Prof Cathryn Costello

Professor of Refugee and Migration Law

Cathryn Costello is Professor of Refugee and Migration Law and a fellow of St Antony's College. From 2003-13, she was Francis Reynolds Fellow and Tutor in EU and Public Law at Worcester College, Oxford, during which time she also completed her DPhil studies on EU asylum and immigration law.

She has taught a range of public and EU law courses on the Oxford undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. She began her academic career in 1998 as Lecturer in European Law at the Law School, Trinity College Dublin, and from 2000-03, she was also the Director of the Irish Centre for European Law. She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of San Francisco and a visiting research fellow at NYU School of Law and Melbourne Law School.

Cathryn has published widely on many aspects of EU and human rights law, including asylum and refugee law, immigration, EU Citizenship and third country national family members, family reunification and immigration detention. Her monograph The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law was published by OUP at the end of 2015.

She also researches the intersections of immigration, asylum and labour law. Her work on this theme includes an edited collection (with Mark Freedland) Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law (Oxford University Press 2014) and a book chapter, 'Migrants and Forced Labour: A Labour Law Response' in A Bogg, C Costello, A Davies, J Prassl (eds) The Autonomy of Labour Law (Hart Publishing 2014).

Cathryn has undertaken research for UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. She is regularly invited to address diverse audiences, both academic and practical, such as the European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ). She is also a Senior Research Associate of the Refugee Law Initiative of the University of London. She previously served on the boards of both the Irish Refugee Council and Immigrant Council of Ireland, and contributes to the policy work of ILPA.

Cathryn accepts outstanding doctoral students, seeking to research challenging issues in international refugee law, EU asylum and migration law, and the labour and human rights of migrants and refugees. Prospective doctoral students are advised to contact her directly to discuss research proposals well in advance of formally applying.

In the media
Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (AFAR)
Rethinking refuge
New dynamics of international refugee law
The human rights of migrants and refugees in European law
Migrants at work

Cathryn Costello teaches on the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, the MSc in Migration Studies and the MPhil in Development Studies.

Research Students supervised

Catherine Briddick
Faculty of Law
Yulia Ioffe
Faulty of Law
Lauren Nishimura
Faculty of Law

Books and monographs

Costello, Cathryn (with Alan Bogg, ACL Davies) (eds) (2016) 'Research Handbook on EU Labour Law', Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
Costello, Cathryn (with Alan Bogg, ACL Davies, Jeremias Prassl) (eds) (2015) 'The Autonomy of Labour Law', Oxford: Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (2015) 'The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Costello, Cathryn (with Mark Freedland) (eds) (2014) 'Migrants at Work: Immigration & Vulnerability in Labour Law', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Costello, Cathryn (with E Barry) (eds) (2003) 'Equality in Diversity: The New EC Equality Directives', ICEL / Equality Authority Dublin

Journal articles and special issues

Costello, Cathryn (2016) 'Safe Country? Says Who?', International Journal of Refugee Law 28 (4) 601-22
Costello, Cathryn (with M Mouzourakis) (2014) 'Reflections on Reading Tarakhel', Asiel & Migrantenrecht 10 404-11
Costello, Cathryn (2013) 'The UK, EU Citizenship and Free Movement of Persons', Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford
Costello, Cathryn (with E Kaytaz) (2013) 'Predisposed to Cooperate', Forced Migration Review 44 44-5
Costello, Cathryn (2012) 'Courting Access to Asylum in Europe: Recent Supranational Jurisprudence Explored', Human Rights Law Review 12 (2) 287-339
Costello, Cathryn (2012) 'The Ruling of the Court of Justice in NS/ME on the fundamental rights of asylum seekers under the Dublin Regulation: finally, an end to blind trust across the EU?', Asiel & Migrantenrecht 2
Costello, Cathryn (2012) 'Human rights and the elusive universal subject: immigration detention under international human rights and EU law', Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 19 (1) 257-303
Costello, Cathryn (2009) 'Metock: free movement and "normal family life" in the Union', Common Market Law Review 46 (2) 587-622
Costello, Cathryn (with G Davies) (2006) 'The Case Law of the Court of Justice in the Field of Sex Equality Since 2000', Common Market Law Review 43 1567-616
Costello, Cathryn (2005) 'Ireland's Nice Referenda', European Constitutional Law Review 1 (3) 357-82


Costello, Cathryn (2017) 'Citizenship & Refugeehood'. In Ayelet Shachar, Rainer Bauboeck, Irene Bloemraad, Maarten Vink (eds) Oxford Handbook of Citizenship , Oxford University Press
Costello, Cathryn (with Minos Mouzourakis) (2016) 'The Common European Asylum System – Where Did it All Go Wrong?'. In Maria Fletcher, Ester Herlin-Karnell, Claudio Matera (eds) The European Union as an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice , London: Routledge
Costello, Cathryn (with Michelle Foster) (2016) 'Non-refoulement as Custom and Jus Cogens? Putting the Prohibition to the Test'. In M den Heijer, H van der Wilt (eds) Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2015 , Springer
Costello, Cathryn (2016) 'The search of the outer edges of non-refoulement in Europe: exceptionality and flagrant breaches'. In Bruce Burson, David James Cantor (eds) Human Rights and the Refugee Definition: Comparative Legal Practice and Theory , Brill
Costello, Cathryn (with M Freedland) (2015) 'Migrants at Work and the Division of Labour Law'. In C Costello, M Freedland (eds) Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Costello, Cathryn (2015) 'Migrants and Forced Labour: A Labour Law Response'. In A Bogg, C Costello, ACL Davies, J Prassl (eds) The Autonomy of Labour Law , Oxford: Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (with E Hancox) (2015) 'The Recast Asylum Procedures Directive 2013/32/EU: Caught between the Stereotypes of the Abusive Asylum Seeker and the Vulnerable Refugee'. In V Chetail, P De Bruycker, F Maiani (eds) Reforming the Common European Asylum System: The New European Refugee Law , Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff
Costello, Cathryn (2014) 'Reflections on an Anniversary: EU Citizenship at 20'. In B Anderson, M Keith (eds) Migration: A COMPAS Anthology , Oxford: ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS)
Costello, Cathryn (2014) 'Family and Professional Life'. In S Peers, T Hervey, J Kenner, A Ward (eds) The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: A Commentary , Oxford: Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (with V Moreno-Lax) (2014) 'The Extraterritorial Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: From Territoriality to Facticity, the Effectiveness Model'. In S Peers, T Hervey, J Kenner, A Ward (eds) The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: A Commentary , Oxford: Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (2014) 'Child Citizens and De Facto Deportation: Tender Years, Fragile Ties and Security of Residence'. In K Bradley, N Travers, A Whelan (eds) Of Courts and Constitutions: Liber Amicorum in Honour of Nial Fennelly , Oxford: Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (2011) 'Citizenship of the union: above abuse?'. In Rita de la Feria, Stefan Vogenauer (eds) Prohibition of Abuse of Law: A New General Principle of EU Law? , Hart Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (with E Brown) (2009) 'The EU and the ECHR before European and Irish Courts'. In Ursula Kilkelly (ed) ECHR and Irish Law , Jordan Publishing
Costello, Cathryn (2008) 'Implementation of the Procedures Directive (2005/85) in the United Kingdom'. In K Zwaan (ed) The Procedures Directive: Central Themes, Problem Issues, and Implementation in Selected Member States , Wolf Legal Publishers
Costello, Cathryn (2008) 'EC immigration and asylum policymaking: integrating a role for the Oireachtas'. In Gavin Barrett (ed) National Parliaments and the European Union , Clarus Press


Costello, Cathryn (with A Betts, Natascha Zaun) (2017) 'A Fair Share: Refugees and Responsibility-Sharing', Delmi report 2017:10
Costello, Cathryn (with Kees Groenendijk, Louise Halleskov Storgaard) (2017) 'Realising the right to family reunification of refugees in Europe', Issue paper published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Council of Europe
Costello, Cathryn (with E Guild, M Garlick, V Moreno-Lax, M Mouzourakis, S Carrera) (2014) 'New approaches, alternative avenues and means of access to asylum procedures for persons seeking international protection', A Study for the LIBE Committee Brussels: European Parliament
Costello, Cathryn (2011) 'UK Migration Policy and EU Law', Migration Observatory Policy Primer
20 June, 2021
OUP publishes Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law co-edited by Cathryn Costello
30 August, 2019
Cathryn Costello awarded title of Professor in 2019 Recognition of Distinction exercise
27 February, 2019
Cathryn Costello appointed visiting professor at Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
04 January, 2018
New RSC report explores 'responsibility-sharing' in global refugee regime
20 June, 2017
New issue paper co-authored by Cathryn Costello urges lifting of obstacles to refugee reunification
15 March, 2017
New report on EU’s relocation of asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other Member States
06 December, 2016
Cathryn Costello wins Odysseus Network Prize for 'The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law'
03 November, 2016
Cathryn Costello wins ERC Starting Grant for 'Refugees are Migrants' project
29 January, 2016
New Book: The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law by Cathryn Costello
01 June, 2015
Cathryn Costello argues for 'a global, organised resettlement programme for Syrians and those who have fled Syria'


18 Dec, 2018
'Inaccuracies spreading about UN migration pact'. Cathryn Costello contributes to Full Fact article on UN global compact on migration
25 May, 2016
'Would a new international convention help refugees?'. Cathryn Costello speaks to BBC World Service's The Inquiry
24 Feb, 2014
'Decisions on refugee rights should not all fall to judges'. Cathryn Costello writes for Irish Times
Research interests: