The PhD Community of the School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London came together on 7 June 2011 to host ‘Pushing Legal Knowledge Boundaries’, a Law PhD Conference.
The conference sought to encourage law PhD students to appreciate the value of their research to policy makers, legislators and publishers and to inspire researchers to be innovative and original in their research and writing. It provided a valuable forum for researchers to network with colleagues from different institutions. More than 100 people attended the conference, mainly from institutions across the UK, but also from universities in the US and Asia.
The event was co-organised by Law PhD Student Representatives, Georgina Tsagas and Kadir Bas. Georgina Tsagas commented: “The event was a tremendous success and proved to be a rewarding experience for both presenters and conference participants.”
Legal research is especially challenging these days. Easy access to primary and secondary materials, continuous legislative reform and other disciplines entering the legal field all contribute to a fast-paced research environment. This can lead PhD students to focus exclusively on their research and to overlook the value of input from fellow researchers.
Georgina Tsagas added: “In adopting a broader scope the conference managed to successfully facilitate interaction between researchers in similar areas of law and introduced the value of doctoral research to those considering a PhD.”
The conference was chaired by renowned academics from the School of Law at Queen Mary, including Professor Kenneth Armstrong, Dr Stavros Brekoulakis, Professor Alan Dignam, Dr Gabriel Gari, Dr Theodore Konstadinides, Professor Rosa Lastra, Professor Spyros Maniatis, Professor Loukas Mistelis, Dr Prakash Shah and Professor Uma Suthersanen.
The conference included paper and poster presentations of contemporary legal issues by doctoral researchers from universities across the UK. A wide range of areas of law were covered and individual sessions were devoted to Intellectual Property, Banking and Finance, Commercial and Corporate Law, Public International Law, Human Rights, Criminal Law, European Union Law and Litigation and Arbitration. Presentations were followed by chaired question time and facilitated a constructive forum for debate.
The PhD conference was particularly unique as it provided ‘special sessions’ that focussed on the current challenges of law PhD research. Highlights of these sessions included Professor Armstrong’s presentation on the challenges doctoral researchers and academics may face when trying to publish their ongoing research and the discussion by Dr Gari following the presentations on the financial crisis. The lunch break allowed for more informal discussion with the poster presenters.