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The School of Law hosts a vibrant postgraduate research community, with particular expertise in law of the United States, human rights, and interdisciplinary research methods. The School of Law particularly welcomes proposals and applications for PhD study that fall within the research expertise and interests of our three research centres.

The Centre for American Legal Studies

The Centre for American Legal Studies is dedicated to the study of law and legal matters relating to the USA. CALS is also the home to the British Journal of American Legal Studies, a peer-reviewed law journal, and the Controversies in American Constitutional Law Series.

This includes research in relation to:

  • Federalism and states’ rights, including legislative action and political strategy;

  • Administration of criminal justice;

  • Nature and role of punishment in the US legal system;

  • Constitutional and socio-legal aspects of race, gender and sexual orientation;

  • Role of experts and evidence in the US court system;

  • Criminal justice (particularly mass incarceration and prison conditions);
  • Comparative aspects of environmental protection law in the US; and

  • The US and international trade. 

The Centre for Human Rights

The Centre for Human Rights promotes the protection of human rights, access to justice and the rule of law, around the world. Its activity has four key themes:

  1. Clinical work, providing drafting, research and advisory services for use in human rights litigation, including Amicus Briefs;

  2. Consultancy, providing drafting, research and advisory services for institutions promoting and protecting human rights, including the United Nations;

  3. Partnerships, engaging with human rights institutions around the world, including the FCO, UN, Death Penalty Project and Amicus;

  4. Research and Education, engaging in internal and external research projects and teaching aimed at promoting and protecting human rights.

The CHR is particularly interested in PhD projects examining the Universal Periodic Review as a mechanism for safeguarding and promoting human rights across UN member states. The CHR established the UPR Project at BCU in 2018 to facilitate education about the UPR, and the submission of stakeholder reports. It is particularly interested in PhD proposals related to:

  • The administration of the death penalty.

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Domestic Law-makers’ understanding and awareness of the UPR

  • Miscarriages of justice.

  • The Right to Health.

Centre for Law, Science and Policy

The Centre for Law, Science and Policy was established to reflect the School of Law’s growing interest in law’s relationship with other disciplines, particularly science and technologies. This is the main vehicle through multi-disciplinary (especially STEAM) research is undertaken in the School of Law. The aim of the CfLSP is to engage in research that generates a better understanding of how to collaborate with other disciplines to promote policies that enable multidisciplinary problem-solving.

Current research interests in the CfLSP include:

  • The use of scientific/expert evidence in legal proceedings;

  • The psychological decision-making processes of legal actors, including their understanding of expert evidence;

  • Technology and warfare;

  • Medical law and public health regulation (including socio-legal perspectives); 

  • Environmental law and regulation; and

  • Intellectual property and technology (including copyright and fanfiction).

If you have any questions about applying to undertake a PhD in the School of Law through the M4C DTP, please contact the Director of Research, Dr Sarah Cooper.

See our PhD course page