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RESEARCHING REFUGEE AND ASYLUM LAW. Margaret Clark, Reference Librarian FSU College of Law Library February 2006. Refugee & Asylum Law Research. Choosing a topic Cutting-edge resources Where to start research Secondary sources Primary sources. Choosing a Topic.

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researching refugee and asylum law


Margaret Clark,

Reference Librarian

FSU College of Law Library

February 2006

refugee asylum law research
Refugee & Asylum Law Research
  • Choosing a topic
  • Cutting-edge resources
  • Where to start research
  • Secondary sources
  • Primary sources
choosing a topic
Choosing a Topic
  • Legal and major newspapers
  • News Aggregators
  • Press releases or news from IGO and NGO web sites
  • Loose-leaf services (online)
    • BNA’s U.S. Law Week
    • M-B Immigration Bulletin
choosing a topic newspapers
Choosing a Topic - Newspapers
  • Westlaw
cutting edge sources
Cutting Edge Sources
  • Alerting services
  • Scholarly papers
  • Interpreter Releases
cutting edge sources1
Cutting Edge Sources
  • Alerting Services
    • CISNEWS Center for Immigration Studies
  • Scholarly papers
  • Interpreter Releases
cutting edge sources2
Cutting Edge Sources
  • Alerting Services
    • CISNEWS Center for Immigration Studies
    • Migration News UC Davis
  • Scholarly papers
  • Interpreter Releases
cutting edge sources3
Cutting Edge Sources
  • Alerting Services
  • Scholarly papers
    • CIAO database
    • Google Scholar
  • Interpreter Releases
cutting edge sources4
Cutting Edge Sources
  • Alerting Services
  • Scholarly papers
  • Interpreter Releases
    • Weekly publication
    • Summarizes fed & adm decisions
    • “Hot Topics”
    • Establish WestClip account
    • Also in print KF 4802 .I68
refugee and asylum law
Refugee and Asylum law

Research is challenging!

  • Field is multidisciplinary
  • Research is found primarily in gray literature
  • Need for current information
where to start
Where to start?

Use research guides that organize the primary and secondary sources

By Elisa Mason

  • Guide to Forced Migration Resources on the Web
  • Guide to International Refugee Law on the Web

By others

  • Research Guide to Aliens and the Law
  • Asylum Case Research Guide
secondary sources
Secondary Sources
  • Books and treatises
  • Journal articles
  • Gray literature
  • News sources
  • Statistics
  • Country Reports
important treatises
Important Treatises
  • Overview
    • AILA’s Asylum Primer, 3rd ed.
    • Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell
  • Loose-leafs
    • Immigration Law and Procedure, by Matthew Bender
    • Immigration Law Service, by West
tools for locating books
Tools for locating books
  • Library Catalog
  • WorldCat
  • IndexMaster
  • netLibrary
  • Digital Libraries

What is WorldCat?

  • Online catalog of books, periodicals, and electronic materials in libraries worldwide.
  • Most comprehensive resource for bibliographic information –
    • offers 52 million bibliographic records.
    • spans 4000 years of knowledge
    • represents 400 languages
worldcat identifies materials
WorldCat identifies materials…

…owned by other libraries.

  • …you may want to obtain through Interlibrary Loan.
digital libraries
Digital Libraries
  • UNHCR Library(17,000 records)
  • Refugee Studies Centre Library

(36,000 records)

locate articles 1980 to date
Locate articles 1980-to-date
  • Westlaw
  • Lexis
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
  • Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP)
locate articles pre 1980
Locate articles pre-1980
  • ILP Retrospective
  • Hein Online
locate articles in the social science with these tools
Locate articles in the Social Science with these tools:
  • FSU E-Resources by Subject
    • International Studies
    • Political Science
  • PAIS International
  • Social Science Citation Index
  • Wilson OmniFile
what is gray literature
What is Gray Literature?
  • Academic papers
  • Conference proceedings and papers
  • Corporate documents
  • Government documents
  • Policy briefs
  • Technical reports
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Working papers
locate gray literature with these tools
Locate gray literature with these tools:
  • CIAO Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Forced Migration Online
  • U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees site
country reports
Country Reports
  • Many organizations publish reports on country conditions.
  • In order to apply for asylum, persons must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution. Find reports on country conditions to verify a claim using objective background information.
  • Handout:Country Reports and Conditions
tools for locating statistics
Tools for locating statistics
  • Statistical Universe - LexisNexis Academic
  • United States Committee for Refugees
  • Handout: Statistical Sources
primary sources
Primary sources
  • Treaties and conventions
  • National legislation
  • Case law
  • Declarations, recommendations, resolutions
treaties and conventions
Treaties and Conventions

Two Elements to Treaty Research

  • Finding Text
      • authoritative?
      • most recent?
  • Determining Status
      • who has signed and ratified treaty?
      • entered into force?
      • changed by subsequent protocols or amendments?
treaties and conventions1
Treaties and Conventions

Finding Text

  • General Online Collections
    • UN Treaty Collection
    • Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General
treaties and conventions2
Treaties and Conventions

Finding Text

  • Refugee Treaties –
    • EISIL
    • U Minn Human Rights Library
  • Recent Treaties
    • International Legal materials ILM
      • Lexis INTLAW lib; ILM file
      • Westlaw ILM database

National legislation

  • Search Westlaw or LexisNexis
  • Foreign Law Guide

Aleph online (Login: IP Authentication)

Aleph print -- K38 .R49 1989

United States Immigration legislation

locating case law
Locating case law
  • Judicial and Administrative Decisions handout
  • World LII’s International Courts & Tribunals Project
  • Refugee Caselaw U. of Michigan
  • Gender Asylum Case Law UC Hastings
locating resolutions
Locating resolutions

Both GA and SC Resolutions

  • Official Document System of the United Nations
  • Access UN

GA Resolutions: NOT legally binding

    • General Assembly Resolutions
    • U.N. Documentation: GA Research Guide

SC Resolutions: Binding on members

    • Security Council Resolutions
final words
Final Words
  • Develop a research strategy and keep a journal of what you’ve searched and where.
  • Lots on the Web but NOT EVERYTHING.
  • Give yourself plenty of time.
  • ILL process may take a week or more
  • Review published research guides or review Pathfinder.
  • ASK for help!