teaches international refugee law at the University of London. Ms Yacoub holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide in Australia, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Marburg in Germany, and a Master in Public International Law from the University of Melbourne. In 2018, she commenced doctoral study at the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, researching the topic "gendering the international law criteria for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the Sudan.
Yacoub, Errington, Nu, Robinson "Rights Adrift: Sexual Violence Against Rohingya Women on the Andaman Sea" Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law (2021) 22(1), 96-114
Gleeson, Yacoub, "Cruel, costly and ineffective: the failure of offshore processing in Australia" (UNSW, Sydney, 2021)
Yacoub, Schwartz, Bezanson, “Legal and Ethical Considerations of Palliative Care Provision in Humanitarian Crises”, in: Waldman, Glass (eds) Palliative Care in Humanitarian Crises, Oxford University Press (2019)
Yacoub, 'Protecting civilians at the Security Council: Responsibility or politics?' (Regnet, ANU, 2012)