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School of Law


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

Autonomy, rights and children with special needs: a new paradigm?

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

Principal investigator: Prof Neville Harris (with The University of Edinburgh)


The ESRC research project on Autonomy, Rights and Children with Special Needs: A New Paradigm? (ES/P002641/1) is examining the implementation of legislation in England and Scotland which has established a new framework of rights for children and young people with special educational needs (or, in Scotland, additional support needs) in relation to education decision-making. The English part of the research is being led by Professor Neville Harris, assisted by Dr Gail Davidge and will assess how effectively in practice the local arrangements, established under the Children and Families 2014, are ensuring that children and young people with special educational needs are able to realise their enhanced rights.  Many of the rights accorded to children and young people under the 2014 Act are concerned with their participation and local authority engagement with their views in the various processes by which decisions about their education are made and any disputes arising over them are resolved. But they also offer a children and young people collectively an opportunity to influence the state’s determination and review of local special educational provision. These kinds of empowerment and rights of participation would be consistent with the state’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But they are not being introduced against a settled background, but rather in the context of transition and change in this field.

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.

Using Bayesian surprise maps to explore debt and insolvency across the UK

Funder: E.S.R.C.

Principal investigator: Dr Aleksandra Jordanoska

Immigration Judicial Reviews

Funder: The Nuffield Foundation

Principal investigator: Prof Robert Thomas (with The University of Sheffield)

This project asks: how is the system of immigration and judicial review operating in practice? Could some of these cases be better and more efficiently handled through an alternative process?

The 16,000 immigration and judicial reviews lodged each year are pushing at the limit of what the judicial system can cope with. However, policy-makers lack a detailed understanding of this area of litigation, and there is a need to identify:

  • What specific types and categories of immigration and judicial reviews are lodged and why?
  • What proportion of these challenges could be resolved more effectively through an alternative dispute resolution model?
  • What are the options for an alternative approach and how could they be modelled?

For more information, see here.