Sylvie Saroléa

Université Catholique de Louvainindex
Place Montesquieu, 2

1348 Ottignies – Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique
tel: 32(0)104 747 77


Sylvie Sarolea is a Professor at the UCL (Louvain la Neuve, Belgium) in Migration Law, Private International Law and Human Rights. She is a visiting professor at the ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) in Human Rights and Migration Law (Certificate in European Law on Immigration and Asylum, Summer school in European Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum, organised by the Odysseus Academic network). She is also a visiting Professor at the Université du Burundi (Bujumbura, Chaire Unesco en prévention des conflits et gestion pacifique des différends) in Asylum and Refugee Law; at the Université de Lubumbashi (Ecole de criminologie, DRC) in Human Rights Law; at the Université catholique de Bukavu (DRC) in Asylum and Refugee Law and at the Kent University (Brussels) in International Migration Law.

Her research focuses on migration and refugee law in EU law and Belgian law, human rights and international law. In this frame, she created the EDEM in early 2011 and has coordinated it since (EDEM team, UCL, CeDIE www.uclouvain.be/edem.html). The EDEM is integrated in the CeDIE (Charles De Visscher Center for International and European Law), which has developed over the past decades an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research in those fields, including migration law. The EDEM consists of eleven researchers (2 post-doctoral, 5 PhD) and is coordinated by Prof. Sylvie Sarolea.

The EDEM focuses its research on the way European law regulates migration. It is concerned with both EU law and jurisprudence as well as with the vast case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, and analyses how these two legal regimes interrelate. The transposition of European law in domestic law, mainly Belgian law, has been a central subject of analysis since 2011, mainly centred on the right of asylum. Members of the team however also work on other numerous topics such as policy of visas, family reunification, free movement of EU citizens and constitutional protection of migrants. The research team benefits from cooperation with European, African and North American academic networks and contacts. It also enjoys a close relationship with European agencies, NGOs and also Belgian authorities in charge of migration and asylum issues.

The EDEM disseminates the results of its research via scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and other academic publications such as monographs of its members and participation in edited collective volumes. It also takes advantage of more informal means of open access communication in order to widely disseminate research results and analysis in a timely manner. Namely, it has a dedicated web page and a monthly legal newsletter, which critically analyses current case-law, and which is sent to hundreds of subscribers in Belgium and in Europe. The EDEM has also created a database of jurisprudence in EU and national asylum law where over 1000 cases are classified. The database is freely accessible to the public.

The main publications of the last five years were:

  • SAROLEA, S., “Migrer ou vivre en famille. Faut-il choisir?”, Migratie en migrantenrecht, in Dertig jaar Vreemdelingenrecht, conference organised by the KUL, December 2010, Die Keure, 2011, 299-426.
  • SAROLEA, S., “From Protection of the Migrant to the Rights of the Migrant Person: Free the Migrant from his Legal Exile”, in Spheres of Global Justice, ed. J.-Ch., Merle, Springer, 2013, 353.
  • SAROLEA, S. and LEBOEUF, L., “Le droit de l’Union européenne devant le Conseil du contentieux des étrangers”, in CARIAT, N., Le droit de l’Union devant les juridictions internes, to be published, 2014.
  • SAROLEA, S. and CARLIER, J.-Y., Précis de droit des étrangers, Bruxelles, Larcier, to be published, September 2016.
  • SAROLEA, S. (ed.), LEBOEUF, L., NERAUDAU, E., D’HUART, P., TSOURDI, L., DATOUSSAID, S. and GRIBOMONT, H., La seconde génération du droit européen de l’asile: le temps des juges, 5 vol., Louvain-la-Neuve, 2014, 750 p.


Research projects:

Sylvie Sarolea and the EDEM conduct researches:

  • From January 2011 until the end of 2014 with the financial support of the European Refugee Fund. She worked on the transposition of the qualification Directive and Dublin Regulation in Belgian law (2011-2012) and she is finishing the transposition of the Dublin regulation, qualification, reception, procedures and return Directives in Belgian law (2012-2014).
  • On the basis of “conventions of expertise”, she participates with the Odysseus Academic network and the Migration policy Centre of the European University Institute (EUI), to the CONTENTION project (2014, on deprivation of liberty in migration context, judicial control and alternatives, and the extent of judicial control of pre-removal detention in the EU) and the REDIAL project.
  • As part of a 2014-2016 FSR (Fonds spéciaux de recherche) project she will conduct a research project on “Europe Asylum Law: The Time of the Judges”.
  • From October 2015 until September 2019, the EDEM is a coordinator of the LIMA Project (Personal Aspirations and Processes of Adaptation: How the Legal framework Impacts on Migrants’ Agency) which examines how legal frameworks – Belgian and European – correlate with third country national migrants’ agency, namely how they impact migrants’ family and professional trajectories and to what extent they afford them the “capability” to develop their lives according to their personal aspirations. It analyses the relationship between legal norms and migrants through both a top-down and a bottom-up approach: from the norms to the migrants and then from the migrants to norms with a view to proposing means to enhance migrants’ decisional autonomy.

At an international level, besides the Odysseus network, other collaborations exist with some central African university as Université catholique de Bukavu, Chaire Unesco in Bujumbura, and North American academic networks and contacts (McGill University, Ottawa University). She is also member of the Editorial Board of the Refugee law Reader and in charge of the French version of the Reader.

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