Research and scholarship
Bristol Law School is one of the top-rated ‘post 1992’ law departments in the country, scoring consistently high ratings in the official research assessment exercises. This reflects the fact that legal research provides a central focus for the work of the Law School, and that many staff are engaged in research of national and international significance which has a positive, practical impact on fairness, justice and respect for the rule of law.
The Law School also places emphasis on nurturing new career researchers, investing in providing an environment in which they can flourish, and on using research to enrich the learning experience of students.
The major research interests of the Law School lie in the fields of commercial law, international finance and trade, virtual financial crime and cybercrime, the financing and policing of terrorism, the protection of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, access to justice, fair trial rights, criminal procedure, sexual violence and offending, child rights and protection, environmental governance, protection and sustainability, collective security, and gender and sexuality.
Research carried out by Law School staff is funded by a wide range of organisations, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Commission, major non-governmental organisations such as the Open Society Justice Initiative and DEJUSTICIA, the College of Policing and a range of UK police forces, the British Academy, the European Institute for Gender Equality, and national and international business corporations.
Centre for Legal Research
In addition, staff research activities are supported by major internal investment. Research activity in the Law School is carried out within the Centre for Legal Research, which is led by Professor Phil Rumney.
More information about research carried out in the Bristol Law School can be found at the Centre for Applied Legal Research.
Bristol Law School staff write or contribute to a wide range of books, journal articles and other publications, which can be found either by looking at the web pages of individual staff members or by searching the UWE Research Repository.
Recently published books
Books recently published by Law School staff include:
- Inside Police Custody: An Empirical Account of Suspects’ Rights in Four Jurisdictions - Ed Cape
- Early access to legal aid in criminal justice processes: a handbook for policymakers and practitioners - Ed Cape
- Virtual Economies and Financial Crime: Money Laundering in Cyberspace - Clare Chambers
- Environmental protection, security and armed conflict: A sustainable development perspective - Onita Das
- Reforming the UN Security Council Membership: The illusion of representativeness - Sabine Hassler
- Nuisance law and environmental protection: A study of nuisance injunctions in practice - Ben Pontin
- Natural resources and the green economy: Redefining the challenges for people, states and corporations - Jona Razzaque and Elena Blanco
- Environmental governance in Europe and Asia: A comparative study and legislative framework - Jona Razzaque
- Money laundering: An endless cycle - Nic Ryder
- The financial crisis and white collar crime: The perfect storm? - Nic Ryder
- Law of carriage of goods by sea - Lachmi Singh
- Banking Secrecy and Offshore Financial Centres: Money Laundering and Offshore Banking - Mary Young
Recently published journal articles
Staff publish articles in many of the major legal journals including:
- Journal of International Law
- Cambridge Law Journal
- Child and Family Law Quarterly
- Common Law World Review
- Criminal Law Review; European Journal of Law and Technology
- Human Rights Quarterly
- Journal of Banking Regulation
- Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology
- Journal of Law and Society
- Journal of World Investment and Trade
- Legal Studies
- Liverpool Law Review
- Modern Law Review
- Nordic Journal of International Law
Recent praise for law research
- 'An excellent contribution to the field of international humanitarian law.' Karen Hulme, University of Essex, in her review of Environmental protection, security and armed conflict: A sustainable development perspective (Onita Das), which was nominated for the prestigious Lieber Prize in 2014.
- 'This ground-breaking study is the first piece of comparative research to look at what actually happens in the process of police detention and interrogation in different jurisdictions, and to assess the differences in practice. Its findings will make essential reading and inform legislation at both EU and national level.’ Caroline Morgan, European Commission, on Inside Police Custody: An Empirical Account of Suspects’ Rights in Four Jurisdictions (Ed Cape).
- 'Full of fascinating insights into what lies behind cases and what have been their practical results. There are many lessons to be learnt for the future development of the law.’ Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, Supreme Court Justice, in his foreword to Nuisance law and environmental protection: A study of nuisance injunctions in practice (Ben Pontin).
Phil Rumney’s Torturing Terrorists: Exploring the limits of
law, human rights and academic freedom:
'It is an unfortunate truth that the issue of torture continues to be a matter of debate, particularly in regard to "wars on terror" and, therefore, terrorists. The strength of Professor Rumney’s valuable book lies not only in the insight of a sharp critical intelligence, but also in his skill at presenting and assessing such empirical information that is relevant to considering the claims about the actual consequences of resorting to torture as a matter of public policy. It would make a wonderful assignment in any course on the subject, though it should also be read and discussed by policymakers as well who may be tempted to believe that "torture works."’ - Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr., Centennial Chair and Professor of Government, University of Texas, Austin, USA
'There is a general consensus in the public debate that the state should never use torture as a means of interrogating terrorists and that the use of torture as a tool of interrogation is so clearly contrary to democratic values that even the discussion of his topic has become virtually taboo. Phil Rumney, in this courageous and path-breaking study, challenges the view that the issues surrounding the use of torture have been finally settled and cannot be discussed. Instead, he makes a compelling case that without confronting the moral dilemmas presented by the use of torture in the face of the threats posed by international terrorism the absolute prohibition of the use of torture may not be sustainable. This book makes an invaluable and original contribution to a controversial, but important public debate.’ - Christoph Bluth, Professor of International Relations and Security, University of Bradford, UK
Additional research activities
In addition to publications, Bristol Law School staff are engaged in many other research activities including organising and collaborating in research networks, organising and presenting papers at national and international conferences, editing legal journals, acting as research consultants, and contributing to learned societies and professional associations.
The Law School hosted and organised the Socio-legal Studies Association annual conference in 2010, and in 2013 organised the first Virtual World Conference on Banking and Finance which was delivered via the ‘Second Life’ platform.