The following academic unit forms the submission to UoA 20:
The School adopted a new research strategy in 2009 to support its ambitious research agenda with the exploration of three themes regarding a view of the academic lawyer as:
- an architect of social structures
- one who exercises the sociological imagination
- one for whom interdisciplinary modes of engagement are likely to be fruitful
The School enriches its research through a number of research groups. Find out about projects and staff involved:
- Environmental Regulation Research Group
- Finance and Financial Law Research Group
- Human Rights and Social Justice Forum
Our impact case studies illustrate broad themes that run through the research-related activity of colleagues and research groups in the School.
Trustee exemption clausesTrustee exemption clauses
Successful introduction of a new non-statutory rule of disclosure for trustee exemption clauses
In 2010 the Ministry of Justice formally accepted recommendations by the Law Commission to introduce a new non-statutory rule of disclosure for trustee exemption clauses in England and Wales. Dr Alison Dunn's research had a direct impact upon the development of the law on trustee exemption clauses.
The Law Commission commissioned Dr Dunn in 2003 to undertake research on trustee exemption clauses in England and Wales. Dunn's research was published by the Law Commission as a separate and distinct chapter of its consultation paper on trustee exemption clauses.
Dr Dunn's research (alongside consultation responses) prompted the Law Commission to recommend that a non-statutory rule of disclosure be introduced into the law of England and Wales. This recommendation was accepted by the Government in 2010 and thereafter implemented by the trust industry.
Find out more:
- Dr Alison Dunn
Asylum in EU lawAsylum in EU law
Establishing the right to be granted asylum in EU law
The international impact of the research has been to change the conceptualization of the nature of the right to asylum (from a right of States to grant it to a right of individuals to receive it) leading to a change in the relationship between individuals and States and consequently to a change in the law and policy of the United Nations and of the European Union in this field.
According to UN data, an estimated 441,300 asylum claims were lodged in industrialized countries in 2011, representing an increase of 20% in relation to the previous year. In 2012 more than 45.2 million people were in situations of forced displacement, the highest figure in the last 18 years.
The reach of the impact is global and its significance lies in strengthening human rights protection in situations of forced displacement. The research has international impacts. It has alerted the UN and the EU to the argument that article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter, the Charter) recognises the right of individuals not merely to seek asylum and therefore not to be returned to persecution, but also the right to be granted asylum.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has abandoned its traditional position and now advocates an interpretation of article 18 of the Charter that encompasses the broader interpretation argued for in the underpinning research, basing its position on the analysis put forward in the research. As UNHCR is an Agency of the United Nations, this change in policy affects 193 countries in the world (out of 196 existing countries).
The research has also had European impacts. It has influenced the way in which the right to asylum in the Charter has been developed by secondary EU legislation (adopted in 2011), which includes the obligation of EU Member States to grant asylum. It has also been cited before the Court of Justice of the EU and has led to changes in judicial attitudes to the right to asylum in EU law.
Find out more:
The governance of common landThe governance of common land
Improving the governance of common land in England and Wales
The research had local and national impacts. There are 540,000 hectares of registered common land in England and Wales, much of which is designated under European or national environmental legislation. 210,806 hectares (approximately 57%) of England’s common land is in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).The poor condition of protected habitats on common land is a major problem for the implementation of public policy. In 2003, 67% of the common land in English SSSIs was in unfavourable conservation condition; in 2008 Natural England reported only 19% as in favourable conservation condition, with a further 48% of common land in English SSSIs in unfavourable but recovering condition.
The research in this Impact Case Study highlighted the need to understand and accommodate complex common property rights if strategies to improve the environmental management of common land are to be successful. Local impacts:
- the research has been used by landowners to develop new models for community management of common land
- it has been used by the Foundation for Common Land and its constituent stakeholder groups to inform the development of self-regulatory commons councils under Part 2 Commons Act 2006
- the research has been used by the National Trust to develop new models for community management of its extensive common land holdings across England and Wales
- the research has influenced the development of policy by the Government Office for Science, by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the UK statutory conservation bodies for the improvement of the environmental governance of common land
Find out more:
Find out about all our REF 2014 results.