Faculty of Law

Nordic Asylum Law Seminar 2013

June 6 -7, 2013

The Nordic Asylum Law Seminar provides a forum for exchange and dialogue on issues related to domestic, European and international refugee and migration law between academics, governments, judicial institutions, advocates and civil society in the Nordic context.

Registration is now closed (as of 15 April 2013)

The seminar is now fully booked!

  • Please note that due to a technical malfunction some people who filled out the registration form online may not have received an automated confirmation email. These applications were not registered for the seminar. If you are in doubt about whether you received a confirmation email, please contact jessica.schultz@jur.uib.no.



10:00-11:30Introduction and Plenary
  • Welcome from UiB representative
  • Introduction by Dr. Vigdis Vevstad, Sonconsult/University of Bergen

Theme 1: The Global Effects of European Asylum Law

  • Presenter: Hélène Lambert, University of Westminster
  • Commentators: Jens Vedsted-Hansen, Aarhus University and Gregor Noll, Lund University
  • Discussion
11:30-11:45Coffee Break

Theme 2: The Criminal Refugee  

  • Presenter: Joseph Rikhoff, Senior Counsel, Crimes againt Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Department of Justice, Canada
  • Commentator: Professor Terje Einarsen, University of Bergen
  • Discussion
14:00-15:30Workshops (to run in parallel)

Workshop 1: Inclusion: Nordic law and practice (chair: Dr. Vigdis Vevstad, Sonconsult/University of Bergen)

  • Maria Bexelius, Persecution on account of political opinion – Swedish law and practice
  • Pauliina Ratilainen, Human rights perspective and child’s best interest in family reunification decisions in Finland
  • Jessica Schultz, The ‘internal protection alternative’ in refugee law: reflections from Norway and its neighbors

Workshop 2: Exclusion from refugee status/subsidiary protection (chair: Tove Severinsen, Norwegian Directorate of Immigration)

  • Sarah Singer: Exclusion from refugee status in the UK
  • Sibylle Kapferer, Exclusion from refugee status/subsidiary protection (UNCHR's new guidelines)

Workshop 3: EU developments (chair: Dr. Maja Janmyr, University of Bergen)

  • Julian Lehmann: Non-state actor protection in subsidiary protection under EU asylum law
  • Roberta Mungianu, Frontex-led operations and violations of the prohibition to return in international law
  • Meltem Ineli Ciger, An unused potential: the Temporary Protection Directive
Workshop conclusions

Dinner at Bølgen & Moi

Grahl-Madsen Memorial Lecture by Professor James C. Hathaway,
University of Michigan




Theme 3: "Refugee Status and Discrete Behavior" – European legal developments


  • Rebecca Stern, Senior Lecturer in International Law, Uppsala
    University: Normative developments in international law and Swedish court practice
  • Jesper Lindholm, Assistant Professor, Aalborg University : Danish administrative practice in the light of international law. Recent changes in Danish administrative practice concerning Christian converts
  • Øyvind Øyen, Senior Advisor, Norwegian Immigration Appeals
    Board: Norwegian policy development in light of European and Norwegian legal practice


In this session we hope to illuminate questions related to refugee status and the requirement of discrete behavior in relation to sexual orientation and the manifestation of religious and political beliefs. In addition to the presentations covering practice in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, we invite inputs from other Nordic countries during the plenary discussion.

10:30-11:00Coffee Break
11:00-12:30Workshops, continued

Workshop 4: Procedural hazards (chair: Liv Feijen, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies)

  • Anna Bengtsson, Enforcing rights – Do differences in legal traditions affect the rights of refugees? Reflections on legal method and perceived sources of law in Sweden, the United Kingdom and EU
  • Isa Cegrell Kalander, The duty of investigation for the Swedish Migration court
  • Annkatrin Meyerson, Credibility assessments in the Swedish Migration Courts in the light of the principle of non-refoulement

Workshop 5: Asylum applicants with special needs (chair: Dr. Eeva Nykänen, University of Turku)

  • Laura Tarvainen, Asylum applicants with special needs: The vulnerability of victims of torture in asylum process
  • Erna Kristín Blöndal, The processing of vulnerable asylum applicants with special
    needs in the Icelandic asylum system
  • Jean-Pierre Gauci, The (Norwegian) Model: Trafficked persons as members of aparticular social group

Workshop 6: Generalized violence and the need for international protection (chair: Professor Jens Vedsted-Hansen, University of Aarhus)

  • Karolina Lindholm (UNHCR): The protection framework for people fleeing armed conflict/generalized violence with a focus on the Nordic region
  • Stephen Meili: Complimentary protection in comparative perspective: common and civil law interpretations of human rights treaties
  • Maria O´Sullivan: Bringing generalised violence claims within the 1951 Refugee
    Convention: Lessons from Australia
Workshop conclusions


The 2013 Nordic Asylum Law Seminar is co-sponsored by the Norwegian Immigration Directorate and the University of Bergen, Faculty of Law