Peter A Allard School of Law

Efrat Arbel

Associate Professor
B.A (McGill); J.D. (UBC); LL.M, SJD (Harvard Law School)



Efrat Arbel is Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law. She publishes and teaches in refugee law, prison law, constitutional law, and tort law. Her primary research examines how legal rights are negotiated and defined in liminal legal spaces like the border, the detention center, and the prison.

Prior to joining the Allard School of Law, Dr. Arbel completed her masters and doctoral studies at Harvard Law School, where she was recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and was Canada Research Fellow with the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of British Columbia between 2012-2014, with visiting terms at the Oxford Center for Criminology (2013) and the European University Institute (2014).

Currently, Dr. Arbel is examining the application of the law of torts to immigration detention, is principal investigator on a SSHRC funded IDG project examining the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (through collaboration with Deborah Anker at Harvard Law School) and is also a research collaborator with colleagues Benjamin Goold and Catherine Dauvergne on a SSHRC funded project, Finding a Place for Rights: An Independent Evaluation of the Impact of the Beyond the Border Initiative on Human Rights at the Canada-US Border.   

Combining her academic work with legal practice, Dr. Arbel is engaged in advocacy and litigation involving refugee and prisoner rights. She has served on subcommittees with Westcoast LEAF and on the executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. She provides expert opinions and consultations to various government agencies. She is also a frequent media commentator on refugee and prison issues, and has been cited by numerous media outlets, including The Globe and MailNational Post, and The New York Times.

Dr. Arbel is affiliated with UBC Migration, the newly launched Research Excellence Cluster at the University of British Columbia.


  • Refugee Law
  • Advanced Charter Law
  • Torts


For Professor Arbel's publications available on SSRN, go here:

Selected publications are also listed on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database.

Efrat Arbel Profile

Organization Affiliations

  • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies

Research Interests

  • Human rights
  • Immigration and refugee law
  • Jurisprudence, legal theory, and critical studies
  • Law and social justice
  • Public and constitutional law
  • Tort law

How are Charter rights negotiated and defined along the border, at the detention centre, and in the prison? And how does this define the limits of Canadian constitutional protection?

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