Empirical studies in law and socio-legal studies are distinguished, in substance and design, by their close connection to the concerns and methods of social science. The juxtaposition of legal research and social science generates a distinctive set of opportunities. Cardiff and Swansea Universities have diverse and vibrant legal research cultures, both scoring very highly in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework for their outputs, environment and impacts. In both, there is an established track record of research at the interface of legal and social science scholarship.
In combining the two settings, the Empirical Studies in Law pathway has supported studentships across a range of sub-disciplines, including: public and constitutional law; legal education; human rights and adult social care/disability law; asylum law; tort law and compensation culture; the rights of disabled children and their families; environmental law; European Union law and governance; family law; legal education; perceptions of risk in third sector sporting clubs; the application of human values models from psychology to judicial decision making; banking and environmental risk; comparative Welsh/English housing law/policy; constitutional perspectives on Welsh Devolution. Cardiff has recently consolidated strength in African socio-legal studies and developed interdisciplinary capacity in gender, law and politics as well has having emergent empirical research clusters in commercial and company law. The collaboration between Cardiff and Swansea provides areas of co-located specialism such as Environmental Law; children’s rights; criminal law; law and development; and maritime and commercial law.
Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Theoretical Themes for Empirical Analysis in Law as part of the interdisciplinary Social Science Research Methods Masters programme at Cardiff. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate. Students are active participants in a wide range of formal and very informal reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, and seminar series in both institutions. Students present their work at Cardiff’s PGR conference in Law and Swansea’s PGR colloquia which both run twice yearly. Students are also strongly encouraged and supported to attend and present at relevant national and international conferences.