The Lighthouse legal clinic on migration law, at the University of Angers

Professors Bérangère Taxil and Alina Miron and PhD student Emilie Lenain from the University of Angers have set up a legal clinic as part of the “International and European Law” Master 2, of the ARRECO research project after hosting of the Rousseau Competition in 2018. The clinic is supported by the Erasmus + programme and focuses on migration law.

The concept

The “Lighthouse legal clinic” project is led by Alina Miron and Bérangère Taxil, professors of public law at the University of Angers Faculty of Law. It offers an innovative teaching module for students of the master’s degree in international and European law, creating a legal clinic on migration in sea and air space, in the European context. Its aim is to highlight, both for students and civil society actors, the growing importance of European law in the face of the challenges currently created by globalisation, and to enable students to develop the professional skills expected in the world of work.

The legal clinic therefore aims to deepen the interactive experience between academia and civil society by putting students and researchers in international and European law in touch with partners in the field (law firms, NGOs, trade unions, businesses, parliamentarians). Their new teaching methods focus on learning by doing, but also on research applied to real and concrete situations: for example, what are the consequences when a state grants its flag to a humanitarian vessel? What are the obligations of coastal states in terms of migrant settlements?

Context and development

This project is part of the dynamics of internationalisation and European openness of the University of Angers which, since 2015, has taken part in the creation of the Alliance Europa Institute for European and global studies supported by the Loire region to develop a centre of excellence in research, training and innovation in the field of European studies. Thanks to the support of the Alliance Europa programme, Bérangère Taxil is piloting a collective research project on the reception and resettlement of refugees in Europe (ARRECO); Alina Miron is piloting projects on maritime borders and the grey zones of the law of the sea (Zomad).

Between October 2017 and June 2018, they organised the Charles Rousseau International Moot Court Competition, the largest and oldest French-speaking pleading competition in international law. Taking place each year in a different country, it brings together some 200 people (teams of students, young researchers, judges, lawyers, academics) from all continents.

Building on the research projects underway in Angers, the practical case submitted to the students dealt with the rescue at sea of migrants. The week of pleadings, in May 2018, preceded by a few weeks the reality, with the important and increasing media coverage of the wanderings of NGO vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, starting with Aquarius, chartered by SOS Méditerranée. The legal situation of ships rescuing migrants is very complex and little known. The findings of the research carried out by the students have been widely disseminated among academics and members of civil society, among the judges and Registrar of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea as well as the general public. Indeed, PhD students wrote a booklet, in French and English, on rescue at sea (see below “publication” part). And several reviews were published in national newspapers.

This research revealed important gaps in European policies on asylum and immigration, but also the failure to reflect at European level on the law of the sea and rescue at sea. As a result, the actors concerned are confronted with unresolved legal questions, which the legal clinic will help to clarify.


This project is supported by the Erasmus + Programme, as part of the Jean Monnet programme.

Project Leaders



Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Jean Bodin Centre, University of Angers

Her research focuses more specifically on the law of the sea, international litigation, targeted sanctions and the application of international law in the domestic legal order. She also works as a legal consultant.

– Within Alliance Europa:

Alina Miron is the initiator of the project: “The sea as last frontier? Towards an observatory of maritime litigation”, financed by the Attractiveness programme of Alliance Europa.

She is co-director of the Master 2 in International and European Law and takes part in education activities supported by Alliance Europa, such as the interdisciplinary module (coordination of sub-module 2: Europe, a land of exile and migration). In 2018, she organised in Angers the Concours Rousseau, the most important international mooting competition in the French-speaking world.

Bérangere Taxil



Professor of Public International Law at the Jean Bodin Centre, University of Angers

Bérangère Taxil is a specialist in international human rights law. A member of the International Institute of Human Rights, the French Society for International Law and the International Law Association, Bérangère Taxil has taught for about ten years in France and abroad on European and international issues. She has participated in several research projects on the issue of refugees. She is also an assistant judge at the National Court of Asylum.

– Cooperation with Alliance Europa:

Bérangère Taxil was coordinator of Alliance Europa’s Reaseach Axis 3, “Europe in the world”, she co-directs the ARRECO project on the reception of refugees in Europe and is currently supervising several doctoral theses on the subject.

A Professor of public law at the University of Angers, she is also co-director of the Master 2 in international and European law and organised the Charles Rousseau Moot Court competition in Angers in 2018.

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PhD student in international law at the Jean Bodin Centre, University of Angers

The subject of her thesis in international law is “The reception of refugees in Europe: a comparative study of legal systems”, under the supervision of Bérangère Taxil (Jean Bodin Centre, University of Angers) and Estelle d’Halluin (CENS, University of Nantes) as part of the ARRECO project supported by Alliance Europa.

Project Partners

University of Angers

University of Angers

The University of Angers offers master courses in law, economics and management and contributes to the research areas of the Institute for European and Global Studies.

Centre Jean Bodin

Centre Jean Bodin

The Jean Bodin Centre at the University of Angers is a research laboratory in law and political science. In 2008, the laboratory was awarded the status of welcoming team (CJB UPRES EA n°4337), for which it had applied in November 2006, by the Lettres Langues Sciences Humaines et Sociales (LL-SHS) research centre. This team (private law, public law, history of law, political science) includes 49 teacher-researchers and researchers, 42 PhD students and 3 administrative staff (BIATSS).

Jean Monnet Programme

Jean Monnet Programme

Created in 1989, the Jean Monnet Programme aims to stimulate excellence in teaching and research on the European Union, all over the world.

The programme was integrated into the Erasmus + programme in 2014, and supports several types of actions: Jean Monnet chairs, centres of excellence or teaching modules, but also multilateral projects and research groups.

A Jean Monnet Chair is awarded for a period of 3 years to a university professor specialising in European Union studies, who receives a maximum support of €50,000 from the European Commission for the implementation of his or her teaching and research activities.

For more information on the Jean Monnet programme, its objectives and the activities it finances, please visit the website of the Erasmus+ France Education and Training Agency and the EACEA website.