Research at the School of Law
The research culture in our School of Law is incredibly diverse. Our
academics are working across around 90 areas of law.
Our academics are tackling many of the most important issues facing law
makers and those working in the legal profession from human rights through to
public law. Multidisciplinary research projects also see our academics working
alongside experts in other disciplines to analyse key global issues.
Here is a sample of some of the main projects currently being undertaken in
For more information about the research our staff are involved in see
individual staff entries or our
Research Interests page.
Judicial review under the microscope
Professor Maurice Sunkin is leading a major study in collaboration with the
Public Law Project, a national charity concerned with access to public law, on
the effect of judicial review. This research touches on various issues including
whether judicial review gives judges too much power and whether it is a vital
tool for holding government to account. The Nuffield Foundation-funded research
will provide independent evidence on how governments respond to judicial
decisions and how ordinary claimants fare when public authority decisions that
fundamentally affect their lives are reviewed by the courts.
Details of The Value of Judicial Review project on the
Centre of excellence in European law
Our Essex Centre for Comparative and European Law
(EXCCEL) is a 'virtual' centre of excellence in European legal research.
EXCCEL provides an opportunity for knowledge exchange between policymakers
engaged in European and comparative law and our experts at the School of Law.
Transitional Justice Network
The Essex Transitional Justice Network brings
together academics from across the University and collaborators from the UK and
abroad. We are exploring issues faced by societies that are undergoing
fundamental socio-political change, notably the transition from a repressive to
a democratic or constitutional regime, or from a state of civil war and unrest
to peace and prosperity.
STeR - colonialism, slavery, trade and reparations
STeR - colonialism, slavery, trade, reparations: remedying the 'past'? is a research project based in the School
of Law that examines the contemporary legacy and ramifications of colonialism and slavery. Led by
Fernne Brennan, STeR aims to formulate a framework for reparations that would be adopted by influential
international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund.
Access to justice in an age of austerity
Professor Ellie Palmer, Dr Tom Cornford and Dr Anna Hardiman-McCartney, from
our School of Law, are the primary investigators on
Access to justice in an age of austerity: Time for
proportionate responses. This project, supported by the Economic and
Social Research Council, will include a Seminar Series looking at growing
concerns surrounding access to legal services especially for socially
disadvantaged individuals and groups.
Investigating impact of human rights on business
Our academics are working with colleagues in Essex Business School, our
Department of Government and external partners on the
Essex Business and Human Rights Project. The research
looks at the theoretical and practical impact of human rights in business.
Research on United Nations peacekeeping
With 120,000 troops, police and observers involved in 15 different United
Nations peacekeeping missions across the globe, at a cost of almost $8 billion a
year, Scott Sheeran from our School of Law is leading a review of the related
legal and human rights issues.
United Nations Peacekeeping Law Reform Project.
Research at the Human Rights Centre
Current research projects at our
Human Right Centre include the Children and Armed Conflict Unit, the
Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom, the Impact of judicial decisions on the
quality and delivery of public services and Human Rights and Sustainable
Find a scholarship
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accessible to all with the potential to succeed, regardless of your financial circumstances.
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Use our research finder to find the right PhD for you. Studying for your PhD at
Essex gives you a chance to investigate your topic with depth and understanding.
You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build networks, opening doors to many careers.