Description of the course

The Migration Law Clinic offers selected students the opportunity to develop their legal skills by writing professional legal advice for legal practice. Students conduct research in a group and individually on complex questions of European migration law. Their work is intensively supervised by the members of the Migration law Section. A strict system of peer review (by fellow students and supervisors) will guarantee the high quality of the written advice. After having completed this course, students must be able to:

  • Analyse complex legal questions concerning international, European and national migration law (and the interaction between them)
  • Independently conduct high quality legal research
  • Write a well structured and comprehensible legal argument
  • Present and discuss complex issues of migration law
  • Give constructive feed-back on the work of others
  • Cooperate with others in a project
  • Act professionally (students learn to communicate effectively with external clients, to work under time pressure and to deal with requirements of confidentiality)
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Visit to the UNHCR Round Table on Strategic Litigation Geneva 2014

Activities
As a student of Migration Law Clinic you will write, in cooperation with other students or individually, legal advice commissioned by external clients such as lawyers and non-governmental organisations. You will conduct research on European, international and national law in order to answer vital questions in the field of migration law. By giving your advice you thereby contribute to the development of the European case law on topics such as refugee and asylum law, immigration law and aliens detention. During the activities you will be intensively supervised and coached by the staff of the Migration Law Section. The working language (oral and in writing) is English and Dutch. Knowledge of the Dutch language is not required.

Obligations and credits
Students commit to participate in the Clinic for the full academic year (October to June). They commit to an average of approximately eight hours per week throughout this period. Selected students are obliged to attend a meeting with the Clinic staff and participants once every two weeks. In the first semester of 2015-2016 meetings will take place on Tuesdays from 15:30-18u. During these meetings, the work progress and practical issues will be reviewed. In addition, researchers from the Migration Law Section and guest lecturers will address specific topics in the field of migration law and also practical skills will be trained. In addition students are required to meet in between those meetings on an individual basis with supervisors and/or peers to discuss work progress whenever needed. As of the academic year 2014-2015 the students will receive 12 ECTS upon successful completion of the course.

Target group
During an academic year a maximum of ten students can participate in the Migration Law Clinic. Master students of the VU specialisation International Migration and Refugee Law will have preference over other students. However also master students in the field of law and criminology as well as exchange students at the VU University and other universities in the Netherlands may participate in the Clinic. Students can apply at the beginning of an academic year (see the tab ‘How to apply’) and they will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Interest in or affinity with migration law and/or European law/human rights, which should be demonstrated by elective courses or ancillary activities. Knowledge of migration law is an advantage, but not necessary;
  • Whether the Clinic fits into the curriculum;
  • Motivation to participate in the Clinic;
  • Good writing and research skills which should be demonstrated by papers or a thesis;
  • Good study results demonstrated by a list of grades;
  • Good English reading and writing skills demonstrated by papers written in English or application letter.