Max Planck Law Seminar on the Crises of International Refugee Law

June 29, 2022

On June 29, 2022, Luc Leboeuf, VULNER scientific coordinator, spoke at the seminar on 'The Crises of International Refugee Law' organized by Max Planck Law at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt, as part of the inaugural Max Planck Law / University of Toronto joint lecture featuring Seyla Benhabib.

In his talk, Luc reflected on the multiple meanings of the 'crisis' of international refugee law, and how these meanings can be documented and better understood through empirical knowledge on migrants’ vulnerabilities. He argued that such knowledge reveals at least two different kinds of 'crises', which are deeply related with each other.

First, the 'crisis' of international refugee law could be understood as a 'protection crisis', which results from mounting practical obstacles in accessing refugee law protection standards, because of border regimes’ increasingly extraterritorial and externalized dimensions. Second, it could be understood as a 'functionalist crisis', that is, the inability of the legal system in addressing social tensions and divisions on how to regulate refugee movements – given its limitations in regulating extraterritorial situations. Luc showed that empirical knowledge can serve to reveal these phenomena, including how they deploy themselves through bureaucratic practices and how they contribute to producing refugees’ vulnerabilities. He also argued in favor of adopting a critical understanding of the 'crisis' of international refugee law, which accounts for its ability to evolve and adapt to ever-evolving social realities.

To find out more about the event, including the programme, visit the Max Planck Law website.

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