Skip to main content
School of Law

Completed projects

EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation (EUPLANT)

EUPLANT logo in a white background

The Jean Monnet Network ‘EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation’ (EUPLANT) investigates the interactions between the Chinese and the European Union (EU) legal and judicial systems and promotes excellence in teaching and research on EU-China legal and judicial cooperation. Through a set of research, policy and outreach activities, EUPLANT creates new avenues for enhanced academic and policy cooperation between the EU and China and engenders a better understanding of each other’s legal systems. The network is coordinated by Dr Matthieu Burnay, Senior Lecturer in Global Law at Queen Mary.

Find out more on the EUPLANT website.

The International State Crime Initiative (ISCI)

Group of Rohingya refugees

Dr Thomas MacManus has taken the lead in academic research into the situation of the Rohingya people in Burma/Bangladesh, and partnered with the Permanent People's Tribunal (Rome, Italy) in order to launch a tribunal on Myanmar’s State Crimes against the Rohingya, Kachin and other Groups at the Law School in March 2017. The Centre was central also in providing evidence to, and working closely with researchers at, the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (established March 2017).

Professor Penny Green is leading two ESRC grants; ‘A Comparative Study of Civil Society Resistance to State violence and Corruption’ in Burma, Turkey, Tunisia, Kenya, PNG and Colombia; and ‘Rapid Descent into Genocide?: Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya’with ISCI researchers Thomas MacManus and Alicia de la Cour Venning. Read more on

(Image via: Hafiz Johari /

Bilateral Labour Agreements as Migration Governance Instruments

A woman wearing a facemask stood against some forestBilateral Labour Agreements as Migration Governance Instruments: A Gender Analysis of Structures and Outcomes is funded by the UK BEIS via British Academy’s ‘Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling Global Challenges 2020’ funding call. The central purpose of this project is to conduct an investigation of bilateral labour agreements (BLAs), applied to the context of migration corridors in Asia. In light of the feminisation of migration (brought to the fore during Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the fact that many “essential” workers are migrant women) and BLAs being the key mode of facilitating ‘orderly’ labour migration, the aim is to determine to what extent these agreements alleviate or exacerbate gender inequality. This will be done by way of analysing the gendered intent, structures and outcomes of BLAs as tools for migration governance through a detailed study of Sri Lanka.

Professor Nicola Piper is the lead UK Investigator and Professor Kopalapillai Amirthalingam (University of Colombo and director of the Centre for Migration Research and Development) is leading in Sri Lanka. The research team is interdisciplinary and joined by Professor Wasantha Seneviratne, a legal scholar, and Dr Sunethra Perera, a demographer by training.

Improving access to equality rights

The Centre for Research on Law, Equality and Diversity is hosting a project aiming to improve workplace equality for people with a disfigurement in the UK. Funded by the VTCT Foundation, the research will be carried out by Research Fellow Dr Hannah Saunders with direction from Professor Kate Malleson, Professor Lizzie Barmes and colleagues in the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England. It will also involve working closely with a number of charities in this area. The research has three streams:

  1. Finding out how employers approach issues of disfigurement in the workplace and identifying factors which either help or hinder inclusion and equality. Using these findings, the research will aim to provide increased guidance to employers on how to create appearance-inclusive workplace environments and processes.
  2. Making information about challenging visible difference discrimination more accessible to affected people, their legal advisers and representative organisations.
  3. Seeking to increase awareness of, and engagement with, the topic of visible difference equality at legislative and policy level.

It is hoped that this project will offer real impact in an area of law which has, until recently, remained invisible.

The Kachin Independence Army's revolutionary law abidance

'Collaborative rebel-civil society driven governance as resistance to state criminality: The Kachin Independence Army's revolutionary law abidance' is funded by UK Research and Innovation and led by Dr Alicia de la Cour Venning, mentored by Professor Ratna Kapur.

The Kachin Independence Organisation/Army (KIO/A) emerged in 1961 in response to discriminatory policies imposed by Myanmar's authoritarian leaders who perceive minority rights as a threat to its Bamar-Buddhist nationalist ideology. The conflict persists making it one of the longest running civil wars in modern history. Alongside armed violence, a faction of KIO/A leaders perceive the development of parallel state structures as an important component of Kachin resistance. Included within this nascent process of 'rebel governance' are attempts to comply with elements of international humanitarian law (IHL). Most clearly, the prohibition against the military recruitment of persons under the age of 18. This position is counter-intuitive because international norms belong to a system of state-centric regulation constructed to maintain state sovereignty, which for the most part, delegitimises actors violently resisting governmental authority. The project aims then to enhance our understanding of the motivations underpinning rebel decisions to engage with international norms, though the laws of war belong to a broader system of international regulation which, at its foundations, obstructs armed opposition to sovereign power (Mégret 2009, Anghie 2003, Orford 2006).

Find out more about the 'Collaborative rebel-civil society driven governance as resistance to state criminality' project.

Non-Human Rights: New Legal Persons In Posthuman Times

A waterfall in a jungle

Dr Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa’s project seeks to understand the ongoing transformation of the subject of rights in the human rights discourse as a consequence of the recognition of personhood and rights to non-human entities. Considering this development as a phenomenon of unprecedented global dimensions, which attempts to cope with contemporary environmental and technological challenges, it examines the granting of rights to animals, rivers, mountains, rainforests, and synthetic and/or artificial non-human beings in different legal systems around the world. This trend, which emerged in the US and India and gained momentum in 2008 in Latin America, has now expanded globally, and could produce a radical change of paradigm in the legal domain.

This 3-year project, funded by a 2021 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, employs qualitative research methods combining historical analysis and comparative in-depth case studies. It aims to fill a gap in the scholarship by understanding how the notion of the subject of rights has been currently transformed and might change further in the near future.

Unpacking the Global Governance of Migration

This four year British Academy Global Professorship investigates the global governance of labour migration and the role of global processes and institutions in pursuit of “decent work” for migrant workers from a multi-actor and multi-sited perspective.

Professor Nicola Piper and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Laura Foley analyses the role, and potential leadership, of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) within global migration governance, given the ILO’s mandate on labour standards and employment conditions. Although the concept of “decent work” emerged in policy circles to address the persistent vulnerabilities of low-skill, low-wage and informal sector workers, its realisation has been a piecemeal process, the ILO’s role in advancing labour rights for migrants has been under threat. In charting two decades of changes (2002-2022) in the character of global governance and the regulation of “decent work” for migrants, this project analyses the ILO’s positioning and navigating of the multi-level, multi-actor nature of the global labour migration governance system.

The central project aim is to investigate how decent work for migrant workers can best be achieved in global migration governance, a field in which institutional actors, at times, stand in competition with each other in the execution of their mandates. Within this field, we lack insight into how actors working on global labour migration governance interact and relate to one another, what exact role the ILO plays in this migration governance architecture, and how the ILO promotes the “decent work” agenda for migrants. This study seeks to close these knowledge gaps and shed light on an organisation which is highly understudied in global governance and migration governance studies.

Back to top