Efrat A. Arbel

Associate Professor

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

Office: Allard Hall, room 348
Phone: 604.822.6287
Email: arbel@allard.ubc.ca


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 interests lie in examining 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 a 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 principal investigator on a SSHRC funded IDG project examining the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, through collaboration with Deborah Anker at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Law Clinic. She 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 is an executive member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. She is also a frequent media commentator on refugee and prison law issues, and has been interviewed by outlets like the CBC, Globe and Mail, National Post, and New York Times.


  • Refugee Law
  • Advanced Charter Law
  • Torts

Representative Published Works

  • “Immigration Detention and the Problem of Time: Lessons from Solitary Confinement” (with Ian Davis) (2018) 4(4) International Journal of Migration and Border Studies 326-344
  • “Devalued Liberty and Undue Deference: The Tort of False Imprisonment and the Law of Solitary Confinement” (2018) 84 Supreme Court Law Review 43-70
  • “Immigration Status, Immutability, and the Limits of Equality Protection in Canadian Law” (with Eileen Myrdahl) in R. Albert, P. Daly and V. MacDonnell (eds) The Canadian Constitution in Transition (University of Toronto Press, 2018) 365-385
  • “Bordering the Constitution, Constituting the Border” (2016) 53(3) Osgoode Hall Law Journal 824-852
  • “Between Protection and Punishment: The Irregular Arrival Regime in Canadian Refugee Law” in K. Reiter and A. Koenig (eds) Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration, and Solitary Confinement (Palgrave, 2015), 197-219
  • “Contesting Unmodulated Deprivation: Sauvé v Canada and the Normative Limits of Punishment” (2015) 4(1) Canadian Journal of Human Rights 121-141
  • “Gendered Border Crossings” in E. Arbel, C. Dauvergne, and J. Millbank (eds) Gender in Refugee Law: from the Margins to the Centre (Routledge, 2014), 243-263
  • Bordering on Failure: Canada-U.S. Border Policy and the Politics of Refugee Exclusion (with Alletta Brenner) Harvard Immigration and Refugee Law Clinical Program, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, MA: 2013)
  • "The Culture of Rights Protection in Canadian Refugee Law: Examining the Domestic Violence Cases" (2013) 58(3) McGill Law Journal 729-771
  • "Shifting Borders and the Boundaries of Rights: Examining the Safe Third Country Agreement Between Canada and the United States" (2013) 25(1) International Journal of Refugee Law 65-86

For Professor Arbel's publications available on SSRN, go here: http://ssrn.com/author=1124948

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