One of the most pivotal roles of the IARLJ is to bring all refugee law judges and decision-makers together to come to a common understanding of international refugee law and practice. A common application, understanding, and interpretation of international refugee law allows for a more just outcome for all those who are seeking to be recognized as Convention refugees across all states parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. At the forefront of fulfilling this pivotal role for the IARLJ is its Inter-Conference Working Parties Process that is comprised of a number of transnational groups of refugee law judges or decision-makers, at all instances of the refugee status determination process within their respective jurisdictions, who are working on a number of critical issues in international refugee law and practice. The objective of these transnational working groups is to try to resolve divergences and differences in judicial understanding, application, analysis, and the interpretation of international refugee law on these critical issues.
Each IARLJ Working Party is comprised, typically, of a Rapporteur, who is responsible for leading their Working Party, presiding at its meetings, and ensuring that the Working Party meets its self-determined objectives for presenting its findings at the next IARLJ World Conference. The Rapporteur is assisted in their work by the Associate Rapporteur. IARLJ Working Parties have about a dozen members from the IARLJ and that are frequently supplemented by Associate IARLJ members, usually, legal scholars and academics, and UNHCR officials, who are considered to be ex officio members.
The conference papers, reports and guidelines of the IARLJ Working Parties are frequently published in leading refugee law journals, as chapters in edited volumes, and the IARLJ’s own World Conference Proceedings publications and on the IARLJ website. Please note that any guidelines recommended by a Working Party must follow a particular procedure to be issued under the auspices of the IARLJ as a whole. It is fair to say that the IARLJ Working Parties have made an important and occasionally a significant contribution to the advancement of international refugee law and practice.