School of Law


The School of Law has as its central focus the role of Law and its institutions in contemporary international society and it is divided into two organisational units: the Department of Law and the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS). 

  • The Department of Law focuses on the culture and institutions of the rule of law in creating civil society at all levels from the local to the transnational.  
  • The Centre for Commercial Law Studies focuses on the constitutive role played by law in shaping global commerce, and concentrates its activities on research linked to the major domains of law in commercial life.

Professor Rosa Lastra with Graham Nicholson, Bank of England

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) we were ranked ninth in England, based on 86 per cent of our research activity classed as world-leading (4* the highest score possible) or internationally excellent (3*). The independent assessment of research quality takes into account the quality of research outputs, research environment and research impact.

We adopt a wide spectrum of approaches to legal research, including doctrinal, theoretical, applied, comparative, historical, sociological, empirical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Members of the School of Law are actively involved in public affairs in the UK, European institutions and international bodies, and have leading roles in legal scholarship.

Research Centres

Our research centres and institutes host regular seminars and conferences and create a vibrant research culture, which is further sustained by a strong PhD programme (137 research students in 2014, including those at writing up stage), and a continuing policy of active engagement with researchers in other departments and universities, as well as those in the wider legal and policy community.

Professor Roger Cotterrell, Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context Conference


Members of the School help set the agenda for research in a number of key areas including commercial law, criminal justice, public and international law, and legal theory (an example being Cotterell’s work on legal theory recognized by his award of a Fellowship of the British Academy). View our staff list showing areas of expertise.

Influence and impact

Our work also exerts an important influence on policy makers in government, in the legal profession and business worldwide, recent examples include:

  • Professor Rosa Lastra’s work on banking regulation in global financial crisis (informing the work of International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the Bank of England).
  • Professor Rachael Mulheron’s work on class action and third-party funding in litigation (informing Civil Justice Council of England and Wales).
  • Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas’s work on Criminal Justice (informing the European Commission European Parliament and the Judiciary of England and Wales).
  • Professor Kate Malleson’s and Professor Lizzie Barmes’s research on Judiciary diversity (informing the Ministry of Justice, the House of Lords and the Advisory Panel for the selection of judges to the Court of Justice of the European Union).
  • Professor Chris Millard, Professor Ian Walden and Professor Chris Reed’s work on Cloud Computing (informing Microsoft and European Commission policy on the legal implications of Cloud Computing). 

You can read about these and other examples in our impact case studies.