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European Asylum law


Please note that the following description of the course is only provisional and therefore subject to change.

Admission requirements

  • Background in law

  • Sufficient command of English

  • Students should be familiar with the basics of international and European law.


In the Member States of the European Union asylum is governed by international human rights treaties and European Union Law. Human rights play a predominant role in asylum law. Important treaties such as the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Treaty Against Torture and the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child are the foundation of asylum practices.
Increasingly, EU asylum law is shaping the asylum practices of EU member states.

This course can be followed in combination with European Migration Law or separately. The courses are organized in a similar manner.
The course program is, apart from an introductory lecture, divided into three parts each consisting of three sessions (two lectures and a seminar). In the introductory lecture the context of European asylum law and the instruments of relevant international refugee law and European asylum law will be discussed. The three following parts concern: 1. The qualification for international protection; 2. Access to Europe and its asylum procedures, and reception conditions and detention; and 3. The Dublin system and asylum procedures.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge and insight into the relation between the various levels of international and European asylum law and their impact on individuals. Students learn to apply this knowledge to asylum cases.

Achievement levels:
After having completed this course students must be able:

  • To distinguish between EU law and international law and explain the relation between EU asylum law and the various instruments of international law and the way they interact in the abstract as well as in the context of a particular case.

  • To discuss and analyze, orally and in writing, key questions concerning who qualifies for international protection status under EU asylum law; access to the EU and its asylum procedures; reception conditions and detention; the Dublin system; and asylum procedures.

  • To solve complex individual cases on the basis of EU asylum law and international law. To approach the case both from the viewpoint of the asylum seeker and the viewpoint of the State. Students are expected to write three papers, containing a structured legal argumentation and independently research case-law and other relevant materials (for example country of origin information) and apply it to concrete cases or issues.


See timetable

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 7

  • Names of lecturers: Mark Klaassen and Anne Aagten

  • Required preparation by students: reading the materials assigned in the prescribed literature and readers


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 3

  • Names of instructors: Mark Klaassen and Anne Aagten

  • Required preparation by students: Writing a paper (2x) and active oral participation in the discussions.

Group work sessions

  • Number of (2 hour) sessions: 3

  • The group work sessions are intended to facilitate the group work. During the group work sessions, the different groups can work together in preparing their contribution for the seminar.

  • This course contains a practical exercise: attendance to all the lectures, seminars and group work sessions is compulsory. Non-compliance can lead to the exclusion of the student from the course. The course coordinator should be informed about missing a meeting in advance.

Assessment method

The students have to write two papers of approximately 2000 words and give one oral presentation based on one of the written papers. For the papers the students have to solve a complex case or write an essay. The oral presentation is in the format of a moot court/ debate session. The two papers count for 40% each of the final grade and the oral presentation for 20%.

Students with a final grade of 5 or lower, who have handed in all the two papers and gave the oral presentation, get the possibility to write one paper of approximately 5000 words. The topic of this paper will be discussed among the student and the teacher. The grade for this paper will replace the former grade.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • P. Boeles, M. Den Heijer, G. Lodder & K. Wouter, ‘European Migration Law’, 2nd edition, Intersentia 2014.

  • Additional articles (on Blackboard)

  • Legal texts (on Blackboard)

  • Case Law (on Blackboard)

Recommended course materials:

  • To be announced


Exchange students can register through the online registration system of the International Office.

Contact details

  • Coordinator: M.A.K. Klaassen

  • Work address: KOG, room C0.05

  • Contact information: Monday-Thursday

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7420

  • Email:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: Institute of Immigration Law

  • Room number secretary: B1.21

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 8917

  • Email: