Likim Ng

PhD Candidate
LL.M. (UHelsinki), LL.B (UTS), B.Bus (UTS)
Room 5.3.7

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Likim is a PhD candidate at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University, interested in the areas of legal theory, critical legal theory, refugee law and human rights law. Her research is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program. 

She obtained a Masters in International and Comparative Law (Public International Law) at the University of Helsinki where her thesis was accepted with Exceptional Praise (2013). 

During her PhD studies, she was awarded a visiting fellowship with a mobility grant scholarship to the Human Rights Institute of Åbo Akademi University, Finland. 

Prior to commencing at the Australian National University, Likim worked as a Judge's Associate at the Federal Circuit Court of Australia assisting Judge Street and Judge Driver to judicially review protection visa matters. 

She was also a legal advisory intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,Tanzania and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, The Hague, in the Office of the Prosecutor. 

Her primary research area focuses on critical legal theory approaches to refugee law, particularly how refugees have been excluded through law.

On a policy level, she is interested in the heightened security focus on refugees. Her personal interests include mentoring students from diverse backgrounds; cultural, class, lgbtqi and assisting refugees, particularly women at risk to navigate Australia's legal system.


May-June 2018 Minority Research Profile and Human Rights Institute Visiting Fellow, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

May 2019 Visiting Doctoral Candidate, University of Warwick, School of Law, England

May 2019 Visitor Centre for Law, Regulation & Governance of the Global Economy (GLOBE), University of Warwick, School of Law



Significant research publications

Ng, Likim, 'Securitising the Asylum Procedure: Increasing Otherness through Exclusion', No Foundations- An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, NoFo15 2018.

Recent news

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Likim Ng is a PhD candidate at ANU College of Law.
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Meet Inspiring Woman of ANU Law, Likim Ng.

Past events

Performing sovereignty and the refugee body
1.00PM to 3.00PM PhD oral presentation
  • Likim Ng

HDR student Likim Ng presents her thesis paper.

Vertigo film poster
9.00AM to 5.00PM Seminar

The ANU contemporary critical theory group is hosting a one-day seminar exploring law, art, politics, and society in the 21st century. 


2019 Laura Bassi Scholarship; second group. Partial fee waiver, editorial assistance for an exceptional research project.

2019 University of Kent Summer School Critical Theory Scholarship

2019 University of Warwick School of Law Visiting Doctoral Candidates Program Grant

2019 University of Warwick Centre for Law, Regulation and Global Governance of the Global Economy Grant

2018 Åbo Akademi University Research Mobility Programme Grant

2017 Australian National University Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship

2013 European Union Trainee Grant

2012 University of Helsinki Mobility Grant

2012 White and Case Grant Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition Finals

2009 Aarhus University International Student Travel Grant


2018 Reviewer, The Migration Conference, Lisbon, Portugal

2019 Melbourne University Doctoral Forum for Legal Theory, Discussant

2020 Editorial Board, Working Paper Series, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Studies, University of London 

Books & edited collections

Ng, Likim: 'The transfer cases of the ICTR to the Republic of Rwanda: The challenges of implementing Rule11bis'. Listed in United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Special Bibliography. MICT Library: 2015.


Refereed journal articles

Ng, Likim, 'Securitising the Asylum Procedure: Increasing Otherness through Exclusion', No Foundations- An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, NoFo15 2018.

Conference papers & presentations

'Securitising the Asylum Procedure through Exclusion' Research Seminar, (Warwick University School of Law, 2 May 2019)

'Security, Law and Official Development Assistance from Australia' Security, Borders and International Development: Intersections, Convergences, and Challenges Workshop (University of Warwick 26 April 2019)

'Excluding refugees for security reasons and the state of exception', Vertigo: Fake News/Real Theory, Critical Legal Theory Symposium (Australian National University, 12 December 2018).

‘Securitising the asylum procedure through exclusion: a form of regenerating the European space’, Critical Legal Conference (Open University Via Skype, 6 September 2018).

Speaker at Refugee Law Panel, (Australian National University, International Law Society, 22 August, 2018.

‘Securitising the asylum procedure through exclusion’, Refugee Law Initiative Conference (University of London, London,  28 July 2018).

'The Impact of the 'Securitisation of Migration' on Refugee Law: the role of exclusion through Article 1F', The Migration Conference (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal 28 June 2018).

'Securitising the Asylum Procedure: Increasing Otherness through Exclusion', Pre-launch of Special Edition for No Foundations- An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, (University of Helsinki, Finland June 2018).

'Securitising the asylum procedure through the application of the exclusion clause', Institute for Human Rights Research Seminar (Åbo Akademi University, Finland, 16 May 2018).

'Securitisation Of Refugees: A Discourse Analysis Of The Exclusion Clause', International Interdisciplinary Conference on Minority Studies with Women and Gender Studies Conference (Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center, Istanbul, 10 November 2017).


2020 ANU College of Law, Research Committee, HDR co-representative

2018 ANU Seminar Series Steering Committee, ANU Humanities Research Centre

2017 ANU Higher Degree Research Forum Steering Committee



Ng, Likim, ‘Excluding Refugees on National Security Grounds: Problems and Potentials’, (Asylum Insight- Commentary, December 2018) <>  accessed 2 January 2018.

Past courses

2020 Security, Privacy and Human Rights Law, LLM course, Guest Lecturer: Crimmigration and Securitisation (2h) School of Law, University of Helsinki

2019 International Law and Human Rights, LAWS4225, Guest Lecturer: Australia and the UN Human Rights System (3h) College of Law, Australian National University

2018 Refugee Law, LAWS4271, Guest Lecture: Loss and Denial- The Exclusion clause and the Securitization of Refugee Law (1h) and Marking research papers (25h), College of Law, Australian National University

2018 Leviathan, Art and Law: Constituting the Body Politic, PHIL2289, 3 Tutorials and 1 Guest Lecture: Sovereign Violence, State of Exception and Emergency Politics (5h), School of Philosphy, Australian National University

2018 Critical Legal Theory, LAWS4288, Guest Lecturer: Law, Force and the Violence (1h), College of Law, Australian National University

2018 Critical Legal Theory, LAWS4288, Guest Lecturer: Law, Sovereignty and the State of Exception (3h), College of Law, Australian National University

2017 Legal Theory, LAWS2249, Tutor for 3 classes (33h), Marking 90 exam papers, seminar essays and presentations, College of Law, Australian National University

2017 Critical Legal Theory, LAWS4288, Guest Lecturer: Politics and Law (3h), College of Law, Australian National University

2017 International Law and Human Rights, LAWS4225, Guest Lecturer: Refugee Law (3h) College of Law, Australian National University

How my works connects with public policy

Pro bono: Helping refugees, particularly women at risk with children to navigate the Australian legal system.

Public Outreach: Law in the Pub @ Smith's Alternative Pub for International Human Rights Law Day. Speaking about Australia and concerns with heightened national security approaches. Panel- ANU's Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton, Dr Dorota Gozdecka and Scott Cosgriff UNHCR. 

Twitter handle: @LikimNg (strictly my own views only).


Performing sovereignty: How to make a refugee disappear with legal magic

My PhD dissertation looks at how sovereignty iterates, presents and reifies itself in the Australian refugee context. In Australia, refugees can be detained without reasons for the decision and subjected to offshore processing where they can be treated in cruel and degrading ways. I argue that one of the reasons for this is the way we have conceived sovereignty through legal theory.

Theorists such as Giorgio Agamben, Carl Schmitt and Thomas Hobbes have viewed sovereignty as an abstract concept, where the sovereign is a metaphysical figure that is monarchical having absolute power. Instead, I draw on Judith Butler’s work on performativity to argue that sovereignty is performative and that uncovering the performance helps explain why it is so difficult to change how refugees are treated.

I show that sovereignty is performative because it is dispersed through real physical actors that perform legal magic. These actors such as members of the executive and judges use the law for legal tricks to frame the situation, use words and metaphors to change the material body of the refugee and load the deck so that every refugee is perceived to be a security threat, terrorist or the criminal other.

My thesis uncovers what lies beneath these tricks and how they operate to transfer them offshore. The effect of these tricks is that the body of the refugee disappears and can no longer be seen. What’s more, the performance of sovereignty works to deceive, distract and even entertain. This means that the way we have understood sovereignty in legal theory as something abstract or monarchical- makes it difficult to change the way refugees are treated.

A theory for performing sovereignty is important not only in the refugee context. For if we can demystify how a refugee can be made to disappear, we can also reveal how an indigenous person, woman, blue collared worker, lgbtqi person can disappear through a performance. 


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Primary supervisor external

Associate supervisor

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