Professor Colin Harvey, Head of the School of Law
The School of Law
The production of high quality research of international significance in Human Rights, Governance, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Common Law explains why the School of Law at Queen’s is now rated as one of the leading centres of legal research in the UK. Research undertaken in the School is currently shaping global and local debates in all areas of legal scholarship.
The School’s research on Northern Ireland’s past and present has gained international recognition on themes such as human rights, constitutional law and governance, restorative and transitional justice, youth justice and criminal justice. Staff in the School have contributed to vital public policy discussions in Northern Ireland in areas such as a Bill of Rights, reform of criminal justice and policing, and devolution.
Staff in the School are working on issues which are central to the future economic and social development of Northern Ireland. For example, Head of School, Professor Colin Harvey, along with Dr Aoife Nolan and Dr Rory O’Connell, has secured a grant of £260,000 to work on an innovative new project on budget analysis and social and economic rights. It will figure heavily in future discussions about the Executive’s budget, social inclusion and economic development in Northern Ireland.
Staff are also working on the difficult question of how Northern Ireland can deal with its past. Professor Kieran McEvoy has secured a grant of £300,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to examine this question in an international perspective; and through this research - and his work for Healing Through Remembering - is helping to shape current discussions around truth-recovery. Dr Louise Mallinder, the research assistant on the project, has also created a new database on Amnesty Laws which is being widely used in local and international discussions.
The nature of our constitutional system continues to stimulate research and debate.
During this RAE cycle, Professor John Morison led a research project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, to examine devolution and constitutional change in Northern Ireland. This project has informed discussions on the nature of devolution here.
On the global front, the School is a centre for research on corporate governance, led by the Director of the Institute of Governance, Professor Sally Wheeler. This work - of international significance - has focused on the regulation of financial markets and corporate social responsibility. Regulatory Regime Change in Financial Markets
is a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its World Economy and Finance Programme. This project has examined the dominant effect of the US regulatory regime on global markets and on the regulatory and economic governance regimes of states across the world.
Staff in the School retain a secure international focus in their research work. This is evident in Human Rights. Dr Tomoya Obokata has produced outstanding research on human trafficking that has informed international and local debates, and in recognition of this he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Dr Jean Allain has created an impressive new International Human Rights Law Video Library which can be accessed from the School website and is now being used as a teaching and research tool throughout the world.
Strategic appointments in the areas of Human Rights, Governance, Law and Legal Theory and Criminology have helped Queen’s School of Law transform its research culture, as has the School’s growing success in attracting external research funding - rising from £624,000 in the previous RAE cycle to over £2m from 2001 until the present day.
Research clusters in the above areas have evolved from the internationally renowned work of the School’s Human Rights Centre, the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Institute of Governance. These new teams have delivered a firm basis for the transformation of the School’s research culture and performance.
Responding to the RAE result, Professor Harvey said: “This RAE result confirms the Law School at Queen’s as one of the leading centres of legal research in the UK. With University support we embarked on an ambitious programme of strategic appointments of staff at all levels - as well as building upon the existing strengths of the School - in order to transform our research culture. The result vindicates the approach adopted by the University and we are pleased to welcome an outcome that acknowledges the world-leading legal research ongoing here at Queen’s.
“The School of Law’s research has contributed to, and shaped, key local and international debates and the expertise of our staff is regularly called upon by a diverse range of local, regional, and international organisations.
“Staff have published outstanding books with all the major academic publishers, a number of which have won international awards. They have also published in prestigious international peer-reviewed journals and contributed to major international conferences.
“In sum, the School has demonstrated that it is able to serve the needs of Northern Ireland while also establishing itself as a global research leader. We look forward to building on this success into the future. We are determined to serve the needs of Northern Ireland and its economy by encouraging and supporting world-leading research in our School.”
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