Newcastle Law School

Research Briefings

Newcastle Law School is committed to sharing its research with a broad audience, including policy-makers, law-makers and the public. Here are a selection of our research briefings, which give quick, accessible summaries of our research findings. 

Research Briefings

  • Kathryn Hollingsworth - Judgments for Children (PDF: 1MB). A handful of ‘child-friendly’ judgments have emerged in the UK in recent years. This briefing examines why the form and presentation of judicial decisions is an important aspect of children’s access to justice, and why judges have a duty to enhance children’s status and capacities as legal citizens through judgment writing. We identify four potential functions of judgments written for children (communicative, developmental, instructive and legally transformative), and call for greater attention to be paid to how judgments are constructed and conveyed with a view to promoting children’s access to justice.
  • Sue FarranA new lease of life for Donatio Mortis Causa in a time of Coronavirus? (PDF: 555KB). Ideally all those confronting the possibility of death from coronavirus would have had the time and resources to draw up a will. The reality is that many have had, and will have, neither. One possibility is the equitable institution of donatio mortis causa, but it is not without its problems. In this briefing Sue addresses these problems, and the research is forthcoming in Trusts and Trustee.
  • Derek WhaymanBargain Wills? Picking up the Pieces: The Rectification of Computer Generated Documents (PDF: 1.28MB). Getting a will from an online provider might be tempting, but in his latest research, Derek Whayman has identified a number of problems with this route and considers how the courts and legislators might respond to them.
  • Hélène TyrrellForeign jurisprudence as a persuasive authority (PDF: 1.66MB). This briefing discusses the judicial use of foreign precedents that have received relatively little attention in the UK context, yet foreign jurisprudence is cited in around one third of the UK Supreme Court’s decided cases.
  • David Lawrence and Sarah MorleyRegulating the Tyrell Corporation (PDF: 2MB). This briefing discusses Lawrence and Morley’s Wellcome Trust funded project ‘Regulating the Tyrell Corporation’, which explored the question of whether company law can, or should, be the primary means of regulating novel beings, and by extension their potential wide-ranging societal impacts, through future work.
  • Professor Lilian EdwardsEmployee Surveillance(PDF: 443KB) 'The Road to Surveillance is Paved with Good Intentions'. This briefing presents the recent academic UCU strike action in the UK as a case study to demonstrate how technologies introduced into the workplace for beneficial reasons may morph via function creep into privacy invasive tools of surveillance.
  • Sue Farran, ‘How political are environmental charities? A focus on Marine Protected Areas and the role of charities’. The briefing questions whether charities are ignoring the established legal principle that charities should not engage in overt political activity aimed at legal change when lobbying for marine protected areas. Environmental charities (PDF: 658KB)
  • Professor Kathyn Hollingsworth has completed her research briefings on:
  • Briefing: The EU settled status scheme and children in conflict with the law - This joint briefing written by Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth and Professor Helen Stalford of Liverpool University was produced as part of the Brexit and Children Coalition.
  • Richard Collier has recently completed a study of anxiety amongst junior lawyers, funded by the charity Anxiety UK and supported by the Junior Lawyers Division (JDL) (we have uploaded the briefing report). He is commencing a research project exploring the relationship between men and gender equality and intersections between gender and wellbeing in a UK university.
  • Bryan Clark has just finished a research briefing on 'Getting it right: MIAMs and Court-based mediation in Scotland‌' - MIAMS are Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings, a chance for would-be mediation users to find out about the process and assess the suitability of their case for mediation. 
  • Colin Murray has just finished a research briefing on 'Prisoner Voting: Enfranchisement reform in Scotland' - The Scottish Parliament must recognise that any attempt to maintain the current restrictions on prisoner voting will amount to a breach of its ECHR obligations. This briefing outlines the legal and historical basis for reform and offers four models for compliance with the ECHR.
  • Derek Whayman has completed his research briefings on 'Resolving the status of Property Guardians' - which looks at how the law remains unclear as to whether property guardians are tenants, with additional protections, or licensees, with considerably fewer protections.
  • Bryan Clark has also completed research on 'Getting it funded' - MIAMS are Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings, a chance for wouldbe mediation users to find out about the process and assess the suitability of their case for mediation.


Novel Beings - Dr Sarah Morley and Dr David Lawrence – submitted written evidence (AIC0036) to House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee, which was accepted and published by Parliament (AIC0036) on 11 October, 2017. It discussed the importance of regulating artificial intelligence (AI), the role of the Government, consciousness and moral status of AI, should AI be granted Legal Personality and legal responsibility and company law.