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Newsletter | March 2021

Welcome to the Peter McMullin Centre's first newsletter for 2021. It has been a busy start to the year, and we are pleased to once again share with you our current activities. Our team is slowly making its way back to Melbourne Law School on a part-time basis, though we continue to work flexibly and offer our events online.

Holding our Statelessness Intensive Course online for the first time was an incredibly rewarding experience which exceeded our expectations. As in our previous courses (held in person at Melbourne Law School), the student cohort was outstanding, with participants joining from a wide range of countries across the globe.

Another exciting recent event has been the establishment of the Stateless Children Legal Clinic, the first of its kind in Australia.

We hope you enjoy reading about these activities and more below.

Statelessness Intensive Course 2021
Our very first online Intensive Course was held between 17 and 23 February, and we could not be more thrilled with how it went. We had an outstanding cohort of participants, who joined us from a total of 14 countries. The group comprised academics, government officials, lawyers, representatives from non-government organisations and human rights bodies and the UNHCR.

Contrary to our concerns that the online format would hinder a sense of collegiality during the course, we found that a rapport was quickly established within the group. Participants were continually engaged and generous with their input, sharing experiences and views both through their videos and the Zoom chat function.

As with our previous courses, some excellent connections were made and we look forward to seeing some fruitful partnerships arise from these in the near future.

We would like to thank our wonderful participants, as well as the many brilliant guest presenters who helped make the course such a success.

Stateless Children Legal Clinic
In March the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness was thrilled to commence the Stateless Children Legal Clinic (SCLC), in partnership with the Refugee Advice Casework Service and the Melbourne Law School Clinics at the University of Melbourne.

There are an estimated 10 – 15 million stateless people in the world; approximately one third are children. Without nationality, stateless children face barriers in accessing education and healthcare and, in Australia, the threat of prolonged immigration detention and removal to a third country such as Nauru.

The SCLC offers MLS Juris Doctor students the opportunity to develop practical legal skills and directly assist in the delivery of essential legal services to stateless children in their application for Australian citizenship, with potentially life changing outcomes.

The SCLC is the first stateless legal clinic of its kind in Australia, and the third of its kind globally.

The SCLC is coordinated by Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness research fellow Katie Robertson, who has previous experience as a lawyer assisting stateless children apply for citizenship. The clinical work conducted by students in the SCLC is supervised by solicitors at the Refugee Advice Casework Service (RACS). RACS’ Stateless Children Legal Project is the only specialized legal clinic in Australia providing targeted assistance to stateless children.

The initial pilot Clinic is offered through MLS’ Legal Internship program. The Peter McMullin Centre is delighted to be hosting the first two JD students in this Clinic, Zahraa Albadri and Claudia Cameron.

Learn more


Launch Event: 'A Place to Call Home'

The Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS) and Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness have partnered to conduct groundbreaking research into the legal needs, barriers and gaps experienced by stateless refugee children and their families in accessing and acquiring Australian citizenship. The ‘A Place to Call Home’ Report will be officially launched by Gillian Triggs, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR, at a special online event on Thursday 25 March, 6pm.


  • Gillian Triggs, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
  • Co-author Katie Robertson, Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness.
  • Co-author Sarah Dale, Centre Director and Principal Solicitor of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS).
  • Amir*, originally from Palestine and stateless. Now living in Australia with his family.

In response to the legal need identified in this Report, this event will also see Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, in partnership with the RACS launch:

  • The Stateless Children Legal Clinic (SCLC) - the first stateless legal clinic of its kind in Australia, the third of its kind globally and a joint initiative with the Melbourne Law School (MLS) Clinics at the University of Melbourne.
  • The Stateless Children Legal Australia Network (SCLAN) - a newly established, independent, not-for-profit network aimed at developing knowledge and increasing pathways to legal assistance for stateless children entitled to Australian citizenship.

Further information and registration.

The Critical Statelessness Studies Blog
We continue to receive outstanding submissions to the Critical Statelessness Studies Blog, from researchers across the globe. In the latest contributions to the CSS Blog - 

Ahmad Jaber, PhD candidate at University College London’s Institute of Education (Department of Culture, Communication & Media), proposes critical sociolinguistic ethnography (CSE) as a counterhegemonic approach to understanding statelessness. Read Ahmad's piece Critical sociolinguistic ethnography as a lens to statelessness: a case from the Bidoon community in Kuwait  here.


Malak Benslama, PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London (School of Law), calls for decolonising the academic field of statelessness. Read Malak's piece Decolonising statelessness: unpacking colonial legacies and deconstructing forms of epistemic violence here.

Read the pieces and learn more about making a contribution to the CSS Blog.

Migration, Refugees & Statelessness Seminar Series:
The Centre is thrilled to continue this seminar series in 2021 in partnership with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

Narratives of Displacement
Presenter: Durkhanai Ayubi
Date: 18 March @ 1pm

The Narratives of Displacement (NoD) project was born from an understanding of the little acknowledged, but increasingly intertwined and numerous, typologies driving displacement in our world today. From climate to conflict, to politics and economic drivers this impacts a growing segment of the global population in complex ways. 

Further information and registration.

Statelessness & Citizenship Review

Vol 2 No 2 of the Statelessness and Citizenship Review was published on 21 December 2020 with five articles, three case notes, three critiques and comments, two book reviews and a symposium based on the book Jo Shaw, The People in Question: Citizens and Constitutions in Uncertain Times (Bristol University Press, 2020) which featured four contributions plus an editorial.

Vol 3 No 1 of the review will be published mid-2021 and will
feature a symposium on Citizenship and Statelessness in India with guest editor Dr Adil Hasan Khan, Melbourne Law School.

Visit the website for more information.
Recent Publications by the PMCS Team