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School of Law

Kathryn Allinson


PhD Student



Thesis Title

Causing Forced Displacement: An Inquiry into 'Displacing Third State' Responsibility


Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax, Dr Stephen Allen and Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice.

Summary of Research

This research will scrutinize the responsibility of third countries that may have contributed to a refugee flow, whether directly or indirectly, thus providing a wider understanding of how the law on State responsibility determines accountability for forced migration. The end goal is to determine whether the laws of international responsibility, as expressed in the International Law Commission Articles on State Responsibility (ASR), can be relied upon in this context. It will augment available literature, focusing on the responsibilities of the State of origin of the persons concerned, by centring instead on third countries. The research will thus fill a gap, by providing a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of today’s realities of population displacement due to armed conflict.

This project will use a legal-doctrinal methodology, drawing on a multi-disciplinary approach, combining knowledge from different legal branches (IHL–IHRL–IRL–PIL). In particular, the attribution and causation analysis, which is very much evidence-dependent, will require an investigation of the factual reality and specific implication of third countries in the causation chain leading to population displacements. The research will also utilise theoretical studies of causation and multi-causality in the social sciences domain, to inform the analysis of the ‘attribution’ and ‘causation’ elements of international responsibility.


After receiving her Bachelor Degree in Politics with Philosophy from Durham University in 2010, Kathryn started to work for the legal action charity Reprieve, in research and fundraising. She then spent 5 years working for WaterAid, an international development charity, in strategic and programme planning. This provided her the opportunity to travel extensively across sub-Saharan Africa developing monitoring and evaluation techniques in water and sanitation programmes to ensure sustainability of interventions. She also developed understanding of the human right to water and sanitation with communities, local, national and international stakeholders.

Whilst working full time, Kathryn completed her GDL in 2013 at BPP Law School and in the academic year 2015, she finished her LLM in International Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London. Her dissertation which was rewarded with distinction, discussed the justiciability of the right to water. In addition, Kathryn was awarded the QM Postgraduate Essay Competition in Migration Law prize, for an essay on state accountability for causing refugees flows during the War on Terror campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This allowed her to present her research at the prestigious Annual Conference of the Society of Legal Scholars in September 2015. In September 2016, Kathryn re-joined the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London as a PhD candidate and she was awarded with Queen Mary University of London Research Studentship.


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