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Law & Society Signature Research Area

Northumbria Law School’s Law and Society Research Interest Group brings together a broad range of academics who adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law, focusing on law in its social, cultural, historical and/or theoretical contexts.

The Law and Society Signature Research Area (SRA) is an innovative multi-disciplinary SRA within Northumbria School of Law which promotes and encourages innovative research of international quality focusing on socio-legal, empirical and theoretical analysis of laws, legal institutions and processes and the impact of social, political, economic and scientific influences on law, legal professions and legal activities. It specifically promotes sociological and socio-legal methodology including empirical research methods in legal science. The SRA encourages inter-disciplinary to collaboration on solutions to pressing social injustices, and incubates people, ideas and projects which engage critically with the challenges facing contemporary society at the intersection of law and society. Its membership includes established and experienced academic staff, early career researchers, PhD students and members of the local judiciary.

The Law & Society signature area brings together many of the Law School’s best researchers who work in distinct Research Interest Groups (RIGs) based around various specialist themes.  The RIGs cover a rich and interesting range of topical areas, from international human rights and mental health to the internet and fashion law.  Our members undertake quality research, supervise PhD students and co-ordinate events in their areas of expertise.  Full details of our RIGs and members can be accessed below. 


Events & activities 

Members of the Law & Society group hold regular seminars, guest lectures and events featuring leading academics.  A selection of our recent activities includes….


26 January 2018

The role of the legal profession as a catalyst of social change: embedding the child’s voice in child law and policy

Professor Shannon is Deputy Director of Education at the Law Society of Ireland. He is a solicitor, children’s rights advocate and leading authority in child law and family law. He has held a variety of roles including Chairman of the Adoption Board and its successor the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI). In 2006 he was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. The Rapporteur is entitled to consult with Departments of Government and the Ombudsman for Children about any legislative initiatives designed to enhance child protection. He has been re-appointed by successive Governments to this role as an independent legal expert. In 2010, he was appointed by the Government to chair and co-write the Independent Child Death Review. The Independent Child Death Review Group (ICDRG) examined the deaths of 196 children who died in state care between 2000 and 2010. Professor Shannon has been selected by the European Expert Organising Committee as the Irish expert member of the Commission on European Family Law. He has also been involved in judicial training on all aspects of international family and child law. He has written or co-written 30 books, 36 articles in refereed journals and 42 articles in professional magazines on the area of child law and family law. He is also the founding editor of the Irish Journal of Family Law. He has been the recipient of the Canon Maurice Handy Award for the period January 2006 to December 2007. He is also the recipient of an Award by the Chamber of Commerce for Outstanding Contribution to Children and the Special Merit Award at the 2013 Irish Law Awards. In 2017, he was presented with the DSBA award of Outstanding Contribution to Legal Scholarship.


1 November 2017

Guest lecture by Professor Bill Rolston of the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University entitled ‘Taking the Visual Seriously – Mural-Hunting: Politics, Propaganda & Taking to the Streets in the Name of Research’.

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30 October 2017

Judge Nicola Shaw visited the Student law Office to speak with law students.


5 October 2017

Guest lecture by Professor Joanne Conaghan, Head of Bristol University Law School on ‘Policing, Professionalism & Liability for Negligence’. 

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3rd July 2017

On behalf of the Law & Society Signature Research Area and Centre for Environmental and Global Justice (MDRT) I am pleased to announce that on Monday 3rd July Justice Brian J Preston SC Chief Judge Land and Environment Court of New South Wales  will be visiting the School of Law, Northumbria University, to deliver the following talk:

Title: ‘Access to Justice, Human Rights and Judicial Decision Making in Environmental Matters.’


12 May 2017

‘Through a Legal Lens’ conference convened by Dr Clare Sandford-Couch.

A conference investigating inter-disciplinary perspectives on themes around images or crime and criminals, law & lawyers.  It provided a forum for discussion, debate and the presentation of research from a number of disciplines including law, literature, history & visual culture.  World-leading academics who presented at the conference included Professor Linda Mulcahy (LSE) and Professor Les Moran (Birkbeck). 

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Research interest groups within Law & Society

  • International & Comparative Law & Human Rights Law (convenors: David McGrogan)
  • Mental Health & Medical Law RIG
  • Fashion Law RIG
  • Family law RIG

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