The Law of Asylum

Course content

Who is entitled to asylum, on what basis, and how to adjudicate asylum cases are questions attracting increasingly attention among policy-makers in recent years. The present course provides students with an in-depth understanding of asylum law and the asylum process, which lies at the heart of international refugee law. To make the issues and challenges of asylum law tangible, the course builds on an experimental design where students will be asked to engage with concrete cases from Danish and European practice and to perform different roles in the asylum process based on adjudication simulations.


The course draws on a strong connection to concrete practice and experience. The course lecturer served as member of the Danish Refugee Appeals Board for four years. Guest lectures will further be given by a practicing asylum lawyer and a senior staff member from the Danish Immigration Service. Last, but not least, students will be able to interview select refugees about their asylum cases and procedures, allowing the students to take on the role as Immigration Service representative, defending lawyer or adjudicator in turn.


Central to asylum law is moreover understandings and assessments of applicant credibility, which is decisive in the vast majority of cases. Based on criminological and sociolegal literature, students will gain a deeper understanding of evidentiary standards, how applicant credibility is established and how it impacts asylum case law. Recent studies combining computer science and asylum law will further be utilized as an inroad to interrogate differences in asylum recognition rates across groups and jurisdictions.


The core questions explored in this course are:

  • What are the legal standards for determining who is entitled to asylum?
  • What evidentiary thresholds do asylum-seekers need to meet?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks to different legal asylum systems?
  • What role does credibility play in asylum decision-making and how is it established?
  • Why, despite years of harmonization, are there still such significant variations in asylum recognition rates across European countries for applicants from the same groups?


The course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of asylum law and asylum procedures. It will further enable students to critically reflect on and apply different evidentiary standards, interrogation methods and concepts related to asylum credibility. The focus on simulations and adjudicating real cases will finally help students acquire practical skills and general training on issues of legal procedures and adjudication.

Learning outcome

The course provides students with:

  • Detailed knowledge of asylum law in a Danish and European context
  • A deeper understanding of asylum procedures and procedural standards
  • Skills to identify relevant sources relevant to asylum adjudication within international, regional and domestic law
  • Skills to conduct interviews and cross-examinations with asylum applicants
  • Skills to make asylum decisions in cases involving different legal issues
  • Competences to perform a credibility assessment
  • Competences to advice and prepare asylum-seekers through e.g. legal clinic programs
  • Competences to commence practical legal work with Danish or foreign asylum authorities, adjudicatory bodies and law firms.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part applies more classical legal learning methods to ground students in the law of asylum as well as relevant sociolegal literature. For this part students are expected to read assigned texts and discuss sets of key learning questions in groups during class. The second part of the course uses experimental case-based learning and experimental pedagogical techniques. By providing real-life simulations of asylum cases and including guest lectures from key practitioners, students will be assisted by the lecturer to perform different roles as immigration service representatives, asylum lawyers and adjudicators. These simulations will in turn receive peer feedback from the class. This method will enable students to construct and evaluate different legal reasonings for each case and apply different legal advocacy techniques. The course also explore and exploit the educational and didactic potential digital learning tools allowing for experimental learning.



The BA elective in ”Udlændingeret” is recommended but not essential to taking this course.

Students must be able to read and understand scientific articles in English

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 1 day
Assigned written individual assignment, 1 day
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • English
  • 206,25