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 Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law. 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)
  • Reflect on their own learning process and functioning

Visit to the UNHCR Round Table on Strategic Litigation Geneva 2014

As a student of Migration Law Clinic you will write, in cooperation with other students, 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. The working language (oral and in writing) is English. Knowledge of the Dutch language is not required.

Obligations and credits
Students commit to participate in the Clinic for at least one semester (October to January and/or February to June). The Migration Law Clinic is split in two 6 EC courses, one in the first and one in the second semester. Students should indicate whether they want to participate in the Clinic during one or two semesters. Students commit to an average of approximately eight hours per week. Selected students are obliged to attend a meeting with the Clinic staff and participants once every two weeks. Clinic meetings will take place on Tuesdays from 15:30-17:30u. During these meetings, the work progress and practical issues will be reviewed. In addition, researchers from the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law and guest lecturers will address specific topics in the field of migration law. Finally, practical skills will be trained, such as presentation, writing and cooperation skills and giving feed-back. In addition to the Clinic meetings students are required to meet on an individual basis with supervisors and/or peers to discuss work progress whenever needed.

Please note that as a result of Covid-19 measures, the meetings of the Migration Law Clinic in the first period (until November 2020) will take place online.

Target group
Each semester 10-15 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 each semester (September and January, see the tab ‘How to apply’). Students will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Motivation to participate in the Clinic;
  • 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;
  • Good study results demonstrated by a list of grades;
  • Good writing and research skills which should be demonstrated by papers or a thesis;
  • Good English reading and writing skills demonstrated by papers written in English or application letter.
  • Whether the Clinic fits into the curriculum;
  • Availability during two semesters is an asset.