Professor David James Cantor is the founding Director of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) and its Internal Displacement Research Programme at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he is Professor of Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies.
Trained originally as a social anthropologist, David worked as a practitioner in the legal field during the 2000s for organisations such as the Refugee Legal Centre, a London-based public law centre where he litigated refugee and human rights cases until 2007, and UNHCR. In a consultancy capacity, he has advised, trained and undertaken research for over fifteen governments mostly from the global south, as well as numerous INGOs and northern and southern NGOs. During 2016-17, David was seconded as a Principal Advisor to the UNHCR Americas Bureau.
David’s research has a strong legal and policy focus that covers the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons. He has a long-standing fascination with Latin America, where he has carried out fieldwork since 1998 in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico. Since 2010, he has published five books, five special issues and 40 journal articles and book chapters. His work won the Times Higher Education Research Project of the Year 2017-18.
David has led international collaborations and secured competitive research funding totalling almost £9 million across around 15 projects as PI or Co-I (including AHRC, ESRC, GCRF, Leverhulme Trust) and organised over 150 conferences, workshops and seminars through the RLI. Alongside setting up the RLI and its Internal Displacement Research Programme, he co-founded the International Refugee Law book series (where he remains editor-in-chief), the distance-learning MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies, the University of London Refugee Law Clinic and the Researching Internal Displacement platform, as well as Coursera massive online open courses on refugees and internal displacement. He is Editor-in-Chief of the OUP Refugee Survey Quarterly journal.
Dr Sarah Singer
Dr Sarah Singer is a Senior Lecturer in Refugee Law at the Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is an internationally recognised expert on criminality and asylum, and her contributions to the broader forced migration field include publications on humanitarian accountability, immigration detention and the protection of LGBT asylum seekers. She recently led research on humanitarian accountability in displacement contexts as part of the 4-year GCRF-funded RECAP project. She is Programme Director of the distance-learning MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies and co-convenes the ‘Refugees in the 21st Century’ MOOC (Coursera).
Dr Nicholas Maple
Dr Nicholas Maple is a Lecturer at the Refugee Law Initiative. As part of this role, he is the Module Convenor for the core module, ‘An Introduction to Refugee and Forced Migration Studies’ on the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies. Prior to taking on this position, he completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellow position at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where he worked on several continental and international research projects. He currently supervises MA dissertations at the School of Advanced Study (SAS) and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and ACMS, University of the Witwatersrand.
Nicholas is an Assistant Editor at the Refugee Survey Quarterly journal, published by Oxford University Press. He completed his Ph.D., entitled ‘How States Manage the Reception of Refugees: A Case Study of South Africa and Zambia’ in 2021 at the RLI. Previously he has worked as a legal advocate for organisations such as Asylum Access, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and the Human Rights Commission in Peru.