When Do Human Rights Treaties Help Asylum-Seekers? A Study of Theory and Practice in Canadian Jurisprudence Since 1990

43 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014 Last revised: 21 Feb 2015

See all articles by Stephen Meili

Stephen Meili

University of Minnesota Law School; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

This article supports a new theoretical approach to the utilization of human rights treaties in refugee status adjudications in domestic courts. The existing literature on treaty effectiveness is divided between several optimistic and pessimistic perspectives, none of which adequately predict the circumstances under which domestic courts in Canada reference treaties in ways that help refugees obtain relief. This new theoretical approach adds to the literature on treaty effectiveness in the litigation context by suggesting that the extent to which Canadian domestic courts reference treaties in ways that help refugees depends on several factors, including the manner in which those treaties are integrated into domestic law. It also demonstrates that invoking human rights treaties indiscriminately can be detrimental to the interests of refugees, as it can create the impression that the refugeeā€™s lawyer is desperate.

Keywords: refugees, human rights treaties, gender, litigation, legal theory, persecution, asylum, cause lawyering

JEL Classification: J71, J78, K19, K33, K39, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Meili, Stephen, When Do Human Rights Treaties Help Asylum-Seekers? A Study of Theory and Practice in Canadian Jurisprudence Since 1990 (January 2014). Osgoode Hall Law Journal 51:2, Forthcoming; Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10/2014; Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2386327. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2386327

Stephen Meili (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

Mondale Hall
229-19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55104
United States

University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

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