Refugee Law Lab Director
Sean Rehaag is the Director of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is an expert in immigration and refugee law, administrative law, legal process and legal analytics, and he frequently contributes to public debates in these areas. His interdisciplinary academic research examines immigration and refugee law decision-making processes, including studies exploring how sexual minority refugee claims are adjudicated. Much of his research involves empirical quantitative methodologies using large datasets to examine factors that influence outcomes in Canadian refugee adjudication – including award-winning research showing that Federal Court outcomes hinged largely on which judge was assigned. He also makes yearly data on Canada’s refugee determination system available to the public.
Refugee Law Lab Associate Director
Petra Molnar is a lawyer and anthropologist specializing in technology, migration, and human rights. She runs the Migration and Technology Monitor, a multilingual archive of work interrogating technological experiments on people crossing borders, funded by the Open Society Foundations. Petra also works on issues around immigration detention, health and human rights, gender-based violence, and the politics of refugee, immigration, and international law. She is an advisor to various UN bodies and her work has appeared in numerous academic publications and the popular press, including the New York Times. Petra is also the co-author of “Bots at the Gate,” an internationally recognized report on the human rights impacts of automated decision-making in immigration and refugee systems, and “Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up.” Petra is currently working on her first book, Artificial Borders: AI, Surveillance, and Border Tech Experiments, and is a 2022-2023 Fellow at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Filmmaker in Residence
Kenya-Jade Pinto is an Indo-Kenyan-Canadian documentary photographer, filmmaker, and lawyer. She grew up chasing crabs on the Kenyan coast, before moving to Alberta’s foothills as a teen. KJ’s hyphenated worldview informs her work where she focuses on non-fiction and narrative projects that navigate themes of displacement, belonging, and access to justice. KJ’s training as a human rights lawyer has deepened her practice as a documentary photographer on projects like Not Yet Home, Level Justice, and more recently, The Sandbox.
In 2020, KJ was named an emerging filmmaker fellow by HotDocs and supported by Netflix. KJ volunteers with the Toronto Refugee Sponsorship Support Program, where she guides groups through private refugee sponsorship. She recently joined the Refugee Law Lab as filmmaker-in-residence, where she is documenting the impact of migration management technology on people on the move.
Jon Khan is a lawyer and PhD researcher and Course Instructor at Osgoode Hall Law School. His research expertise is judicial decision-making, judicial independence, written judicial decisions, empirical legal research, and using human-centred design in legal reform. His PhD research builds on previous research to examine how judicial decision-making and judicial decisions interact with Canada’s access to justice crisis, Canada’s data deficit, and the absence of deliberate design in Canada’s legal system. His research objective is two-fold: create and analyze datasets about Canada’s legal system; design improvements for judicial decision-making and written judicial decisions. His work has been relied on in academic publications and has appeared in the Globe & Mail. Jon has served as a litigator with the Federal Department of Justice (currently on academic leave), a law clerk at the British Columbia Supreme Court, and a research fellow at the University of Ottawa. He holds a BA in History and Philosophy (York University), an LLB (University of Ottawa), and an LLM (University of Toronto).
Jacob Danovitch is a graduate student in Machine Learning at Mila and McGill University. He completed his undergraduate studies in the honors computer science program at Carleton University. His research focuses on search and exploration, with a particular focus on information retrieval, information extraction, and legal natural language processing.
Simon Wallace is a PhD student at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Before returning to graduate school, he was an immigration and refugee lawyer who worked almost exclusively with immigration detainees facing imminent deportation from Canada. He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and a number of administrative tribunals. He researches deportation law, practice, and procedure.
Omar Flores recently completed his Computer Science Honours Bachelor’s Degree at Carleton University. He specializes in UI/UX design and front end development. At the Refugee Law Lab he will be helping to design and implement the front end of a legal analytics application involving refugee law decision-making.