Professor Sean Rehaag is the Director of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies. He specializes in immigration and refugee law, human rights and legal process. He frequently contributes to public debates about immigration and refugee law, and he engages in law reform efforts in these areas. In 2012, he received the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Advocacy Award for outstanding achievement in advocacy on behalf of refugees. He is also committed to exploring innovative teaching methodologies, with a particular interest in clinical and experiential education. In 2011, he received the Osgoode Teaching Excellence Award. From 2015 to 2018, he served as the Academic Director at Parkdale Community Legal Services.
Professor Rehaag’s academic research focuses on empirical studies of immigration and refugee law decision-making processes. He currently holds an SSHRC grant involving quantitative research using large data-sets to study extra-legal factors that influence outcomes in Canadian refugee adjudication. He is also pursuing research using experiments to help better understand how refugee adjudicators make credibility assessments. In 2013, he received the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Scholarly Paper Award for an article entitled “Judicial Review of Refugee Determinations: The Luck of the Draw?”. He also publishes yearly statistics on Canada’s refugee determination system. Many of his publications are available on SSRN.
Prior to joining the Osgoode faculty in 2008, Professor Rehaag was a visiting scholar at the Université de Montreal’s Chaire de recherche du Canada en droit international des migrations. He has also been a visiting scholar with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings, a visiting researcher at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and an instructor at the University of Victoria and the Université de Sherbrooke. He holds bachelor’s degrees in civil law and common law from McGill University and a bachelors degree in political science from the University of British Columbia. His doctoral dissertation, which received the Alan Marks Medal for best graduate thesis in 2008 at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, examined the legal claims that arise when faith-based communities offer sanctuary to prevent the deportation of unsuccessful refugee claimants.
Research Interests: Immigration and Refugee Law, Empirical Legal Studies, Judicial/Administrative Decision-Making, Legal Process, Access to Justice, Gender and Sexuality
Graduate Research Supervision (LLM, PhD): Professor Rehaag is interested in working with LLM and PHD students on projects involving refugee law, immigration law, access to justice, and judicial/administrative decision-making. He is especially keen on supervising projects in these areas that use research methods that go beyond standard doctrinal legal research, including: quantitative empirical research, data scraping, machine learning, predictive algorithms, artificial intelligence, and experimental methods. In addition to students with law degrees, students with backgrounds in data science, computer science, statistics, experimental psychology, or related fields, who are interested in exploring intersections between their discipline and law are welcome to apply. Projects with the potential to enhance social justice will be prioritized.