Staff profile

Dr Savitri Taylor

Associate Professor

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce
La Trobe Law School

Martin Building room 277, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BCom, LLB(Hons) (Melb.), PhD (Melb.), Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria

Area of study


Brief profile

Savitri Taylor's area of research interest is refugee law and asylum policy at the national, regional and international level. The abstracts and/or full text of most of her scholarly publications are available for down load on her SSRN author page.

Dr Taylor is Deputy Editor of  the refereed international relations journal Global, Change, Peace and Security and an Editorial Board member of the refereed law journal Law in Context.  She is also very involved with the refugee sector in Australia and the region being, among other things, a member of the Management Committee of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre Inc in Victoria and an individual member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network

Research interests

International law

- Please contact me to discuss a topic.

Teaching units

  • LAW2FPL Foundations of Property Law
  • LAW5RLC Refugee Law in Context (from 2016)

Recent publications

Refereed Journal Publications  (last five years)

A. Nethery, B. Rafferty-Brown & S. Taylor, 'Exporting Detention: Australian-funded Immigration Detention in Indonesia', (2013) 26 Journal of Refugee Studies 88-109

S. Taylor & B. Rafferty-Brown, 'Dificult Journeys: Accessing Refugee Protection in Indonesia' (2010) 36(3) Monash University Law Review 138-161

S. Taylor and B. Rafferty-Brown, ‘Waiting for Life to Begin: The Plight of Asylum Seekers Caught by Australia’s Indonesian Solution’ (2010) 22(4) International Journal of Refugee Law 558-592 

S. Taylor, ‘Australian Funded Care and Maintenance of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia and PNG: All Care but No Responsibility?’ (2010) 33(2) UNSW Law Journal 337-359

S. Taylor, ‘The Impact of Australia-PNG Border Management Cooperation on Refugee Protection’ (2010) 8 Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community (Special Issue: Beyond Border Control) 76-99

K. Neumann and S. Taylor, ‘Australia, Indonesia, and West Papuan refugees, 1962–2009’ (2010) 10 (1) International Relations of the Asia Pacific 1-31

Book Chapters (last 5 years)

S. Taylor, 'Australian Neo-Colonialism in the Pacific: Immigration Detention in Papua New Guinea’ in A. Nethery and J. Silverman (eds), Immigration Detention: The Migration of a Policy and its Human Impact (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015) 135-144

A. Nethery, B. Rafferty-Brown & S. Taylor, ‘At the Discretion of Management: Immigration Detention in Indonesia’ in A. Nethery and J. Silverman (eds), Immigration Detention: The Migration of a Policy and its Human Impact (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015) 114-124

S. Taylor, 'Civil Society and the Fight for Refugee Rights in the Asia Pacific Region' in A. Francis and R. Maguire (eds), Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Asia Pacific Region (Great Britain: Ashgate, 2013) 35-52

S. Taylor, 'Sharing Responsibility for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Asia Pacific Region' in S. Juss (ed), The Ashgate Research Companion to Migration Law, Theory and Policy (Great Britain: Ashgate, 2013) 233-257

Other Publications (last 5 years)

S. Taylor, 'How civil society can improve refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific', The Conversation, posted 25 August 2015,

S. Taylor, 'Australia and the Southeast Asia refugee crisis', The Diplomat, posted 31 July 2015,

S. Taylor, 'The Australian Border Force puts the final nail in transparency's coffin', The Conversation, posted 15 July 2015,

S. Taylor, 'Equal Protection of the Law?', Inside Story, posted 14 May 2015,

A. McNevin, P. Mares, D. Mitric, K. Neumann and S. Taylor, 'Beyond Deterrence: Reframing the Asylum Seeker Debate', Inside Story, posted 13 October 2014,

S. Taylor, 'Sri Lankan Boat Arrivals: Enhanced Screening, Diminished Protection', The Conversation, posted 1 November 2013,

S. Taylor and K. Murphy, "Fact Check: are boat people now 20% of our immigration program?", The Conversation, posted 22 July 2013,

S. Taylor, 'Australia and asylum seekers: Where do the Rudd reforms leave us?', The Conversation, posted 22 July 2013, 

S. Taylor, 'Plan to Deport Foreign Criminals is Flawed', The Age, 21 June 2013, 19

S. Taylor, 'Towing back the boats: bad policy whatever way you look at it', The Conversation, posted 12 June 2013,

S. Taylor, 'The Devil's in the Detail', Inside Story, posted 4 September 2012,

S. Taylor, 'Asylum seekers and the Houston Report's "Australian solution"', The Conversation, posted 23 August 2012,

S. Taylor, 'Wicked Problems and Good Intentions', Inside Story, posted 20 August 2012,

S. Pickering, H. Ware, M. Phillips, S. Gifford, S. Taylor, and S. Castles, 'Saving lives at sea: the asylum seeker expert panel reports', The Conversation, 3 August 2012,

S. Taylor, 'There’s more to regional collaboration than the Malaysia Arrangement', The Conversation, 24 July 2012,

S. Taylor, 'Asylum seekers in Indonesia: why do they get on boats?', The Conversation, 20 July 2012,

S. Taylor, 'What has the Bali Process got to do with it?' Inside Story, posted 2 July 2012,

S. Taylor, 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea', Inside Story, posted 21 December 2011,

S.Taylor, 'Australia's "Malaysian Solution", Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid News Letter, Issue 18, September 2011, 1 & 9-12,

S. Taylor, 'Regional Cooperation and the Malaysian Solution', Inside Story, posted 9 May 2011,

S. Taylor, 'Asylum Seeker Processing in East Timor: A Solution for Whom?', Inside Story, posted 10 March 2011, reprinted in Public Informant supplement of Canberra Times, April 2011 with the title 'East Timor "solution" for whom?'.

S. Taylor, ‘Finding Durable Solutions for West Papuan Refugees in Papua New Guinea: A role for Australia?’ (2010) 19(3) Human Rights Defender 17-19.   

S. Taylor  and B. Rafferty-Brown, ‘African Refugees in Indonesia: An Uncertain Future’, Pambazuka News Issue484 posted 3 June 2010  

S. Taylor, 'The Asylum Freeze and International Law', Inside Story, posted 14 April 2010, and reprinted in Public Informant supplement of Canberra Times, May 2010 with the title ‘The war goes on, but without refugees’.  

S. Taylor, 'Australia's Expanding Borders', Inside Story, posted 3 December 2009

Older publications

Refereed Journal Articles

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s Pacific Solution Mark II: The Lessons to be Learned’ (2007) 9 UTS Law Review (Offshore Processing of Asylum Seekers The Search for Legitimate Parameters) 106-124  

S. Taylor, ‘Australia and Stateless Palestinians’ (2006) 23(2) Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees 106-124   

S. Taylor, ‘Protection Elsewhere/Nowhere’ (2006) 18(2) International Journal of Refugee Law 283-312  

S. Taylor, ‘Immigration Detention Reforms: A Small Gain in Human Rights’ (2006) 13(1) Agenda 49-62

S. Taylor, ‘The Human Rights Implications of the Psycho-Social Harm Caused by Australia’s Temporary Protection Regime’ (2005) 11(1) Australian Journal of Human Rights 233-261  

S. Taylor, ‘Sovereign Power at the Border’ (2005) 16(1) Public Law Review 55-77.   

S. Taylor, ‘Using the Principle of Non-Discrimination to Reconcile the National Contract with the Global Compact’ (2005) 19(2) Global Society: Journal of Interdisciplinary International Relations 155-165.  

S. Taylor, ‘The Line Dividing Good and Evil’ (2002) 1(1) Borderlands E-Journal (supplement)  

S. Taylor, ‘Guarding the Enemy from Oppression: Asylum Seeker Rights Post-September 11' (2002) 26(2) Melbourne University Law Review (Symposium: Contemporary Human Rights in Australia) 396-421 

S. Taylor, ‘Exclusion from Protection of Persons of “Bad Character”: Is Australia Fulfilling its Treaty-based Protection Obligations?’ (2002) 8(1) Australian Journal of Human Rights 83-106   

S. Taylor, ‘Reconciling Australia’s International Protection Obligations with the “War on Terrorism”’ (2002) 14(2) Pacifica Review: Peace, Security and Global Change 121-140.  

S. Taylor, ‘Achieving Reform of Australian Asylum Seeker Law and Policy’ (2001) 24 Just Policy: A Journal of Australian Social Policy 41-54.  

S. Taylor, ‘The Importance of Human Rights Talk in Asylum Seeker Advocacy: A Response to Catherine Dauvergne’ (2001) 24(1) University of New South Wales Law Journal 191-199  

S. Taylor, ‘Protection or Prevention? A Close Look at the New Temporary Safe Haven Visa Class’ (2000) 23(3) University of New South Wales Law Journal (The Refugee Issue) 75-102.   

S. Taylor, ‘Do On-Shore Asylum Seekers Have Economic and Social Rights? Dealing with the Moral Contradiction of Liberal Democracy’ (2000) 1 Melbourne Journal of International Law 71-98  

S. Taylor, 'Protecting the Human Rights of Immigration Detainees in Australia: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Present Accountability Mechanisms' (2000) 22(1) Sydney Law Review 50-92.  

S. Taylor, ‘Should Unauthorised Arrivals in Australia Have Free Access to Advice and Assistance?’ (2000) 6(1) Australian Journal of Human Rights 34-58  

S. Taylor, 'Rethinking Australia's Practice of "Turning Around" Unauthorised Arrivals: The Case for Good Faith Implementation of Australia's Protection Obligations' (1999) 11(1) Pacifica Review: Peace, Security and Global Change 43 - 61.

  S. Taylor, 'Weaving the Chains of Tyranny: The Misrule of Law in the Administrative Detention of Unlawful Non-Citizens' (1999) 16(2) Law in Context 1-33

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s “Safe Third Country” Provisions: Their Impact on Australia’s Fulfillment of the Non-Refoulement Obligations Imposed by the Refugee Convention, the Torture Convention and the ICCPR’ (1996) 15 University of Tasmania Law Review 196-235

S. Taylor, ‘The Right to Review in the Australian On-shore Refugee Status Determination Process: Is It an Adequate Procedural Safeguard against Refoulement?’ (1994) 22 Federal Law Review 300-339.

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s Interpretation of Some Elements of Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention - Marginalising the International Law Claims of On-shore Asylum Seekers in Pursuit of Immigration Control and Foreign Policy Objectives’ (1994) 16 Sydney Law Review 32-71

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s Implementation of Its Non-refoulement Obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ (1994) 17 University of New South Wales Law Journal 432-474  

S. Taylor, ‘Informational Deficiencies Affecting Refugee Status Determinations: Sources and Solutions’ (1994) 13 University of Tasmania Law Review 43-82

S. Taylor, ‘The Meaning of “Social Group”: The Federal Court’s Failure to Think Beyond Social Significance’ (1993) 19 Monash University Law Review 307-325

S. Ratnaike, ‘The Golden Venture Shipment: Humanitarian Aid or Unlawful Intervention?’ (1989) 19 University of Western Australia Law Review 380-400.

Book chapters

S. Taylor, 'Australia's Border Control and Refugee Protection Capacity Building Activities in the Asia-Pacific Region' in A. Babacan and L. Briskman (eds), Asylum Seekers: International Perspective on Interdiction and Deterrence (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008) 63-81    

S. Taylor, ‘Offshore Barriers to Asylum Seeker Movement: The Exercise of Power without Responsibility?’ in J. McAdam (ed), Forced Migration, Human Rights and Security (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008) 93-127  

S. Taylor, ‘From Border Control to Migration Management: The Case for a Paradigm Change in the Western Response to Transborder Population Movement’ in C. Jones Finer (ed.) Migration, Immigration and Social Policy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006) 5- 28. First published in (2005) 39(6) Social Policy and Administration: An International Journal of Policy and Research 563-586.   

S. Taylor, ‘The Human Rights of Rejected Asylum seekers’ in S. Kneebone (ed.), The Refugees Convention 50 Years On: Globalisation and International Law (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2003) 193-232.

Other Publications

S. Taylor, 'Refugee Protection in Australia' (2009) 9 ISIL Yearbook of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law 189-210   

S. Taylor and B. Rafferty-Brown, 'Liberalism's Asylum Dilemma', Inside Story, posted 28 October 2009,  

S. Taylor, ‘Hypocrisy and People Smuggling’, Australian Policy Online, posted 10 June 2009,  

S. Taylor, ‘Seeking an Alternative to Life in Limbo’, Inside Story, posted 21 April 2009, and reprinted in Public Informant supplement of Canberra Times, May 2009 with the title with the title ‘The desperate flight from administrative limbo.’  

S. Taylor, ‘Offshore Borders and Accountability’, Australian Policy Online, posted 18 November 2008

S. Taylor, ‘Migration and Human Security in the Asia-Pacific Region: Introduction’ (2007) 19(3) Global Change Peace and Security 171-174.   

S. Taylor, ‘The Rights of Refugees under International Law James C. Hathaway (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, li + 1184 pp)’ (2007) 26 Australian Year Book of International Law 209-216.   

S. Taylor, ‘The Designated Unauthorised Arrivals Bill and Beyond’ (2006) 28(1) Migration Action 3-5.  

S. Taylor, ‘Playing Out the Asylum Seeker End Game: Forced Removal, Voluntary Repatriation and Everything Between’ (2005) 27(2) Migration Action 6-14.  

S. Taylor, ‘The Pacific Solution or A Pacific Nightmare: The Difference between Burden Shifting and Responsibility Sharing’ (2005) 6(1) Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal 1-43

S. Taylor, ‘Introduction’ (2004) 22(2) Law in Context (Nationality, Refugee Status and State Protection) 1-11.   

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s Response to Asylum Seekers in the “Age of Terrorism”’ (2003) 25(3) Migration Action 25-31.  

S. Taylor, ‘Cessation of Refugee Status under the “Ceased Circumstances” Clauses – A Commentary on Australian Policy and Practice’ in Discussion Paper No.1/2003: When is a Refugee No Longer a Refugee (UNHCR Regional Office for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, 2003) 3-5  

S. Taylor, ‘Australia’s Response to People-smuggling’ (2002) 24(3) Migration Action 28-36.  

S. Taylor, ‘Ourselves and Strangers’ (2000) 22(2) Migration Action 17-20.  

S. Taylor, ‘Understanding the Changes to Australia’s On-shore Protection Program’ (2000) 22(1) Migration Action 4-13.  

S. Taylor, ‘The Case of the East Timorese Boat People’ (1995) 28 International Law News 62-66.  

S. Taylor, ‘Recent Refugee Legislation’ (1995) 26 International Law News 43-47  

S. Taylor, ‘Fertility Control Policies and Refugee Status’ (1995) 17(1) Migration Action 19-22.  

S. Taylor, ‘Recent Refugee Decisions’ (1994) 24 International Law News 54-58

Research projects

At present Dr Taylor is undertaking the following research projects

  • Asylum seekers and the regional and global governance of migration
  • The legal treatment of asylum seekers in Australia 
  • Protecting non-citizens: An Australian legal and political history, 1945-89 (with Professor Klaus Neumann)