RefLaw is an online forum offering critical analysis on important new cases, legislation, and emerging issues in refugee law. We publish both longer articles analyzing the implications of law or policy, as well as shorter notes on global current events that may impact refugee law. Our aim is to aid practitioners, scholars, and students of refugee and asylum law in staying abreast of ongoing issues in the field. operates under the auspices of the University of Michigan Law School’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law (PRAL). It is overseen by James Hathaway, PRAL founding director, a leading authority on international refugee law whose work is regularly cited by the most senior courts of the common-law world.

History of

The University of Michigan, in cooperation with the International Association of Refugee Law Judges, launched in 1999 to “fill the void” at a time when the UNHCR did not operate a full caselaw database. Even after UNHCR’s Refworld collection ultimately came to include refugee caselaw, its search interface was generally found to be inadequate to the needs of judges, lawyers, scholars and others who wished to be able to perform structured and targeted searches for cases of a specific type.  In the result, was maintained alongside Refworld to facilitate such research.

Following UNHCR’s fundamental retooling of its caselaw collection, it became evident that there was no longer a need for to continue operating in its previous capacity.  The website was reconceived as an academic blog and re-launched under the name in 2014.

The University of Michigan Law School continues to support the site, under the supervision of Professor James Hathaway.