Efrat Arbel

Wall Associate


Associate Professor


Peter A. Allard School of Law



Geographic Location

Efrat Arbel

Efrat Arbel is Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law. She publishes and teaches in refugee law, prison law, constitutional law, and tort law. Her primary research examines how legal rights are negotiated and defined in liminal legal spaces like the border, the detention center, and the prison.
Prior to joining the Allard School of Law, Dr. Arbel completed her masters and doctoral studies at Harvard Law School, where she was recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and was Canada Research Fellow with the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of British Columbia between 2012-2014, with visiting terms at the Oxford Center for Criminology (2013) and the European University Institute (2014).
Combining her academic work with legal practice, Dr. Arbel is engaged in advocacy and litigation involving refugee and prisoner rights. She has delivered expert testimony before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and provides expert opinions for, and engages in consultation with, various government agencies. Dr. Arbel has served on subcommittees with Westcoast LEAF and on the executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. She is also a frequent media commentator on refugee and prison issues, and has been cited by numerous media outlets, including The Globe and Mail, National Post, and The New York Times.
Dr. Arbel is affiliated with UBC Migration, the newly launched Research Excellence Cluster at the University of British Columbia.


Primary Recipient Awards

Efrat Arbel – Wall Solutions – 2020

This project will produce the first comprehensive evaluation of Canada’s response to COVID-19 in immigration detention. Co-investigator Molly Joeck and I will coordinate with our contacts at community groups Kinbrace and ISSBC to gather and analyze all relevant legal decisions, and develop a comprehensive legal understanding of COVID-19 as it relates to immigration detention. Building on our experience with law reform initiatives and our established relationships with the Canada Border Services Agency, we will produce a comprehensive report for the Agency that identifies solution-oriented and region-specific law reform proposals to ensure meaningful human rights protection for vulnerable detainees. The work will span the period of August 2020 – July 2021.

Media coverage:
“BC agrees to review incarceration for refugee claimants”, The Globe and Mail, January 25, 2022

“The provinces need to end the horrific practice of detaining migrants in prisons”, Amnesty International, October 21, 2021