This volume on international refugee law and policy assesses the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and the often contrasting reality of state practice. It contains contributions from seventeen experts, drawn from a variety of professions and disciplines, including lawyers, international organisation fonctionnaires, NGO advisors and political scientists. The first part of the book concerns the evolving refugee definition and some of its key conceptual elements, with chapters variously considering matters of theory as well as jurisprudential and treaty law developments, both historical and current. Later parts are concerned with asylum regimes, in particular the roles of key actors in the refugee discourse, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nation states, and the embryonic regional asylum regime of the European Union. Permeating the latter parts is the relationship, and sometimes the gulf, between the reality of institutional and state action and the rights of refugees.