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About us

About the Migration Law Network


The academic debate on migration law is often still being treated as a side-issue of public law. A systematic examination of its numerous manifestations and legal problems hardly takes place. This has serious repercussions, especially on young legal scholars. Because of insufficient scholarly attention in teaching and publishing only a small circle of young scholars is currently working on questions of migration law. In light of the increasing complexity and relevance of migration law on the national, European and international level, there is a need for broadening and consolidating the academic debate in this area.

The Network’s goals

The Migration Law Network (Netzwerk Migrationsrecht) pursues the goal of promoting the exchange, cooperation and advanced training of young academics in the field of migration law.

Young academics working in the area at their respective academic home institutions have so far often had to work in relative isolation. Therefore our Network wishes to bring together young academics working on migration law independent of their different perspectives and thematic approaches. The goal is to provide for an exchange of ideas and a discussion forum for the diverse topics under the umbrella of migration law.

Cooperation within the Network enhances our under-standing of migration law and lays the basis for long-term contacts among its members and supporting individuals.
We do not aim at an academic examination in the isolation of the proverbial “Ivory Tower.” In order to improve the better understanding of migration law and enhance the practical relevance of our research the Network establishes a continued, institutionalised exchange with legal practitioners. In the area of migration law, where the written norm is often not congruent with the actual practice, it is indispensable for a systematic analysis not to ignore the practical reality. In the same vein, a well-grounded practice should be interested in the continued exchange with academic thinking on migration law.
It follows from the connectivity of practice and academia that the Network considers itself at the same time as a point of contact for other actors working in the area of migration law.

The Network explicitly invites German as well as foreign participants. First contacts to Dutch scholars have already been established and shall be developed further. Our project is based on the understanding that the harmonisation of mi-gration law at the European level implies the need for transnational cooperation, since the Europeanised migration law can no longer be understood from a na-tional perspective alone. We therefore address ourselves to participants from dif-ferent countries; their integration shall be facilitated by the double working language of English and German.

Besides international openness, the social phenomenon of migration requires an interdisciplinary approach. The group of participants is therefore not limited to lawyers, but open to academics from different disciplines, in particular social sci-ences, who work on different aspects of migration law.

We offer an internet-platform and organise a conference once a year – besides by regular meetings of the members. These meetings facilitate the exchange of ideas, cooperation and discussion.

We share the conviction that Germany – being an immigration country in the cen-tre of the European Union – needs to reconsider its migration law. While the law concerning aliens was primarily regarded as a means of repulse in earlier days it has by now become an instrument for immigration management and integration. Besides these positive effects there are however many challenges which have to be overcome, above all the fight against terrorism and the difficult relationship between immigration and the welfare state.

Immigration and the status of long-term residents as well as the protection of mi-norities and anti-discrimination are topics of vital social and legal importance which shall be covered by the network in academic and practical regard and be brought to the public attention. Special attention will be given to the relation of human rights and migration law.

Several questions are already under investigation by the members of the network, for example problems of circular migration or the ambivalent challenges of integration, terrorism etc. The projects do not restrict themselves to the German legal system, but include comparative jurisprudence and interdisciplinary aspects (esp. from the social sciences). One dissertation concerning the reunion of families in European and national law will be completed in the near future. We also regard it as an important issue to further enhance the cooperation with and understanding of Islamic cultures and nations; the freedom of speech and press in Turkey in the light of the European Convention on Human Rights and the future accession of Turkey to the European Union is one dissertation project which reflects this attitude.


This website shall not only provide an internal forum for the exchange of information among members and for regular coordination. It also presents the work of the Network to the wider public. In particular, publications and working papers will be available online. Conferences and other activities of the Network or other organisers shall be promoted and documented on the website.

The website will also contain an area where the members present themselves with their main working focuses and publications. This presentation shall facilitate exchange and cooperation on specific questions.


The Network comes together three times a year for work meetings. There will be the possibility to discuss members’ current projects as well as other interesting questions in the area of migration law. These meetings are intended to foster internal exchange and advanced training.

The first meeting of the year will take place directly before the “Hohenheimer Tage zum Ausländer- und Asylrecht” in Hohenheim near Stuttgart in January.

A second meeting will be held in June, before the UNHCR symposium on refugees to facilitate synergy. In 2007, the meeting took place on the 16th and 17th of June in Berlin at the Humboldt University.

A third meeting will take place in autumn and shall be combined with the annual public conference of the Network which will take place after the internal meeting.

The annual conference

As a sort of yearly stock-taking, there will be an annual conference about a current topic in the wider field of migration law, reflecting the network’s international and interdisciplinary orientation. Expert practitioners and academics will be invited as guest speakers. The target audience includes students, academics and practitioners. This conference provides the basis for enhanced debate and advanced training. It also contributes to the academic, critical discussion on migration law and simultaneously presents the Network to the public.

The 2007 conference was concerned with “Ways out of precarious residence status” and covered issues such as the exceptional leave to remain, cases of hardship, the social rights of illegal residents, and with legalization measures in Spain and Italy. The keynote speech on the occasion of the founding of the Network was given by Marion Eckertz-Höfer, the president of the Federal Administrative Court. Other speakers included Christopher Hein (ECRE) and Tineke Strik (Nijmegen). The conference also served to host the founding ceremony of the Network.


During its founding phase the network has already received and continues to re-ceive energetic support by various renowned experts on migration law, for example from the Academy of the Diocese Rottenburg-Stuttgart and judges and clerks of the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Administrative Court. Furthermore, we are supported by members of the Centre for Migration Law (Radbound Universiteit Nijmegen), several German universities, members of state institutions (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees, and Integration) and non-state actors. (e. g. UNHCR).

Joining the Network

The Network welcomes new members. However, we want to be more than just another mailing list. Joining our list implies the will to actively participate in the Network. This means coming to the yearly meetings as regularly as possible, and paying a members fee.

New members are accepted in a consensus procedure. There are three ways to join. One possibility is asking a member to put you forward for acceptance. A second way is to contact the network via email with a short self-description (areas of research, job if any, etc) that should specify the interest in the Network. The third way is to come to one of the Network meetings which are announced on our homepage, and to introduce yourself “sur place”.

Once accepted, each new member receives an invitation email from our yahoo mailing list. The email contains a link which enables the recipient to join the list. The list admin will not do this for you, so you will have to use the link provided in order to join the list. So far, the mailing list is operating in German; if you wish to join but do not speak any German, we will have to think about ways to accomodate you.

In order to finance our activities and to guarantee a certain measure of commitment, we charge a yearly members fee of 50 €. If you cannot afford this amount, you can pay the reduced fee of 25 € without having to give reasons. If you feel that your financial situation allows you to pay a higher fee, we suggest an amount of 75 €, or any other amount you find appropriate. The account information will be provided in the invitation email.

If the fee has not been received 6 weeks after the invitation email was sent out, we will have to take you off the list again.

Welcome to the Network!

Founding members:

Dr. Constanze Abig (Research associate, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena)
Klaus Barwig (Academy of the Diocese Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Referat Migration)
Dr. Stephan Beichel-Benedetti (Judge VG Rottweil, curr. Academic member of staff at the Federal Constitutional Court)
Julia Biester (PhD Candidate / research assistant, University of Bielefeld)
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Davy (University of Bielefeld)
Dr. Klaus Dienelt (Judge VG Darmstadt, curr. Academic member of staff at the Federal Administrative Court)
Simone Emmert (PhD Candidate / research assistant, Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg)
Anuscheh Farahat (PhD Candidate / research assistant, MPI Heidelberg)
Dr. Andreas Fischer-Lescano (Research associate, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt am Main)
Susanne Giesler (Temporary lecturer, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt am Main)
Dr. Constantin Hruschka (UNHCR Nürnberg)
Matthias Laas (University of Osnabrück)
Tillmann Löhr (PhD Candidate; former research assistant, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt am Main, currently research staff at the Bundestag)
Nora Markard (PhD Candidate / research assistant, Humboldt-University of Berlin)
Sybille Röseler (head of department at the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees, and Integration)
Michael Schlikker (in-house lawyer, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen)
Dr. Christoph Schumacher (Jurist, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)
Tineke Strik (Radbound Universiteit Nijmegen)
Dr. Daniel Thym (Research associate, Humboldt-University of Berlin)
Nina Truchseß (Freie Universität Berlin)
Saniye Utangac (temporary lecturer, University of Bielefeld)
Anne Walter ((PhD Candidate / research assistant, University of Osnabrück)
Dr. Esther Weizsäcker (Legal advisor at the authorized representative of the EKD Council)