Socio-legal Studies

Socio-legal studies is an interdisciplinary research field in which law is explored as a social phenomenon. Research in this area aims to understand how legal ideas, practices and institutions are influenced by or function within the cultural, economic, historical, political and social context. Scholars often draw on social theory or critical theory as well as other disciplines, such as cultural studies, anthropology, criminology, economics, sociology, to inform their theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches.

Programmes eligible for NWSSDTP funding

N.B. Master’s programmes can only be funded as part of a 1+3/2+2 Studentship

Keele University

Lancaster University

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester

For information on how to apply for funding, please visit our How to Apply page.

Pathway Representatives

Contact details for Socio-legal Studies Pathway Representatives at each institution can be found here

Current Socio-legal Studies NWSSDTP students

Luke GrahamLuke David Graham (2017 Cohort)

Destitution as A Denial of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Addressing Destitution in The UK Through a Human Rights Framework

This project addresses Destitution in the United Kingdom using a Human Rights framework. Destitution remains an ill-defined concept, as such in order to address destitution this project will enunciate the first and only current Human Rights-Based definition of destitution. This will allow new mechanisms to be brought to bear which will in turn contribute to the prevention of destitution.

Profile PicAlexander Holder (2017 Cohort)

Law in War: Targeting, Legal Reasoning and the Use of Force in Armed Conflict

My work is concerned with the legal reasoning of individuals involved in militarised drone operations. Using documents made available in a series of investigations into a disastrous drone-led airstrike in Afghanistan by the United States, this project seeks to produce descriptions of the practical methods by which individuals produce and maintain legal targets.

CrawfordBen Crawford (2018 Cohort)

Employment rights and the shareholder: Workers rights vs. ‘owners’ rights

The thesis will provide a detailed and schematic exposition of the relationship between corporate law and labour rights. The project will analyse the mechanisms by which shareholder rights in the corporation serve to limit the realisation of labour rights, particularly in the context of a world of work characterized by outsourcing, franchising, complex corporate groups and long supply chains.

74368459_10214109260478388_3322579703683874816_oSophia Hayat Taha (2019 Cohort)

“Mundane Manifestations of State Processes”: No Recourse to Public Funds and its Impact on the Identity of Migrant Women.

Working with migrant women who have ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ using a postcolonial feminist critique. It combines Law and International Relations to allow for a different understanding of how the State interacts with migrant women. The project combines postcolonial legal methodology with empirical research in local partner agency, Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice (SNSCA).


Thomas JW Peck (2020 Cohort)

Business and the ‘right to health’ in international human rights law: Can Transnational Corporations operating in the healthcare sector be held to account for violations of the ‘right to health’ under international human rights law?

Transnational Corporations operating in the pharmaceutical sector have an often-negative impact on individuals relying on the medicines they produce. Artificial raising of drug prices as well as widespread healthcare-sector corruption, stemming from a profit-motivated culture, impacts upon healthcare policy and provision. My research, therefore, examines the effectiveness of international mechanisms of accountability for corporations which violate the ‘right to health’.

Godwin_E_Photo Eleanor Godwin (2020 Cohort)

Enshrining Corporate Ecocide in Law: Holding the Global Corporate Elite Accountable

This project will be exploring how a law of corporate ecocide could be most effectively implemented by mapping how domestic and international legal frameworks, enforcement practices and extra-legal processes frame corporate environmental harms. This will enable an identification of legal and extra-legal mechanisms that can enhance the accountability of the global corporate elite in relation to their devastating environmental harms.

SerenJay Kirkham (2021 Cohort)

Consent and the Mental Capacity Act 2005:  Exploring the Legal Understanding of Care Practitioners

Alongside Shropshire Partners in Care, a specialist organisation providing training to over 250 adult institutional care companies, my research explores aspects of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.  Specifically, through qualitative interviews, understanding the legal literacy of care practitioners in relation to mental capacity and consent and its application in practice.  The research aims to identify training development and resources.

SerenLouise Street (2022 Cohort)

Sexting, Minors, and the Law: Bridging the gap between the views of young people, and contemporary legal, policy and educational responses to sexting

During this project I will meet with groups of young people to discuss their views on law and policy around underage ‘sexting’ – a practice which most young people know is illegal yet continues to happen. I will explore what laws and policies would better help young people to manage risk around this activity and get help when needed.

Socio-legal Studies NWSSDTP Alumni


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