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School of Law

Dr Niovi Vavoula, (BA, University of Athens); LLM-PhD (QMUL)


Lecturer in Migration and Security

Room Number: Mile End


Dr Niovi Vavoula is Lecturer in Migration and Security since 2018 and Associate Editor of the New Journal of European Criminal Law (NJECL), responsible for the peer review of articles, case notes and analyses. She was previously Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in the School of Law of Queen Mary University of London and part-time teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She regularly collaborates with the ODYSSEUS Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe as a member of the OMNIA project, as well the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN). She has given guest lectures at the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2018), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2016), City University London (2014). She has held a visiting position at ULB - Université Libre de Bruxelles (2014) and in 2021, she will be an Erasmus + Visiting Lecturer at the University of Bologna. She is a qualified lawyer at the Court of Appeal with Athens Bar Association (2011). Before commencing her doctoral studies she volunteered for the Legal Department of the Greek Council for Refugees and did an internship for the Greek Desk at Eurojust. She publishes in the areas of EU Immigration, Criminal law and Privacy law and has acted as an expert consultant for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundamental Rights Agency. Her forthcoming monograph explores the privacy and data protection challenges stemming from the establishment and operation of EU-wide centralised information systems and will be published by Brill in 2021.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • LAW4009 European Union Law
  • LAW5005 Criminal Law

Postgraduate Teaching


Dr Vavoula is generally interested in:

  • European refugee law and migration studies
  • The interplay between immigration and criminal law and crimmigration studies
  • Information exchange mechanisms, surveillance mechanisms, digitalisation of border controls, privacy and data protection law
  • Legal responses to trafficking in human beings and money laundering
  • EU Criminal law, mutual recognition and mutual trust, defence rights, EU citizenship and criminal law.



  • Immigration and Privacy in the Law of the European Union – The Case of Information Systems (under book contract with Brill Nijhoff, forthcoming 2021).

Edited Collections

  • Valsamis Mitsilegas and Niovi Vavoula (eds), Privacy and Surveillance in a Digital Era: Challenges for Transatlantic Cooperation and European Criminal Law (Hart, under production forthcoming 2021).
  • Valsamis Mitsilegas, Violeta Moreno-Lax and Niovi Vavoula, Securitising Asylum Flows: Deflection, Criminalisation and the Challenges for Human Rights(Brill Nijhoff, 2020).
  • Valsamis Mitsilegas, Niovi Vavoula and Irene Wieczorek (eds), ‘New Voices in European Criminal Law: Part 2’ (2020) 11(3) Special Issue of the New Journal of European Criminal Law.
  • Valsamis Mitsilegas, Niovi Vavoula and Irene Wieczorek (eds), ‘New Voices in European Criminal Law’(2015) 6(1) Special Issue of the New Journal of European Criminal Law.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • ‘Information Sharing in the Dublin System: Remedies for Asylum Seekers Between Gaps in Judicial Protection and Interstate Trust’ (forthcoming German Law Journal).
  • (with Lilian Tsourdi), ‘Killing me Softly? Scrutinising the Role of Soft Regulation in Greece’s Response to COVID-19’ (forthcoming European Journal of Risk Regulation).
  • ‘The "Puzzle" of EU Large-Scale Information Systems for Third-Country Nationals: Surveillance of Movement and Its Challenges for Privacy and Data Protection' (2020) 45(3) European Law Review 348-372.
  • ‘Consultation of EU Immigration Databases for Law Enforcement Purposes: A Privacy and Data Protection Assessment’ (2020) 22 European Journal of Migration and Law 139-177.
  • ‘Interoperability of EU Information Systems: The Deathblow to the Rights to Privacy and Personal Data Protection of Third-Country Nationals?’ (2020) 26(1) European Public Law 131-156.
  • (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) ‘The Evolving EU Anti-Money Laundering Regime: Challenges for Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law’ (2016) 23(2) Maastricht Journal of European & Comparative Law 261-293.
  • (with Felicity Gerry QC and Julia Muraszkiewicz) ‘The Role of Technology in the Fight against Human Trafficking: Reflections on Privacy and Data Protection Concerns’ (2016) 32(2) Computer Law & Security Review 205–217.

Book chapters in edited volumes

  • ‘Digitalising the EU Migration and Asylum Policy: A Case Study on Information Systems’ in Philippe De Bruycker and Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi (eds), Research Handbook in EU Immigration and Asylum Law (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2021).
  • ‘Information Processing’ in Valsamis Mitsilegas, EU Criminal Law (second edition, Hart forthcoming 2021).
  • ‘Stepping Up the Fight against Impunity in EU Law: Access to Immigration Databases by National Law Enforcement Authorities and Europol’ in Luisa Marin and Stefano Montaldo (eds), The Fight against Impunity in EU Law (Hart, in print forthcoming 2020).
  • ‘Databases for Non-EU Nationals and the Right to Private Life: Towards a System of Generalised Surveillance of Movement’ in Francesca Bignami (ed), EU Law in Populist Times (CUP, 2020) 227-266.
  • ‘Criminalisation of irregular migration in the EU: The impact of El Dridi’ in Valsamis Mitsilegas et al. (eds), The Impact of European Union Law on National Criminal Law Challenges and Constraints to Individual Liability in the Member States (Hart 2019) 273-289.
  • ‘Prevention, Surveillance and the Transformation of Citizenship in the "Security Union": The Case of Foreign Terrorist Fighters' in Ulrich Sieber et al. (eds), Alternative, Informal, and Transitional Types of Criminal Justice and the Legitimacy of New Sanction Models in the Global Risk Society (Duncker & Humblot, 2018) 307-334.
  • (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) ‘European Union Criminal Law’ in Herwig Hofmann et al. (eds), Specialized Administrative Law of the European Union - A Sectoral Treatment(OUP, 2018) 153-188.
  • ‘EU Immigration Databases Under Scrutiny: Towards the Normalisation of Surveillance of Movement in an Era of “Privacy Spring”?’ in Gert Vermeulen and Eva Lievens (eds), Data Protection and Privacy under Pressure (Maklu, 2017) 215-248.
  • (with Felicity Gerry and Julia Muraszkiewicz) ‘Using Technology to Combat Human Trafficking: Recognising the Implications for Privacy’ in Nora Cronin and Kimberly Ellis (eds), Human Trafficking(Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2017) 111-133.
  • (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) ‘The Normalisation of Surveillance in an Era of Global Mobility’ in Philippe Bourbeau (ed), Handbook of Migration and Security(Edward Elgar, 2017) 231-251.
  • ‘The Interplay between EU Immigration Law and National Criminal Law - The Case of the Return Directive’ in Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstantinides (eds) Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law(Hart Publishing, 2016) 294-314.
  • ‘Access to EURODAC by Law Enforcement Authorities and Europol for the Purposes of the Prevention, Detection and Investigation of Terrorist Offences and Other Serious Crimes’ in Despina Anagnostopoulou (ed.), ‘Developments and Challenges of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (Jean Monnet Chair of the University of Macedonia, 2016) (in Greek) 308-326.
  • ‘The Recast Eurodac Regulation – Are Asylum-Seekers Treated as Suspected Criminals?’ in Céline Bauloz et al. (eds), Seeking Asylum in the European Union(Martinus Nijhoff, 2015) 247-273.
  • (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) ‘Criminal Law: Institutional Rebalancing and Judicialization as Drivers of Policy Change’ in Florian Trauner and Ariadna Ripoll Servent (eds), Policy Change in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – How Institutions Matter(Routledge, 2015) 133-150.

Case notes - Annotations

  • ‘Serin Alheto v. Zamestnik-Predsedatel Na Darzhavna Agentsia Za Bezhantsite (C.J.E.U.) (2020) 59(1) International Legal Materials 132-134.
  • ‘The Detention of Asylum Seekers Pending Transfer under the Dublin III Regulation: Al Chodor’ (2019) 56(4) Common Market Law Review 1041-1067.
  • ‘Exchanging Information on Road Traffic Offences: - A Measure of Police Cooperation or Transport Policy? (Case note on C-43/12 Commission v Parliament and Council)’ (2016) 7(1) New Journal of European Criminal Law 113-122

Blog posts

Book reviews

  • ‘The Greek Penal Code: English Translation by Vassiliki Chalkiadaki and Emmanouil Billis’ (2017) 8(4) New Journal of European Criminal Law 566-567.
  • ‘On the Doorstep of Europe – Asylum and citizenship in Greece by Heat Cabot’ (2017) 31(1) Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 75-76.
  • ‘EU Security and Justice after Lisbon and Stockholm by Diego Acosta Arcarazo and Cian Murphy (eds)’ (European Law Blog, 27 May 2014).


Dr Vavoula welcomes proposals for postgraduate supervision in the fields of EU Migration law, EU Criminal law and EU Privacy/Data Protection law.

Dr Vavoula is currently supervising:

  • Andreas Karapatakis: Thesis entitled ‘The Legal Challenges in the Fight Against Money-Laundering Through Digital Currencies’.
  • Ayesha Riaz: Thesis entitled: ‘The Impact of the Hostile Immigration Environment on Solicitors and Doctors Who Assist Asylum Seekers and Undocumented Migrants’.

Public Engagement

Dr Vavoula has acted as expert consultant for the European institutions, and as legal advisor for a number of organisations active. She is also regularly invited to deliver expert opinions in her areas of expertise and she is happy to respond to media requests.

Expert studies and participation in collaborative projects

Current projects

  • July 2020 - current: Participation as an expert in the Impact Assessment study conducted by ICF on the revision of the API Directive.
  • December 2019 - current: Participation as an expert in the study conducted by the European Migration Network (EMN) on ‘Data management in the registration and asylum procedure ‘.
  • September 2019 - current: Participation as Co-coordinator for the United Kingdom (with Violeta Moreno-Lax) in the Jean Monnet Network MAPS (Migration and Asylum Policy Systems).
  • January 2019 - current: Participation as an expert in the UK-Irish Criminal Justice Cooperation Network on the future cooperation between the UK and Ireland post-Brexit.
  • October 2017 - current: Participation in the Jean Monnet Network ‘The European Union at the Crossroads of Global Order ‘ (EUCROSS).
  • September 2015 - current: Participation in the Odysseus Monnet Network for Immigration and Asylum (OMNIA project led by Université Libre de Bruxelles - contribution to the EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy blog, teaching and conferences).

Past projects

  • July 2020 - September 2020: Author of the Study ‘Police Information Exchange - The future development regarding Prüm and the API Directive ‘ commissioned by the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament. [Coverage in euractiv]
  • January 2020: Participation in the revision of the EU Handbook on Migration and Asylum in collaboration with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).
  • October 2019 - December 2019: Author of the Substitute Impact Assessment for the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament entitled 'The European Commission package of ETIAS consequential amendments: Substitute impact assessment'.
  • December 2018 - July 2019: Rapporteur for the United Kingdom in the study ‘Evaluation of Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime ‘ for the European Commission (Project led by Milieu LTD).
  • February 2018 - May 2019: Participation in the study ‘Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters and Electronic IT Data in the EU: Ensuring Efficient Cross-Border Cooperation and Mutual Trust (JUD-IT) ‘ (with the Centre for European Policy Studies - CEPS).
  • December 2017 - April 2018: Participation as legal expert in the study for the European Parliament LIBE Committee entitled ‘Interoperability of Justice and Home Affairs Information Systems ‘ (with Optimity Advisors).
  • October 2017 - March 2018: Participation in the study for the European Commission entitled ‘Fundamental Rights Review of EU Data Collection Instruments and Programmes ‘ (with Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini).
  • February 2017 - May 2017: Conduct of study for the European Parliament LIBE Committee entitled ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS): Border Management, Fundamental Rights and Data Protection ‘ (with Dr Julien Jeandesboz and Ms Susie Alegre).
  • July 2014 - January 2015: National rapporteur for Greece in a study for the European Commission (DG Justice) and conducted by ECORYS and ECLAN on the existence and imposition of minimum criminal sanctions in the EU Member States (with Prof. Valsamis Mitsilegas).
  • January - June 2012: Researcher in drafting an external evaluation report commissioned by the Fundamental Rights Agency regarding the impact of three FRA reports on asylum and border controls to national legislation and policy (with Prof. Valsamis Mitsilegas and Prof. Elspeth Guild).

Conferences and workshops (selected)

  • 8 March 2020 Participation as a panel speaker on interoperability in the CEPS Ideas Lab (Brussels, Belgium).
  • 19 October 2019 Participation in the CEPS Interoperability Task Force (Brussels).
  • 23-24 September 2019 Paper presentation (with Violeta Moreno-Lax) ‘20 Years of EU Migration and Asylum Policy: Leaving Tampere Behind? ‘ (MAPS Project Launching Conference, hosted by L ‘Orientale University of Naples (Italy).
  • 17 May 2019 Paper presentation ‘Information Exchange in the Era of Agencification: The Case of EU-lisa ‘ at the EUSA Biannual Conference (Denver).
  • 22 February 2019 Paper presentation ‘The Reinforced Arsenal for the Return of Irregular Migrants: Weilding Visas and Centralised Databases ‘ at the workshop entitled ‘Deportation of Foreigners: EU instruments, Nation-State practices and social actors ‘ involvement ‘ (University of Neuchatel).
  • 15 February 2019 Paper Presentation ‘Centralised Databases and the Fight against Impunity ‘ at the workshop ‘The Fight against Impunity in EU Law ‘ (University of Turin).
  • 5 December 2018 Paper Presentation ‘Reinforcing border control in a "Security Union" and the case of small states at the periphery of the EU at the Workshop ‘Small States and Open Borders ‘ (University of Lund).
  • 27 September 2018 Paper Presentation ‘The Case of S and Marper ‘ at the Conference ‘Interrogating the Right to Privacy and the Limits of Surveillance ‘ (with Evelien Brouwer) (Sciences Po, Paris).
  • 17-18 September 2018 Paper Presentation ‘Border Management post-Brexit ‘ at the ERA Annual Conference on EU Border Management (ERA, Trier).
  • 11 September 2018 Paper Presentation ‘The Normalisation of Surveillance of Movement under EU Law ‘ at the Workshop ‘The Surveillance Society, the Coercive State and Democratic accountability ‘ (University of Aegean, Lesvos).
  • 23-24 May 2018 Paper presentation ‘Information Systems in a Security Union: In Interoperability We (Mis)Trust? ‘ (Workshop: ‘Information Sharing and European Agencies: Novel Frontiers ‘, European University Institute, Florence).
  • 17-18 May 2018 Paper presentation ‘Surveillance, Privacy and Data Protection in the Post-Watson Era ‘ (Annual ECLAN Conference, Queen Mary, University of London).
  • 2-3 May 2018 Paper presentation ‘Managing Migration through Surveillance of Third-country Nationals in a ‘Security Union ‘: Is There a Limit? (Symposium: ‘Borders, Racisms, and Harms ‘ Birkbeck University).
  • 23-24 March 2018 Paper presentation ‘Pan-European Immigration Databases and their Interoperability: Mapping the Legal Landscape and the Privacy Implications ‘ (George Washington University, Washington DC).
  • 23 November 2017 Paper presentation ‘The Digitalisation of EU Immigration Control: Centralised Databases, Security and Privacy (European University Institute, Florence).
  • 27-28 October 2017 Paper presentation ‘Scrutinising EU Immigration Control: Massive Collection and Storage of Foreigners' Personal Data as a Panacea? ‘ (University of Malmö).
  • 12-14 July 2017 Paper presentation ‘Privacy and Data Processing in the Jurisprudence of the CJEU: An Area of Judicial Activism? ‘ (Council for European Studies Conference, Glasgow).
  • 30 June 2017 Paper presentation ‘The El Dridi judgment ‘ (Workshop ‘The Impact of European Union Law on National Criminal Law - Challenges and Constraints to Criminal Liability for Member States, University of Edinburgh).
  • 11-12 May 2017 Participation in the conference ‘Asylum at the Frontiers of Europe: Realities and Legal Challenges ‘ (Lund University).
  • 4-5 May 2017 Paper presentation ‘The EU Directive on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings: Towards a Holistic Legal Framework? ‘ (Workshop of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law entitled ‘When the exception becomes the rule: EU Societies on the Move ‘).
  • 30-31 March 2017 Participation in the ECLAN Annual Conference ‘European Criminal Law in the Global Context: Values, Principles and Policies ‘ (University of Coimbra).
  • 10 February 2017 Convenor of the Workshop on Databases under Judicial Scrutiny (OMNIA Annual Conference).
  • 1-2 December 2016 Participation in the ERA Annual Conference on Countering Terrorism (ERA, Trier).
  • 4-5 October 2016 Paper presentations ‘Exploring the Case Law on the EU Return Directive: To what Extent are Irregular Migrants Protected from Criminalisation at the National Level? ‘ and ‘EU Immigration Control and Privacy in An Era of Digitalization: The Case of Databases ‘ (3rd CINETS Conference - Crimmigration in the Shadows of Sovereignty, University of Maryland).
  • 14-15 July 2016 Paper presentation ‘The Tale of Eurodac: An Ugly Duckling Growing into a Swan? ‘ (Conference on ‘Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit ‘, UNU-GCM, openDemocracy and Queen Mary, University of London, Barcelona).
  • 17-18 June 2016 Paper presentation ‘The EU Response to the Phenomenon of Foreign Fighters ‘ (QM Reflection Group on Terrorism and Human Rights, Paris).
  • 31 March - 1 April 2016 Paper Presentation ‘Managing Mass Mobility or Heading to Mass Surveillance? - The Case of the EU 'Smart Borders' Package ‘ (Conable Conference in International Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology).
  • 20 November 2015 Paper Presentation ‘Why EU Immigration Databases Constitute A Privacy Problem? ‘ (VU University of Amsterdam).
  • 7-8 October 2015 Paper presentation ‘EU Immigration Control and Privacy: The Case of Databases ‘ (ECLAN Ph.D. Seminar, University of Copenhagen).
  • 3 September 2015 Paper presentation ‘EU Immigration Databases, Terrorism and the Right to Private Life ‘ (QM Reflection Group on Terrorism and Human Rights, London).
  • 17 June 2014 Paper presentation: ‘Immigration Databases and Counter-Terrorism in the EU: A Fair Balance between Fundamental Rights and Security? (Conference on 'The European Union's Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: Stockholm and Beyond', University of Dundee).
  • June 2014 ‘Jean Monnet Summer School on the EU ‘s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice ‘ (University of Dundee).
  • 25 April 2014 Paper presentation: ‘The Recast EURODAC Regulation: Are Asylum Seekers Treated as Suspected Criminals? ‘ (2nd Ph.D. Workshop, Refugee Law Initiative, London).
  • 3-5 April 2014 Paper presentation: ‘Assessing Law Enforcement Access to the Visa Information System (VIS) in Light of Article 8 ECHR ‘ (Postgraduate Conference, Newcastle Law School).
  • July 2013 ‘Odysseus Summer School 2013 - EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy ‘ (Odysseus Academic Network, ULB, Brussels).
  • June 2013 ‘IX Migration Summer School: Theories, Methods and Policies ‘ (EUI and Migration Policy Group, Florence).
  • 6 June 2013 Poster presentation: ‘Does the EU Perceive Asylum-Seekers as Potential Terrorists? ‘ (Annual Ph.D. Conference, QMUL).
  • 30-31 May 2013 Paper presentation: ‘The Transformation of EU Databases into Criminal Law Weapons - The case of EURODAC ‘ (ECLAN Ph.D. Seminar in the area of EU Criminal Justice, University of Pau, Bayonne).
  • 14-16 February 2013 Paper presentation: ‘Access to EURODAC by law enforcement authorities and Europol for criminal law purposes ‘ (1st Jean Monnet Conference ‘Developments and Challenges of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice ‘, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki).

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