Professor Sonia Morano-Foadi

Professor in European Law

School of Law and Social Sciences

Sonia Morano-Foadi


Sonia Morano-Foadi is Professor in Law and Postgraduate Research Tutor, Oxford Brookes University.

Areas of expertise

  • EU Law
  • Migration law

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • LLB European Union Law
  • European Union Law
  • GDL European Union Law
  • Independent Study Module
  • Law Dissertation
  • European Union Law
  • Legal Research Project
  • Nationality, Immigration and Asylum
  • International Refugees and Migrants

Sonia's main area of research currently is EU law and, in particular, Citizenship, Migration and Human Rights within the EU. She also teaches in this area.

  • She has taught the EU Law module for 20 years, including special sessions on free movement of people and EU citizenship. She currently teaches EU law for the LLB and the GDL courses; Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Module for undergraduate; EU Social Policy EU Law module, which is currently not running; the optional LLM modules on International Refugees and Migrants and EU law and the Independent Study Module on Human Trafficking.
  • Sonia has introduced innovations in teaching using electronic resources, inviting guest speakers and organising trips to the EU institutions in Brussels.
  • Sonia acts as External Examiner for European Union Law at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the School of Law, University of Bristol and EU and Public Law on the Graduate Diploma in Law, at the School of Law of Manchester Metropolitan University. In April 2012, she acted as external reviewer for the Foundation Course in Law at the Law School of Brunel University. She is currently external examiner for the University of Sussex, School of Law and for Brunel Law School.


Sonia has supervised and is supervising LLM by research and Doctoral students in many topics on EU law, migration and fundamental rights.  She is happy to supervise new students.

Recent research students include:

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Abdullah Celik Highly skilled migration into the UK: The case of Turkish nationals Active
Fabiana Ciccarella Anti-migrants hate speech in the digital age: a comparative analysis between Italy and the UK Active
Duygu Yardımcı Cooperation Between Public Authorities and Civil Society: Forms, Drivers, Principles, Policies, Means and Tools 2021
Dr Louisa Borg Haviaras Free movement of scientists within the European Research Area: An analysis of the Cypriot research market 2019


Sonia's research combines empirical findings with theoretical and doctrinal investigations on migration, citizenship, human rights and governance within the EU. Her research foci explore the followings:

  • The relationship between European citizenship, migration and fundamental rights. More specifically, equality rights in the context of an enlarging European Union, family migration and the rights of family members and third-country nationals and their EU rights.
  • Aspects of regional integration in the international scene: the EU role in shaping other regional integration projects and the EU as a role model for other regional organisations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Starting from a legal perspective, Sonia has expanded her approach from analysing case-law and legislative developments in the field of free movement of people and citizenship, towards a socio-legal approach of citizenship and migration.

She has had a full submission for the REF and is currently undertaking substantial research activity, research management responsibilities (the Postgraduate Research Tutor for Law and the Convenor of Fundamental Rights, Equality and Diversity (FRED) research group) and external research-related commitments (e.g. as reviewer of the British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, European Science Foundation, the Estonian Research Council, the Italian Evaluation Agency of the Ministry of Research, the European Law Journal and the European Journal of International Law, OUP and CUP, Committee of Editors of Revista de Derecho de la Unión Europea (REDUE), migration network advisory board). Sonia has also been invited to a number of key-note talks, some very prestigius such as the Academy of European Law (ERA) to provide a training to judges and practitioners on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in March and November 2017. She has also been visiting Professor at the University of Brescia, Italy and Research Associate at the International Migration Institute, Department of International Development, University of Oxford.

Professor Morano-Foadi was awarded the 2016 Best Taught Module Teaching Award  Oxford Brookes University's Student Led Award and the University Achievement, Contribution and Excellence (ACE) Award in 2020.

She has significant publications in international journals. Her monograph entitled 'Protection of Fundamental Rights in Europe: The Challenge of Integration’, Springer, June 2020 (with S. Andreadakis). The book has received the endorsement of three dignitaries: Mr Dragoljub Popović, Former judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg; Jörg Polakiewicz, Legal Adviser, Council of Europe, Professor of Law, Europa-Institut at Saarland University in Saarbrücken and Judge Niilo JÄÄSKINEN, Court of Justice of the EU, Luxembourg.

She has been successful in securing external and internal funding. The most recent successful EU funding grant, which was secured together with colleagues from other schools, is a 295,000 Euro project on human trafficking.

Sonia has presented papers at various international and national conferences in Europe and around the world.

Research group membership

  • Postgraduate Research Tutor, Oxford Brookes University
  • Convenor of the Fundamental Rights and Equality Research Group, Oxford Brookes University
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  • Member of the UK Society of Legal Scholar (SLS)
  • Steering Committee Member of the Migration and Law Network composed of UK-based academics in the field, together with a small number of legal practitioners who have taken an interest in the network.
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law. 

Research grants and awards

  • European Commission (HOME/2013/ISEC/AG/THB/Targeted Call 'THB' 2013), on Trafficking of Human Beings September 2014- August 2016 awarded grant for €295,000 (together with Professor Simonetta Manfredi).
  • British Academy, Reflections on the Architecture of the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon: The European Approach to Fundamental Rights, December 2011- November 2012.
  • European Science Foundation (ESF) Exploratory Workshop Oxford Brookes University 28th-30th June 2010 entitled "In/equality for third country nationals: implementation and effects of EU directives on migration and asylum"
  • ECJ/ECHtHR - Reflections on the Architecture of the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon: The European Judicial Approach to Fundamental Rights, SSL School Strategy Fund, March 2010-September 2010
  • CARICOM/EU - The law-making process within CARICOM (using the EU and the role played by the ECJ as a means of analysing and evaluating recent developments in the law - making process within CARICOM), Central Research Fund, February 2008- November 2008.
  • MOBEX Mobility and Excellence in the ERA, ERSC, 2002-2003 (co-applicant).
  • MOBISC Equal Pay, Career progression and the Socio-Legal Valuation of Care, European Commission (DG Employment) 2003-2005 (Italian partner).

Internal Grants - 

  • Oxford Brookes University, Research Excellence Award, 2018-2019.
  • Faculty of Business and School of Law, Labour Market Integration of New Refugees: Entry Channels, Strategies and Experiences (LAMINER Project) 2017-2018.
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Research Events, 2014-2015.
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, for research presented at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, 2014.

Research projects

Currently working on human trafficking, refugees and migrants labour market integration, fundamental rights and equality. Work in progress:

  • ‘Resilience versus vulnerability: access to work for refugees” 
  • 'Out of sight, out of mind. Reassessing positive obligations towards victims of human trafficking’
  • ‘E pluribus unum: insight towards a uniform legal framework for Third Country Nationals (TCNs)

Research impact

Sonia is also working to maximise her research’s future impact. In January/March 2020, she gave a consultancy for the World Bank and Swiss Government to develop an international database of migrant rights, her role involved the state of migrants’ human rights protections in the national law of the United Kingdom. This database has a worldwide spread and a wide reach and its significance is the fact that it is a unique database covering the rights of the migrants.
Her engagement with the European institutions in relation to fundamental rights and migration is ongoing. On 20th April 2016, she was invited by the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) as an expert to contribute to the public hearing on "Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR): stocktaking after the ECJ's opinion and way forward" at the European Parliament's premises in Brussels. This event was podcast and it available online. She has drafted together with Dr Stelios Andreadakis and two research assistants involved in the study a document available on the AFCO website. Moreover, key findings from the research on the architecture of Europe after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty were included in the European Parliament Report, which is also included in the REF environment for the Law school.

She was invited by the prestigious Academy of European Law (ERA) to provide a training to judges and practitioners on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in March and November 2017.
She was also part of the Combat Project (see list of grants) which has influenced the thinking of international policy makers, with the project being cited in a 2017 European Parliament Motion for Resolution (B8-0663/2017) (29/11/2017) proposing that training on signs of human trafficking be a legal requirement for those working in the hospitality sector. (The project ‘constitutes a valuable resource in the fight against human trafficking’). Prior to Combat, there had been no research base to justify this proposal.
She was appointed as part of the Reference Group for the project “Impact on Children of the Family Migration Rules: A Review of the Financial Requirements” commissioned by Office of the Children’s Commissioner (London) and carried out by Middlesex University and Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, May-September 2015.
She served as the convenor of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Migration Section from 2010 to September 2014, and again in September 2017 to organise yearly SLS conferences. The SLS is the main professional body for academic lawyers in the UK, and the conference is one of the biggest generalist academic law conferences.

She acted as the National Reporter for the topic "Migration and Law" for the Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (Vienna, July 2014). 



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Professional information


Conference papers (invited talks and seminar papers from 2010)

In 2021 ‘online’ events:

  • 3—16 January, NMR Conference, Panel - Precarious Inclusion: Migrants and Refugees in Contemporary Welfare States, ‘Vulnerability and Refugees’ Integration into the Labour Market’
  • 10 May, Brexit Wrecks it? Panellist, University of Naples.
  • 7 May, Book launch, Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Research Conference: “Hopes and Fears”, Protection of Fundamental Rights in Europe: The Challenge of Integration (Springer, 2020)
  • 25 June, 27th International Conference of Europeanists Europe’s Past, Present, and Future: Utopias and Dystopias, E pluribus unum: insight towards a uniform legal framework for Third Country Nationals (TCNs).

The year 2020 has been a peculiar due to COVID-19 all events and conferences have been cancelled.

In 2019:

  • November 2019, The ‘Others’ amongst ‘Us’ – Refugees’ Integration into the Labour Market’, at the conference ‘Organizing Migration and Integration in Contemporary Societies’ (OMICS), Göteborg.
  • 8th May 2019 – Invited talk at the School of Law, University of Sussex, The title “Distributed Responsibility and Refugees’ Integration into the Labour Market”.

In 2017:

  • December 2017 – Invited paper to Leiden Law school, on 9-11 December 2017, University of Leiden, Title “The ‘others amongst us’ – Refugees’ Integration into the Labour Market”, Leiden 2017, Conference 'The "Others" amongst "Us": Thoughts on Western Societies, Otherness, and the Law'.
  • October 2017 – Keynote speech at the ERA seminar ‘Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union’, in Barcelona 6-7 October 2017, the title of my talk was ‘Freedom of Movement and Residence of Persons within the EU’.
  • March 2017 – Keynote speech at the ERA seminar ‘Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union’, in Dublin March 2017, the title of my talk was ‘Freedom of Movement and Residence of Persons within the EU’.

In 2016:

  • August 2016, Conference Migration and Social Inequality, Global Perspectives and New Boundaries, 18th Nordic Migration Conference, Chair of the workshop “The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion of Third-Country” and co-presenter of the paper “EU Resilience through Rights: The case of Intra-Corporate Transferees”, Oslo 11-12 August 2016.
  • April 2016 – May 2016: A serious of paper presentations and key notes at the University of Brescia, Italy: The right to take collective industrial action: the cases of Viking and Laval (part 1), 26 April and 27 April; General principles of UE Law, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the ECHR: is there a hierarchy?, 3 May. 2016; State Responsibility towards migrants and refugees and the principle of solidarity 10 May 2016; Keynote speech at the symposium entitled: Fundamental Rights in Europe “Constitutional” dialogue between the CJEU and the ECHR, 17 May 2016; Problems and Challenges at the Intersection between Citizenship, Migration and Human Rights, 18 May 2016.

In 2015:

  • December 2015 – Invited talk University of Milan, paper “Responsibility of States towards migrants and refugees and the solidarity principle”, 10th December 2015.
  • November 2015 – Keynote speech on the Migration Crisis, Birkbeck Law Review Conference-Migration Borders & Violence – London 13-14 November 2015.
  • June 2015 - Keynote lecture on ‘Reflections on the rights of mobile researchers and students within the EU” Istituto Politecnico, Viana do Castelo (Portugal), the Ipvc International Week “The Actual Importance of International Mobility in HEIs’, 1st June 2015.
  • May 2015 – Paper “The ‘others’ amongst ‘us’: some reflection” (linking European citizenship to the rights of third country nationals), Celebrating Europe Day 2015: “European Citizenship and its current challenges, Ledein 11 May 2015.
  • April 2015 – ‘Autonomy of the EU legal order and legal/constitutional pluralism in Europe from the perspective of Luxembourg and Strasbourg’, Workshop/Roundtable “Opinion 2/13: Current and Future Challenges for the Protection of Human Rights in Europe”, 10th April 2015, Law School, University of Lincoln.
  • January 2015 – Interactions between legal systems – room for reflections –21st - 23rd January, Faculty of Law, University of Leiden.

In 2014:

  • September 2014, SLS Conference “Judging in the 21st Century”, 9th-12th September University of Nottingham.
  • August 2014 - 17th Nordic Migration Research Conference in Copenhagen, Chair of workshop 39 (with Dr Micaela Malena) Open Europe or Fortress Europe? The paradigm of integration and equality for non-EU migrants, 13th-15th of August 2014, University of Copenhagen. Paper presented entitled “Fragmentation of statuses: Problems and Paradoxes at the intersection between Citizenship, Migration and Human rights”, 13th August 2014, University of Copenhagen.
  • June 2014 – “The Protection of Fundamental Rights in Europe”, 13 June, Council of Europe, Strasbourg.
  • April 2014 Invited by the ECHR to take part to a “Town Meeting” looking at the challenges for the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe, London.
  • April 2014 – “Judicial reflections on the interplay between human rights and migration”, 25th April, European Social Science and History Conference (ESSHC) “The Role of the Judiciary in the making of Immigration Policies”, Vienna, 23-26 April, University of Vienna.

In 2013:

  • December 2013 “Un-nesting the “Matrioska” doll: Problems and paradoxes at the intersection between citizenship, migration and human rights” 20th December 2013, UNED, Madrid.
  • September 2013 Chair of the Migration session at SLS Conference, 5th and 6th September 2013, University of Edinburgh.

In 2012:

  • September 2012 Chair of the Migration session at the SLS Conference and poster presentation for EU law session entitled “Reflections on the Architecture of the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon: The European Approach to Fundamental Rights.”, University of Bristol.
  • June 2012 “Towards a New Legal Pluralism Theory: Fundamental Rights in Europe”, 3rdConference on the Future of European Law and Policy, Institute of European Law, Birmingham, 28-29 June.
  • July 2012, “Fundamental Rights in Europe: the European judicial perspective”, 9th Basque Congress of Sociology and Political Science, 16th to 18th of July 2012, Bilbao (Spain).

In 2011:

  • September 2011 “Third country nationals versus EU citizens: discrimination based on nationality and the Equality Directives” SLS Conference “Law in Politics, Politics in Law”, University of Cambridge. I have also chaired the migration session.

In 2010:

  • September 2010 “Reflections on the Architecture of the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon: The European Judicial Approach to Fundamental Rights” SLS Conference Southampton - EU & Competition Section, 16th September 2010.
  • June 2010 “Third country nationals versus EU citizens: discrimination based on nationality and the Equality Directives”, ESF Workshop, Oxford Brookes University 28th June 2010.

Organisation of the high profile conferences and events:

  • October 2019, the symposium entitled ‘The Zero-Sum Game Of Migration In Europe: 20 Years After Tampere’ on 15 October 2019, Oxford Brookes University, School of Law (with the contribution of the Centre for Business, Society, and Global Challenges). The symposium saw numerous, impressive speakers divulging their research on the area, and the key developments since the 1999 Tampere Conclusions. Mr Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management was the keynote speaker
  • September 2018,  a series of activities, including one-day workshop opened to policy makers and academics on labour market integration of refugees.
  • Spring 2014, the high-profile conference held at the Council of Europe’s seat in Strasbourg to disseminate the findings of a three-year research project, obtained the patronage of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe for the event. 
  • January 2013, the high-profile conference which took place at Oxford Brookes University. The conference brought together scholars, judges and policy makers to discuss the legal framework for the protection of fundamental rights in the EU.

Further details

Other experience

Professor Morano-Foadi has previously held positions including:

  • Reader in Law, School of Law, Oxford Brookes University (September 2010 to August 2020).
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of law, Oxford Brookes University (September 2007 to August 2010).
  • Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Leeds (September 2001 - August 2007).
  • Seminar leader in EU law (Chair Professor Louise Ackers) at School of law, University of Lancaster (Jan 2001-June 2001);
  • Research Fellow at School of Law, University of Leeds (February 1998 - December 1999) working on the TMR and MIGRANT CHILDREN Research Projects, funded respectively by the European Commission and by the European Commission and the Nuffield Foundation.
  • Tutor in Environmental Law and Management, Provincia di Foggia (Local Authority), Italy (February 1997 - July 1997)
  • Research Fellow at Italian National Research Council, Juridical Studies Institute on the International Community (Rome) (April 1995 - February 1996)
  • Scientific Co-ordinator at the Institute for Advance Sciences and Technologies for Development (STESAM), Bari, Italy (September 1994 - January 1995).

Press, publicity and reviews

  • In January 2011, Professor Morano-Foadi was interviewed, by the Economist and the resulting article, published, quotes on her work on Italian Brain drain
  • In January 2011, her work was cited by the Sole 24 Ore and in the following articles: “I giovani se ne vanno perché passano solo i raccomandati”, “Fuga di cervelli dall’Italia”, “L’Economist e il dramma italiano della fuga dei cervelli”, “Cervelli italiani in fuga? No, solo emorragia”
  • In April 2011, journalists from the RAI (National Italian Television) came to Oxford Brookes for an interview on Italian migration and brain drain.
  • In March 2004 her research was cited by FIRST Finanziamenti per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione
  • In September 2004, her work was cited by the Guardian in the article “A system in need of surgery”, and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.