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School of Law


The current projects our regulation and social justice staff are undertaking.

Comparative aspects of welfare law

Funder: Goteborgs Universitet

Principal Investigator: Neville Harris

Friendless or forsaken? Routes to assisted child emigration from England to Canada 1870-1930

Funder: Humanities Strategic Investment Fund (HSIF)

Principal Investigator: Ruth Lamont

Regulating reputations

Funder: SIRF

Principal Investigator: Sarah Devaney

Co-Investigators: David Williamson; Cecilia Flores Elizondo

Project aim: Regulators tend to engage in a variety of activities to encourage regulatees to comply with applicable regulatory frameworks, or to punish non-compliance. In a number of sectors, including finance and health and safety, such activities include taking action to harm the regulatee’s reputation (or threatening such harm). Significant gaps exist however in our knowledge about this regulatory approach including, for example, which regulators use it and how (and which regulators could resort to it but do not); which regulatees respond to it and why; and in what circumstances it is effective and why. Drawing on a variety of qualitative methods, it is such questions which this project addresses with the intention of enabling regulators to take action affecting reputations in a way which maintains their own reputation as knowledgeable, effective and proportionate.

Social dialogue during the economic crisis: The impact of industrial relations reforms on collective bargaining in the manufacturing sector

Funder: European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion DG

Principal investigator: Dr Aristea Koukiadaki

Co-investigators: Tony Dundon (NUI Galway, Ireland), Sabrina Colombo and Ida Regalia (Università degli studi di Milano, Italy), Maria do Pilar Gonzalez (University of Porto, Portugal), Aurora Trif (Dublin City University, Ireland), Aleksandra Kanjuo-Mrčela and Miroslav Stanojević (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), Carlos Jesús Fernández Rodríguez and Rafael Ibáñez Rojo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)

Project aim: Against the background of a profound economic crisis in Europe, wide-ranging labour market reforms are radically transforming the national systems of collective labour law and collective bargaining in a number of EU Member States. The comparative research project will seek to understand how the crisis-driven policy reforms translate into changes in collective bargaining in manufacturing. The seven-country comparative study consists of primary and secondary data in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. Fieldwork includes interviews with social and regulatory actors in terms of social dialogue and collective bargaining arrangements. The case studies illuminate the challenges and strategies of social partners at sectoral and company levels as well as the likely outcomes for employees. The significant policy interest of this project lies in its potential for contributing to addressing the employment and social dimensions of national and EU priorities relating to the response to and exit from the crisis. Specific questions include: What have been the effects of the reforms for the process and content of collective bargaining at the national, industry and company level? How do employers and trade unions respond to the new regulatory framework and what have been the implications for the outcomes of collective bargaining on issues such as wages, employment conditions and gender equality? How can the comparison of the reforms, their respective effect and social partners’ strategies be used for EU and national policy-making as well as cross-national learning and knowledge exchange for social partners?

Understanding the challenges of the food system

Funder: ESRC and Food Standards Authority

Principal Investigator: Jon Spencer

Co-Investigators: Dr Juan Medina Ariza; Dr Sarah Devaney; Dr David Ellis; Professor Royston Goodacre; Dr Adam Leaver; Dr Nicholas Lord

Project aim: This proposal intends to answer the question: How does the nature, functioning and regulation of a food supply network affect the risk of food fraud by adulteration?

This research question is allied to one anticipated integrative output: a predictive, transposable dynamic computational model that will outline nodes in a food supply network vulnerable to criminal acts of adulteration. Recent research by Spencer et al suggests that criminal action by legitimate actors in the meat supply chain is commonplace. All food adulteration scandals undermine consumer confidence in food and inflict reputational damage on those retailers caught up in the fallout. It is anticipated that this will advance academic understanding of food fraud and have practical use for regulators and food retailers who have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of food supply networks. This project is run by an inter-disciplinary group from the disciplines of Chemistry, Law, Criminology, Regulation and Business.