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Lili Song 2019 image

LLB(Shanghai UFE) LLM(East China UPL) PhD(Well)




  • LAWS 403 Immigration and Refugee Law (course convenor, coordinator and lecturer)
  • LAWS 353 Law in the South Pacific (course convenor, coordinator and lecturer)
  • LAWS 202 Law of Contract (course lecturer)

Research interests

Lili’s primary research and teaching areas are refugee law and migration law. She also publishes on Chinese and Pacific legal issues. She has gratefully received research fellowships/awards from institutions in New Zealand, Australia, Vanuatu, the US, China, and South Korea, including a Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation Women Leaders in Law Fellowship, an Australian Endeavour Postdoc Fellowship, a Michigan Grotius Fellowship, a New Zealand Law Foundation research grant, an Asia New Zealand Foundation research grant, a Human Rights in Asia fellowship and a Victoria University of Wellington Postgraduate Research Excellence Award, and has conducted fieldwork in Myanmar, South Korea, China, India, and Cook Islands. She is the author of Chinese Refugee Law and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Lili's Google Scholar webpage
Lili on Twitter: @SongLili2


Prior to joining the Faculty, Lili taught at the University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu. She has held research or visiting positions at Harvard University, Oxford University, University of Michigan, the East-West Center (Honolulu), Melbourne University, the Australian National University, Chiang Mai University, the Humanities Institute (Myanmar), and Northwestern University (US). Before entering academia, she worked as a lawyer at an international law firm and then as an in-house counsel at an international commercial bank, both in Shanghai, China. In 2012, she completed an internship with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York.

Lili serves as editor of the Otago Law Review, and is or has been on the editorial board of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the Journal of South Pacific Law, Climate Law and Policy and the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies and the advisory board of (an e-journal launched by the Michigan Law School). She is a member of the Centre for Global Migrations (University of Otago) and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network and was secretary of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society. She also serves as a member of the academic committee of New Zealand Asian Lawyers and regularly provides Country of Origin Information (COI) expert reports to asylum courts and tribunals.


Cornell Law School Migrant Rights Initiative et al, including Song, L. (2024). Brief of migrant rights initiative and immigration, international, and comparative law scholars as Amici Curiae in support of respondents: Department of State, et al., Petitioners v. Sandra Munoz, et al. (Case number 21-55365). Submission to the Supreme Court of the United States on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved from Other Research Output

Song, L. (2023, November-December). From the Indochinese refugee crisis to the Rohingya refugee crisis: Rethinking regionalism and refugee protection in Southeast Asia. Verbal presentation at the 25th Biennial International Conference of the New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA): Rethinking Asia, Christchurch, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Song, L. (2023, May). Republic of China and refugee protection. Verbal presentation at the BEYOND workshop: Charting a research agenda on non-signatory states, [Online]. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Song, L., Mosses, M., & Giraudeau, G. (2023). The ambiguous history of Matthew and Hunter Islands: Tracing the roots of Vanuatu and French claims. Journal of Pacific History, 58(3), 232-250. doi: 10.1080/00223344.2022.2146577 Journal - Research Article

Song, L. (2022, October). The Tongan box historic claim: Potential legal issues. Verbal presentation at the MFAT Beeby Exchange on International Law Dunedin: International/Transnational Legal Issues Relating to the Pacific, [Hybrid]. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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