Digital Refugee Lawyering: Risk, Legal Knowledge, and Accountability

Journal article

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora (2021) Digital Refugee Lawyering: Risk, Legal Knowledge, and Accountability, Refugee Survey Quarterly 40 (4): 414–432.

Read the article here (Open Access)

This article explores how the digital transformation of humanitarianism, and the refugee regime reshapes refugee lawyering. Much refugee lawyering is based on a traditional understanding of legal protection – and a focus on legal aid, law reform advocacy, and specific protection procedures (such as refugee status determination). Refugee lawyering must now grapple with the challenges offered by the digital transformation of international protection. This entails identifying emergent protection issues and how they relate to the law and legal claims. To that end, the article puts forward suggestions regarding the risks of the digital transformation as it pertains to the humanitarian space, the refugee management infrastructure, and refugee lawyering. The article also considers its implications for legal knowledge and the possibility that law may be “displaced” by technology. The article concludes by discussing what it means for refugee lawyering and for being accountable to the norms and values of rule of law standards, international protection, and to individual clients.

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