Man sitting at desk doing research

The Department of Law and Criminology is a research-active department and we have a wide range of research expertise in both law and criminology.

Areas of focus include people marginalised because of youth or old age, human rights, migration, law and gender, international law, youth justice, policing, legal theory, commercial law, constitutional law, devolution and the changing constitution of the United Kingdom.

The Department’s Centre for Age, Gender and Social Justice has attracted £1,700,000 in external funding under the leadership of Ms Sarah Wydall, who is the Principal Investigator for a number of projects examining the responses to domestic abuse in later life, dementia and generational violence.  Our Veterans Legal Link project, led by Dr Ola Olusanya, has received £564,223 for research into access to justice for military veterans and their families. Read more about both these in Our Projects.

Three staff have won Welsh Crucible Awards in recent years, aimed at early-mid career researchers, to develop their research leadership potential. We currently have around 30 PhD students - many from overseas.

Our staff contribute significantly to the research base of Law and Criminology. Such contribution comprises both the supply of subject expertise and work which feeds into the development of academic and professional infrastructure, networking and significant impact activities. Other contributions have been made at the national, UK and international levels through refereeing and reviewing, guest lectures, external examining, development of collaborative projects, advising on research policy, as well as participation in and organising conferences and research meetings.

We have engaged consistently with aspects of devolution in Wales, contributing oral expert evidence to the Silk Commission on Devolution in Wales, the Commission on Justice in Wales and the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Welsh Parliament. Staff members were also on panels of academic experts addressing the provisions of the Wales Act 2017, convened both by the Welsh Government and the Wales Office and the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales.

Our staff have advised nationally and internationally on research policy and standards (including for the AHRC Peer Review College; the ESRC and the Ministry of Justice Research Consultation Group; the Italian Ministry of Research; the Polish National Science Centre, the Austrian Research Council, the Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium) and the Australian Research Council). Engagement with the professional sector in carrying out or reporting on research is an established part of our activity, which enhances our individual and institutional impact.

Research staff put their expertise to use as members of public sector and international advisory bodies, including the Law Commission's Welsh Advisory Committee, National Advice Network Wales; the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA); and the Wales Anti-Slavery Leadership Group.

There has also been active engagement with civil society organisations, public bodies and international organisations through providing reports and opinions and engaging in international collaboration and law and policy development. Examples include working with International Institute of Humanitarian Law and OIDEL – Geneva; Age International, the Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, European Parliament, Migration Studies Delegation-Sweden, International Organization for Migration, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Centre for Migration Policy Development, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law; Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

There has been extensive outreach and engagement activity by staff. In addition to those already mentioned, our staff have, for example:

  • participated in a joint project with the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff and the Constitution Unit at UCL which produced two papers which were influential in preparing the way for establishing a reserved powers model of devolution for Wales (Delivering a Reserved Powers Model of Devolution for Wales (2015) and Challenge and Opportunity: the Draft Wales Bill 2015 (2016))
  • worked with The Youth Justice Board, Swansea Youth Offending Service, and Gwynedd and Monmouth Youth Justice Service
  • worked with the National Citizens Service Trust
  • collaborated with People and Work on the programme Invest Local by Building communities Trust
  • delivered training to specialist domestic abuse workers on behalf of Safe Lives
  • mentored early career researchers working in refugee law under a scheme run by the Refugee Law Initiative at the University of London
  • mentored early career researchers under an initiative of the Learned Society of Wales
  • provided training sessions for the judges of the Welsh Language Tribunal
  • provided training sessions on human trafficking for relevant professionals, throughout Europe (judges, prosecutors, police, advocates, NGOs).