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Law School makes history with two prestigious grants

24th January 2019

Northumbria University Law School has been awarded two rounds of research seminar funding from the Modern Law Review (MLR).

Understood to be the first time a post 1992 university has been awarded MLR funding of this type twice in the same academic year, the achievement is recognition of the University’s research quality and the significance of signature research areas within Northumbria Law School, Science and Justice research interest group, and Legal Education and Professional Skills (LEAPS).

Established in 1937, the Modern Law Review is a prestigious charitable organisation which promotes legal education through the publication of its respected law journal, also called the Modern Law Review, and by funding lectures, seminars and other activities connected to the study and practice of law.

The combined value of the grants is in the region of £10,000 and follows successful bids to host two major research seminars during 2019. Dr Nicola Wake, Associate Professor in Law at Northumbria University, with Professors Tony Ward and Martin Evison led on the first bid to host a major international seminar on ‘Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery: Criminal Law and Evidence’, which will take place at Northumbria Law School in the autumn.

Academics from Northumbria will be joined by renowned experts including Philippa Southwell, a leading lawyer defending victims of trafficking at all levels of the criminal justice system, Pam Bowen, Operations Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and top prosecuting Barrister Caroline Haughey QC.

Dr Wake said: “We are delighted to receive such valuable support from the MLR. Being the first new university to receive a double-award in the same year is fantastic recognition for Northumbria Law School and in particular of our Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies. It highlights our growing reputation in producing impactful, international research that is helping to provide genuine solutions to serious societal issues.

“Through the Human Trafficking research event, we want to explore criminal law, human rights, and socio-legal issues connected to the use of forensic science in human trafficking. The session will bring a range of academics and expert practitioners together to discuss current methods used in the identification of perpetrators and victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

“We will consider both existing and potential new safeguards for victims and seek to outline new ways that forensic science can be used in helping to tackle the challenges faced by front line responders in identifying victims and perpetrators.”

Philippa Southwell added: “I am very pleased to be part of this important research event, which brings together leading practitioners and academics working in the counter human trafficking and modern slavery sector.  It is anticipated that this event will cultivate new approaches to early victim identification and tackling modern slavery. Northumbria University Law School's dedication to this issue places them amongst the UK’s leading university’s committed to advancing change within the human trafficking and modern slavery legal arena.”

The second successful MLR bid awarded to Northumbria will fund an international research seminar entitled ‘Revisiting Pressing Problems in the Law: What is the Law School for? 20 Years on’ to be held at Northumbria Law School in June 2019.  Senior Lecturers Victoria Roper and Dr Rachel Dunn collaborated with Nottingham Law School on the bid and the event will provide a forum for reassessing the role of the law school both in the UK and in other jurisdictions in light of ongoing, multifaceted change.  

Victoria commented: “Northumbria has long been at the forefront of global legal education and we are extremely grateful to receive this funding to host a seminar at a time when legal education is confronting the perfect storm of change. The seminar will stimulate discussion about how law schools should be responding to challenges such as globalisation, technological disruption, regulatory change and Brexit. We are delighted that internationally renowned legal academics such as Professor Paul Maharg and Professor Margaret Thornton will be able to join us from Canada and Australia respectively for the event.”

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