SLSA Conference Streams and Topics

Papers at the SLSA conference are divided into ‘streams’ and ‘current topics’, each of which is made up of contributions with a related thematic focus. Streams recur at each year’s conference, while a current topic is a one-off set of papers at a single conference.


    The year 2023 marks 25 years since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the passing of the Human Rights Act and the introduction of devolution across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Further afield, constitutional and human rights developments were afoot across Europe: with EU and Council of Europe expansion, Russian ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights; the European Court of Human Rights becoming a permanent court with the adoption of the 11th Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights; while internationally the adoption of the Rome Statute of the ICC and the creation of the African Court of Human Rights. Looking back on 1998 from the vantage point of today prompts some reflection. The 9-11 attacks and War on Terrorism, the financial crisis of 2008, Brexit, the electoral success of ‘populists’ and their impact on constitutions, a global pandemic, Russia’s exit from the Council of Europe, Chile’s recent constitutional referendum, the ever worsening climate crisis and the reversal of Roe v Wade have all intervened, leading to us ponder how the constitutions and constitutional law have responded and what constitutional scholars will have to deal with before 2048, a year which will mark the centenary of one of the landmarks of the post-World War 2 legal order, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    We invite papers addressing constitutional developments, reflecting on the past quarter-century and imagining what the next might herald. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

    • Constitutional Crisis
    • Constitutional Imaginaries
    • The Evolution of Devolution
    • Irish unification
    • Scottish Independence referendum #2
    • Wales & Devolution
    • Queering Constitutionalism
    • Feminist Constitutionalism
    • Brexit
    • The role of the Human Rights Act 1998
    • New threats to the European Court of Human Rights
    • ‘Populism’ and constitutionalism
    • The economics of constitutions
    • Constitutions, Colonialism and Decolonisation
    • Constitutions and Climate Change
    • Constitutional Change & Drafting Constitutions
    • Global Constitutionalism
    • Constitutionalism & Sovereignty

    Conveners: Rory O’Connell ( and Aoife Donoghue (


    The Administrative Justice stream attracts a broad range of papers, employing different methods and theoretical approaches, and covering different institutions involved in the delivery and oversight of public services. The stream welcomes papers addressing any aspect of administrative justice, including:

    • Courts, tribunals, ombudsmen, public inquiries
    • Access to justice and administrative justice reform
    • Internal redress processes within government
    • Algorithms in public administration
    • First instance decision making by public authorities
    • Papers addressing current controversies and/ or critical issues in administrative justice are particularly welcome:
    • Digitisation and administrative justice

    Papers may cover administrative justice topics across any area of government activity including: social security, immigration, education, housing, health services, social care, etc. The stream welcomes empirical, theoretical, doctrinal, and comparative work. Papers adopting novel methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches are particularly encouraged. The stream receives papers from the international academic community, as well as PhD students.

    Convener: Chris Gill (


    This stream seeks to provide a forum for discussing the links between art, culture, heritage and the law. It is open to researchers in law as well as in other disciplines. A wide range of papers will be welcomed which can include the legal and ethical regulation of art, culture and heritage as well as practical issues and socio-legal implications.

    Papers may include, but are not limited to:

    • Cultural values;
    • The intersections of national and international law as well as private and public laws in the protection of cultural objects.
    • The relationship between property and culture;
    • Repatriation of cultural objects;
    • Cultural rights and human rights;
    • Cultural institutions and the law;
    • The de-accessioning or acquisition of objects from museums and other cultural institutions;
    • Legal protection of artistic works, the built environment and objects of cultural importance;
    • The licit and illicit circulation of works of art and cultural objects;
    • Minority rights and interests relevant to culture and heritage;
    • Art and aesthetics and their relationship to law;

    There may be a link with other streams such as indigenous and minority rights and Challenging Ownership and, in this case, an attempt will be made to have a group session.

    Conveners: Janet Ulph ( and Sophie Vigneron (


    Since 2007 regulation of financial markets has evolved. Financial regulation became very topical in response to the Global Financial Crisis (2007-2010), which has brought the issues of regulation, supervision and crisis management to the forefront of legal, economic and policy debate. Furthermore, an increasing corpus of international financial ‘soft law’ such as Basel capital rules has emerged. Today, the economic system is experiencing new challenges in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine such as high inflation, post-pandemic recovery, and sustainable investments.

    However, the main focus of such efforts and initiatives at international level is still on financial stability. The concept of financial stability, brings together micro-prudential supervision and macro-prudential supervision, and highlights again the importance of central banks. The focus of macro-prudential supervision is the safety of the financial and economic system as a whole, the prevention of systemic risk. Micro-prudential supervision is the day-to-day supervision of individual financial institutions. The arrangements in regard to the allocation of macro- and micro- prudential supervision vary across countries, but as the IMF has documented, micro and macro policy makers must cooperate to create a virtuous financial ecosystem that can achieve a higher degree of financial stability.

    Finally, the traditional functions of monetary sovereignty have been eroded by the fast progress of digitalisation. The evolution of payment systems is not risk-free, and it comes with the advent of a new tricotomy of virtual currencies: cryptocurrencies, stable coins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

    In light of the importance of financial stability, abstracts are particularly welcome from papers focused on specific issues relating to sustainable investments, central banks’ sustainable mandates, Fintech banks, virtual currencies, and business conduct rules such as anti-money laundering rules. However, abstracts are also invited from any general areas of Financial Regulation, FinTech and Corporate Governance. We encourage scholars and practitioners around the world to submit abstracts.

    Conveners: Alison Lui (, Daniele D’Alvia (


    The Children’s Rights stream provides a platform for the dissemination and knowledge exchange of the latest children’s rights research. We welcome papers exploring children’s rights from a methodological, ethical, theoretical and normative perspective at local, national, European or international level.

    We may also to host a panel showcasing new research projects, either those underway or those yet to start. If you are interested in sharing your research in this format, please email the convenors directly.

    We welcome papers from researchers at any stage of their postgraduate career and in any discipline, which intersects with children’s rights.

    Conveners: Ruth Brittle (, Naomi Lott (


    This stream focuses on research and developments across all civil justice systems in the widest sense and considers the reform efforts to increase access to justice. Papers dealing with the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the civil justice system are particularly welcome.

    Areas of interest for this stream include (but are not limited to):

    • ​Impact of Covid-19 on the civil court process and access to justice
    • Reform of the civil court process, including reform of procedural rules
    • The digitisation of the civil justice system e.g. online dispute resolution, video hearings etc.
    • All aspects of the judiciary
    • Litigants in person and vulnerable litigants
    • Costs and funding
    • The role and function of traditional forms of ADR procedures including mediation and arbitration
    • The role and functions of ombudsman systems.

    Convener: Masood Ahmed (


    Debates on free speech, 'cancel culture' and the limits of humour are more topical than ever, as shown by the the latest controversies surrounding comedians like Jimmy Carr, Dave Chappelle or Jerry Sadowitz. Humour in its various forms (from stand-up to cartoons and memes) is also often at the centre of complex legal cases, ranging from copyright law to defamation and hate speech. Recent scholarship has highlighted the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to humour and freedom of expression, combining insights from sociology, law and the humanities (see for instance HUMOR 35.3, 'The Difficulty of Judging Jests', ed. by B. Adriaensen, A. Bricker, A. Godioli and T. Laros, 2022). This current topic aims to encourage further dialogue in this direction, with particular regard to sociolegal approaches to recent and ongoing comedy controversies.

    Papers might consider topics including:

    • Analysis of humour related legal cases (e.g. defamation, hate speech, intellectual property, etc.)
    • General reflections on humour in free speech jurisprudence
    • (Socio)legal perspectives on humour and hate speech
    • Audience and media responses to humour controversies
    • Empirical approaches to humour production and reception

    Conveners: Jennifer Young (, Alberto Godioli (


    Conspiracy theory has been an object of academic attention for a relatively short period of time; with the vast majority not emerging until the last twenty years, evidence that conspiracy theory used to be (no irony intended) a ‘fringe’ concern. Today, though, conspiracy theory has gone mainstream, routinely deployed by world leaders and disseminated via the internet. New conspiracy theories have emerged, such as COVID related anti-vax conspiracies and QAnon, alongside those with a longer history, such as holocaust denial and belief in the ‘deepstate’.

    The growing ‘popularity’ of these views has had an attendant impact on law and legal phenomena. Public responses to COVID restrictions have revealed conspiratorial beliefs about law and regulation and there has been a recent spike in ‘pseudolaw’. Alongside these, longstanding associations between legal institutions and conspiracies such as Freemasonry and anti-semitism persist. But despite the recent flourishing of research into conspiracy theories by disciplines such as psychology and political science, little socio-legal work has been conducted in the area. Given the potential importance of conspiracy theories in the formation and reproduction of beliefs, attitudes, and trust towards legal institutions, particularly amongst laypersons, socio-legal scholarship is ideally placed to explore these ideas more fully.

    We invite papers that examine conspiracy theories in the context of law and legal phenomena. This might include (but is not limited to) work which looks at:

    • COVID-19 and responses to restrictions/regulation
    • Freemen on the land/sovereign citizens
    • Freemasonry and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in relation to legal proceedings
    • Other conspiracy theories and the ways they relate to legal processes
    • The potential role of law and legal process in creating and re-articulating conspiratorial thinking
    • The uses of social media in disseminating misinformation about legal process
    • The impact of conspiracy theories on legal deliberation (by judges, juries, etc.)
    • The role of traumatic litigation in enabling/reproducing conspiracist ideation.

    Conveners: Jack Head (, Kate Leader (


    Stable constitutionalism is generally regarded as one of the characteristics associated with advanced democracies. However, emerging research in comparative law and courts suggests that a significant degree of constitutionalism can exist without having an established democracy. Admittedly, many developing democracies have unstable constitutional histories, and the governments in these states are in a better position to control or manipulate constitutional courts that have no power of the purse or firearm. In recent decades, however, some real-world cases in developing democracies show that constitutional courts are increasingly successful in enforcing constitutions and making rulings against the interests of other governmental branches. How can we account for the presence of reasonably stable constitutionalism and independent courts in developing democracies? Which factors (or actors) promote or undermine the development of constitutionalism and judicial independence in developing democracies? This panel seeks to address the above questions and questions related thereto.

    We call for papers that make new theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions to various aspect of constitutionalism in developing democracies. Specifically, we are interested in soliciting papers with the subjects including—but not limited to—judicialization of politics, politicisation of the judiciary, judicial independence, the rule of law, constitutional politics, comparative judicial politics, politics of human rights, the enforcement of socio-economic rights, and/or judicial decision-making. We also welcome papers on in-depth case studies for a single country or with a regional focus (such as Asia, Latin America, Africa, etc.).  Additionally, we encourage papers on legal theories developed in the context of developing democracies, comparative analysis of constitutionalism in established and developing democracies, and/or new empirical datasets on courts in developing democracies.

    Convener: Nauman Reayat (


    This stream invites submissions on all areas of criminal law and criminal justice, whether national, comparative or international, and whether on theory, policy or practice. Substantive, methodological or theoretical approaches are welcomed, and papers on ‘work in progress’ will be considered provided the work is sufficiently developed.  Both individual papers and panel submissions (of three related papers) may be submitted, and postgraduate students are also encouraged to submit abstracts.

    Papers on sexual offences and offending can be submitted to this stream, but the author needs to carefully consider whether they could instead be submitted to Gender, Sexuality and Law or Sexual Offences and Offending.

    Conveners: Samantha Pegg (, Kirsty Welsh (


    Disability Law and Legal Studies is a subject that is rapidly increasing in importance. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has generated new legal initiatives around the globe and energised relevant socio-legal critique. In addition, national and international crises are having a particular impact on disabled people and are generating socio-legal and comparative scholarship.

    These include the Covid-19 pandemic, the surge in the cost of living occurring in many nations, national and international conflict and climate change. These matters raise important questions for research, academic activism and policy change within and beyond the UK. In addition, exacerbated by austerity and political upheaval, we are witnessing acute strain on the health system in the UK, as well as the effective collapse of long neglected and fragile ‘social care’ structures, with devastating implications for the lives of disabled people and their families.

    Initiatives of the devolved nations (such as the possible incorporation of the CRPD in Wales) and the fall-out of Brexit also have potential, though largely unexplored, implications for disabled people. Given this conjunction of international and national developments, there is an urgent need for robust socio-legal interrogation of questions concerning disability, law, and social justice.

    The convenors invite empirical and conceptual/theoretical papers that explore questions concerning disability, law, and social justice in the light of the challenges and/or opportunities presented by current developments at international, national, and/or local levels. We welcome papers from a broad range of disciplines and geographical locations, and encourage contributions from newcomers to disability socio-legal studies as well as more established scholars. Examples of issues papers might address include:

    • Disability politics, identities and models of disability;
    • Continuity and change in disability law and social justice at a time of uncertainty.
    • The domestication and impact of the CRPD, particularly in an era in which human rights are under political threat;
    • Tensions between ideas and applications of ‘vulnerability’ and equality;
    • The impact of current national and international events, including Covid-19, Brexit, national or international conflict, climate change and the cost of living crisis on disability law and/or social justice, particularly for disabled people;
    • Re-imaginings of social care and independent living theory and practice;

    Conveners: Beverley Clough (, Emily Kakoullis (, Alison Tarrant (


    A number of technologies (both existing and developing) such as extra-corporeal gestation/ectogenesis (ExCG), genome editing, in vitro gametogenesis (IVG), and direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT), have the potential to profoundly disrupt established social practices linked to human reproduction and parenting, as well as concepts of relatedness and the family.

    Such technologies may prove disruptive in various ways. In a narrow sense, for example, new and emerging technologies such as ExCG, genome editing and IVG may supersede existing methods of creating human beings, bringing about the ‘obsolescence of sex’ for reproductive purposes, and replacing sexual reproduction with biotechnological routes to parenthood. In a wider sense, existing notions of ‘family’ and ‘parent’ might be changed, displaced or rendered redundant, and social norms governing personal and sexual relationships altered by the decentring of the biological reproductive family. Similarly, in providing individuals with unprecedented detail about their own genetic profile and (potentially) those of their relatives, the increasing use of DTCGT raises questions regarding privacy and the family, such as how, when and with whom genetic information may be shared.

    Better understanding of the cultural, ethical and socio-legal issues that disruptive technologies raise is important given their impact on the ethical landscape and the challenges they pose for regulation, family identities and society more broadly. We therefore invite papers focused on these matters.

    Papers might address the following research questions/themes:

    Regulation of future human reproductive technologies

    Regulation of parenthood and the family in the context of disruptive technologies

    Socio-legal conceptions of parenthood and the family in the context of disruptive technologies

    Ethical and legal questions raised by individual disruptive technologies

    Conveners: Laura O’Donovan (, Caroline Redhead (, Nicola Williams (


    With socio-economic inequalities heightened and highlighted during the pandemic, the struggles for racial justice gaining prominence around the world and facing backlash, and the constant trade-offs between economic value and the value of some human lives, show that the continued interrogation of law and its interplay with colonialism and empire remains more relevant than ever.

    The ‘Empire, Colonialism and Law’ theme addresses the relationship between law and socio-economic, political and cultural empire(s), with due emphasis on colonial and post-colonial structures. It aims to discuss how the instrumentality of law acts within these totalities to initiate and strengthen the dominant regimes and, significantly, generates a totalising tendency within law itself.

    To illustrate, the violent and totalising control by colonial regimes dramatically altered the nature of law and justice (and the state) in the colonies. The particular logics in relation to law and the state so initiated did not end with the ‘decolonisation’ moment; rather, they have continued in the ‘age of Empire’ as well.

    The continuation of these logics, that feed into and thrive on inequalities and epistemic differentiations, is not only made apparent during crises such as the current one, but is a perpetual crisis for the marginalised populations. This suggests that while colonialism and empire are taken as specific, disparate historical events, they also represent conceptual categories that are interwoven in history and interconnected at a foundational level.

    In this backdrop, this theme approaches the categories of Law, Empire and Colonialism from a variety of different angles: law within empire and empire within law; law within colonialism and colonialism within law; as well as the multiple theoretical and historical links between these categories. Possible areas of discussion could include:

    • Pandemics, lockdowns and their differential impact on marginalised groups
    • Transplantation of law and justice from Metropole to the colony
    • Coloniality and its relation to crises
    • The struggle for racial justice
    • The notion of ‘value’ within colonial logics
    • The nature of sovereignty within colonialism and Empire
    • The legal experiments in (Empire’s) colonies
    • Bordering within colonialism and Empire
    • The encounters between local and hegemonic legal and normative orders
    • Legal histories from the standpoint of the excluded
    • Gender as a terrain for colonial contestation
    • Nature of the state in (pre/post)colonial environment
    • The creation and governance of the colonial/Empire’s subject

    Conveners: Raza Saeed (


    The focus of the last few decades has been ever-increasing globalisation and global cooperation. In the environmental law context, this can be seen within global efforts to combat climate change; conserve wildlife; and protect our common resources. However, this stream looks at whether this age of environmental globalisation is truly still upon us. For example, the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2016 and the potential environmental impacts (if any) from the UK’s full departure from the European Union at the end of 2020, pose questions as to whether global cooperation in environmental law and governance remains at the foreground of environmental protection. It could be argued that we are entering into a newfound age of isolationism – where nationalistic interests are taking precedence.

    This stream would therefore particularly welcome papers on environmental law and governance that respond to and/or challenge this theme. This would include papers with either a national or international environmental law focus and would include papers considering specific environmental regimes, or those that consider broader concepts of environmental governance.

    More specifically, some of the themes and questions that the papers might want to explore include:

    • Could human rights protections in environmental law survive an isolationist age?
    • The role of multi-national corporations and market mechanisms in environmental law.
    • The role/ influence of politics and policy in environmental protection.
    • Historical perspectives on environmental law.

    Conveners: Alexandra Harrington (, Ben Mayfield (


    This topic engages with the centrality of knowledge production in law to questions of justice. By unpacking and unmasking dominant modes of knowledge production in legal spaces, the topic explores different manifestations of epistemic injustice in law. Central questions to this endeavour are: How is (legal) knowledge produced? What epistemological foundations is it based on? Who produces this knowledge? By whom and to whom is the knowledge disseminated? The topic is divided into two themes with three panels each. Please specify which theme you are submitting your abstract to.

    Theme A is entitled ‘Epistemic Injustices in Law: Feminist Perspectives’ and is attentive to the politics of knowledge production in feminist socio-legal scholarship. Critical approaches to feminist legal scholarship, have challenged the epistemic hegemonies in dominant legal scholarship and exposed how these hegemonies overshadow, silence, and displace alternative knowledges, vocabularies, and practices, particularly those outside of the Global North. Focusing on the need to widen epistemological and theoretical foundations within socio-legal and feminist scholarship and practice, this topic invites contributions that engage with alternative, particularly non-Western, non-liberal, feminist theories and methods in law.

    Theme B is entitled ‘Epistemic Injustices in Law: Articulating Alternatives’. This theme welcomes submissions that examine particular instances of epistemic injustice in lawcraft (at all levels from the local to international), especially those related to injustices arising out of reliance on particular understanding(s) of expertise, Eurocentric formulations of rights and justice, and restricting of grammars through legal language. We encourage submissions (including those not in English) that challenge orthodox ways of knowing and knowledge-making, by employing indigenous, queer, critical race, de/post colonial approaches. Authors are invited to think about whether, and if so how, epistemic injustice in their selected areas of study can be remedied.

    Conveners: Farnush Ghadery (, Nora Jaber (, Raghavi Viswanath (, Jessica Wiseman (


    This session invites contributions which explore issues within the fields of law, equality, human rights and/or discrimination (all broadly defined). Equality and human rights laws are increasingly important, both domestically and internationally, with such laws frequently forming a backdrop to twenty-first century phenomena such as socio-economic inequality, radicalisation and terrorism, the refugee crisis, marriage inequality, hate crime and gender inequality.  Equality and human rights are also under threat with uncertainty surrounding the future of equality and human rights law following the UK leaving the European Union and moves towards a UK Bill of Rights.

    This session aims to explore questions about the role of equality and human rights law, both now and in the future, as a tool to address wide-ranging and persistent forms of inequality and human rights abuses.  Papers could cover a wide variety of topics including (but not limited to) drafting, interpretation, or enforcement, of equality and human rights laws, as well as individuals’ or groups’ experiences of inequality and human rights abuses.  The stream welcomes papers utilising a variety of approaches and perspectives including theoretical, interdisciplinary, empirical, comparative, and socio-legal contributions.  Papers from researchers at any stage of their career are welcome.

    Convener: David Barrett (


    This panel invites papers that explore the uncertainties and interactivity of legal borderlands. Legal borderlands are defined as including, but not limited to: the division between the formal and informal, law and non-law, and jurisdictional boundaries. Recognising that legal borders are often not clearly defined or static, we invite papers that examine social practices falling within grey areas, as well as papers that trace the development of norms and concepts within or across legal borderlands, or which trace the movement of the borders themselves through social agency. In this panel we wish to showcase empirical and interdisciplinary methods of socio-legal research.

    We welcome applications from scholars at all stages of their academic careers – including graduate students – and from diverse backgrounds – including scholars whose research focuses on foreign socio-legal issues.

    Convener: Pedro Fortes (


    Given the continuing changes being experienced in the world of family law and policy in the UK and internationally, this stream welcomes papers which take a socio-legal approach to any issues within this field. Possible themes of interest include (but are not limited to): Family Courts and Covid-19; Service Users Experiences of Family Courts; Family Law’s Future; Access to Family Justice; Dispute Resolution; Online family law and justice; Modernising marriage and civil partnership law; Money, property and relationships; Domestic abuse and coercive control; Regulating non-traditional families and relationships; Parenthood, Motherhood/Fatherhood, Mothering/Fathering after Separation/Divorce and/or in Diverse Family Forms; Public Child Law; Autonomy, equality, vulnerability and gender in family law regulation; International and comparative perspectives on Family Law.

    Abstracts may only be submitted when the call opens, and this will be via Oxford Abstracts. They must be no longer than 250 words and should include your title, name and institutional affiliation and your email address for correspondence.

    Conveners: Annika Newnham (, Charlotte Bendall (


    This stream seeks to draw together socio-legal scholarship from across the globe and features scholars carrying out work relating to the broad theme of gender, sexuality and law. Past papers have considered same-sex marriage and citizenship, gender identity, queer theory, gender and legal history, gender/sexuality and parenthood, homophobic and transphobic hate crime, sex education, sexual violence, sexuality and the media, religion and sexuality, comparative perspectives, obscenity law, and abortion. Papers relating to any area of gender, sexuality and law will be considered. We particularly welcome papers considering feminisms and queer studies and contemporary debates in gender, sexuality and law.

    As well as interdisciplinary work related to the stream’s topics, the stream also welcomes creative presentation of research and has in the past included poetry, film, performance and exhibitions.

    Conveners: Alex Dymock (, Nora Honkala (, Avi Boukli (


    This stream invites submissions exploring the intersections of law and justice with comics, graphic fiction, and related visual media.

    Critical interest in the comics medium is an emerging area of scholarship. Comics and graphic fiction—and their related visual emanations, including film, video games, and wider ‘geek culture’—are of huge and on-going significance to law, justice, and legal studies.

    On a socio-cultural level, comics are historically embroiled in debates on free speech whilst today they inspire countless pop culture adaptations—from television to cinema to video games, and performance activities such as cosplay. Comics can reflect and shape popular visions of justice, morality, politics, and law.

    Graphical fiction content from mainstream superhero narratives tackling overt issues of justice, governance and authority, to countless themes related to morality, justice, and humanity in stories within and far beyond the mainstream, are rich with legal material.

    The comics medium’s unique and restless blending of different media and types of representation (text, image, visuality, aesthetics, inter alia) radically expands discourse beyond the confines of the word, enabling greater critical engagement amidst our increasingly visual age. Comics are a complex art-form, with multiple creators working in individual, group, commercial, and industrial contexts, raising questions of ownership and exploitation—issues exacerbated by comics’ transmedia proliferation.

    We welcome submissions that explore:

    • The relationships between comics and related visual media, and law—culturally, socially, formally, theoretically, jurisprudentially.
    • Studies of individual comics, series and genres.
    • The use of comics and related visual media in law—in practice, education, theory, research.
    • Analysis of comics as objects of legal regulation in their own right—raising issues of definition, ownership, consumption, value.

    The examples above are merely indicative; the graphic justice stream welcomes paper submissions that traverse any potential intersection between law and comics or related visual media—all broadly defined.

    Conveners: Thom Giddens (, Angus Nurse (


    The Health Law and Bioethics stream invites papers from both academics and professionals with expertise in law and/or other relevant disciplines on any aspect of healthcare that raises legal and ethical issues.

    With the emergence of new and developing technologies, the importance of these fields of research are growing, and have an increasingly important role in the lives of individuals both nationally and internationally.

    Papers are welcome relating to all aspects of healthcare (broadly defined) which impact upon individuals throughout all stages of their lives and wherever they may be situated.

  • HUMAN RIGHTS AND WAR (Current Topic)

    War has been a consistent feature of human civilization, yet it remains a thorny issue for the law to grasp. 75 years on from the Geneva Convention we continue to see blatant violations with armed conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen and Ethiopia evincing the prevalence of human suffering from war. Given the lack of a forum to see redress for violations of international humanitarian law, human rights courts, commissions and committees have in recent years become adjudicating bodies both in determining violations and obligations that occur during conflict, as well as setting out urgent interim or provisional measures to prevent further suffering. This raises a number of complex and challenging issues for lawyers, military commanders and affected civilian populations on the scope of the application of human rights obligations on state, non-state armed groups and peacekeeping operations, and their compliance. In light of controversial decisions on jurisdiction in Georgia v Russia (II), the ongoing war in Ukraine and jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court on accountability and redress after conflict, this topic aims to bring together a range of scholars working on these issues to reflect on the socio-legal issues raised.

    This current topic is interested in issues which involve human rights and war, including but not limited to:

    • Jurisdiction
    • intersections and conflicts with International Humanitarian Law
    • detention
    • military occupation and separatist republics
    • access to justice
    • human rights obligations of non-state armed groups and international organisations
    • weapons
    • transitional justice
    • belligerents' behaviour
    • military operations and battlefield decision-making
    • condolence payments and reparations
    • impact of war on vulnerable groups
    • accountability

    Convener: Luke Moffett (


    This topic invites contributions that consider specific mechanisms that are established post-conflict and post-authoritarian regime change that aim to address systemic social and structural issues in the transitional landscape. A particular focus is on non-judicial mechanisms or schemes not limited by the temporal scope of transitional justice, but broadening out to understand societal reforms at macro level designed to advance positive peace and transformative justice. This opens the possibility for engaging analyses and interventions from other disciplines and sectors. A key thread of analysis is the role of collective memory in resolving the messiness of contentious narratives and histories. Of course, legal judgments can shape social memory, but other mechanisms such as oral history archives, storytelling initiatives, and cross community endeavours are also of interest. Guidelines or parameters for framing the space in which such initiatives can flourish are needed. Advancing the cause of archival justice and principles for the production historiographies, legal histories, and other narratives drawn from state and non-state archives in the context of contentious and unsettled histories are needed. Tensions between state sponsored discourses of violence and marginal or minority experience of these violent historic episodes can be explored.

    Papers might address issues including:

    • transitional justice
    • memory studies
    • post-conflict societal rebuilding
    • peace building
    • human rights, memory & social justice
    • cross-community initiatives after regime change (this would lend itself to case studies)
    • social justice, social change, social movement theory
    • narrating memories of conflict; navigating metaconflict

    Conveners: Aoife Duffy (, Katya Al Khateeb (


    Indigenous rights continue to be an area which sees both continued improvement in achieving real and meaningful changes and also as an area in need of critical improvement. The violation of indigenous rights can have devastating effects on the lives of individuals, families and communities. This stream welcome papers that address any aspect of indigenous rights, whether at an international, regional or national level. Papers that deal with the issues arising with Covid-19 for indigenous peoples, as well as those that address gaps in the rights framework, and those that suggest new directions for realising indigenous rights are of particular interest.

    Conveners: Aliza Organick (, Sarah Sargent (


    Intellectual property rights affect every aspect of our modern life and academic activity. Nevertheless, contemporary intellectual property law and policy is facing a number of unforeseen challenges that have created a series of problems to the understanding, application, and regulation of intellectual property rights. Some argue that the current legal framework is neither designed for, not suitable to cope with such changes. While others believe that recent challenges could be used to further develop rules in this area of the law. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated some of these challenges and underlying tensions within intellectual property law.

    This stream aims to bring together scholarly, professional, and postgraduate researchers to critically explore issues related to intellectual property in a multi-disciplinary forum. We welcome intellectual property scholars from across the globe and welcome papers utilising a variety of approaches including doctrinal, socio-legal, theoretical, empirical, and comparative contributions on intellectual property issues and related themes. Papers addressing challenges within contemporary intellectual property law and policy could relate to, but are not limited to, any of the following themes:

    • The legal framework, whether international, regional, or domestic, for Intellectual Property rights, including Trade Mark Law, Patent Law, Copyright Law, Designs Law, and Geographical indications.
    • IP theory, IP justifications, IP history, and IP in society.
    • The interface between Intellectual property and new technologies, including Intellectual Property & the Internet, Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence, Intellectual Property and Innovation.
    • The interface between Intellectual Property & Competition Law, Intellectual Property & Human Rights, Intellectual Property & Contract Law, and Intellectual Property and International Law.

    Papers relating to any aspect of Intellectual Property rights will be considered but if you have any questions about the scope of the stream or would like to discuss a possible contribution then please contact the stream convenors.

    Conveners: Smita Kheria (, Jasem Tarawneh (


    We live in an ever-globalising world. It is vital therefore for the international trading system to provide a platform that sufficiently supports the ability of all players to benefit from globalisation.   This platform is referred to as the multilateral trading system (MTS) which, through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) provides a series of agreements that regulate international trading activity. The current agreements were negotiated over a period spanning more than a decade, and therefore has to be appreciated within the context of which compromise and agreement were arrived upon. This is especially true as the previous platform, the GATT 1947 became obsolete, failing to respond to the developments within the international trading system.

    Recent times have seen the emergence of challenges that were not fully appreciated previously. The slash and burn approach to land clearing in Indonesia has spread haze with increasing severity to its neighbours. The same activity has also brought to light the plight of wildlife losing their natural habitat, causing some countries like the EU to sanction Indonesian oil palm and Indonesia retaliating by targeting the European pharmaceuticals. The recent COVID-19 pandemic further emphasises that environmental, and public health concerns have been neglected in favour of trade liberalisation and profit.

    The conveners of this theme welcome proposals addressing the need for greater or lesser concern of social issues to be taken on board by the WTO when considering international trade regulation and policy.

    We hope to stimulate discussion and further collaboration on these and other questions among participants of the theme.

    Conveners: Mervyn Martin (, Maryam Shadman Pajouh (


    This stream provides a space for those who wish to critique, interrogate, reform, derogate, or defend, the corporate form. Since corporations possess distinct personalities within the legal order, we welcome papers that address specific regulatory issues concerning such personality, or wider corporate activity. We also welcome contributions focussing on the presence and effect of corporations on a wide range of critical socio-legal issues. This includes the effects of the corporation on environmental, social, and employment issues and the relationship between corporations and human rights among others. Innovative papers interrogating the fundamental shape, existence, purpose, and/or societal role of the corporation from myriad visions of law and society (as well as the more ‘traditional’ law and economics one) will be particularly welcome. We would especially like to ensure that all perspectives are included and are keen to hear from PG, early career, and BIPOC researchers.

    Conveners: Johanna Hoekstra (, Colin Moore (, Renginee Pillay (


    In 2023 we wish to continue and extend the discussions and debates we have commenced in previous years that have engaged from a variety of perspectives with the legal regulation of cyberspace and new information technologies. We continue to live in an age of challenge and disruption in the interface of law and information technology which has only been enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic and what now may come to be the post-pandemic world. Climate change, economic uncertainty and military conflict also highlight the role of information technology in these domains.

    While the privacy of our data and the most intimate aspects of our lives captured by information technology presents the law with ongoing challenges, the post-Covid future may embed new forms of state and corporate surveillance, which pose for law various challenges in areas such as privacy, accountability and proportionality. The use of social media to send chilling messages of hate, harassment and offense continues to conflict with its role as a place for uncensored public debate, while we also live in a time when ‘fake news’ peddled online creates added tensions for the law. Robots now intervene in more and more tasks previously undertaken by humans, such as driving, policing and infection control, but at what cost to human interaction? How should the law respond to such technological change?

    This stream welcomes papers that seek to critically unwrap these issues and which address how the law has been co-opted into the information and technology age along with the new forms of social and legal space that it has created. Presenters will be invited to submit their finished papers for inclusion in a potential special issue of the journal Information and Communications Technology Law, to be edited by the stream convenors following the conference.

    Conveners: Mark O’Brien (, Brian H Simpson (


    The Labour Law and Society Stream is convened by Margaret Downie and Sarah Arnell of Robert Gordon University.

    The stream covers a diverse range of topics both national and international. We have some regular contributors but are always pleased to meet new people and if you have never presented a paper before we would encourage you to submit.  In the past we have had some very lively (but friendly) debates on equality in the workplace, forced labour, migration and the WTO and we welcome papers relating to all aspects of the workplace relationship.

    Conveners: Sarah Arnell (, Margaret Downie (


    This stream invites submissions exploring the intersection between law and emotion across a wide variety of fields and topics.

    Law and emotion scholarship is an exciting international, interdisciplinary field of legal research.  It is based on the premise that emotion is highly relevant to law and can and should be studied in the legal context.  A common approach is to take a legal question and bringing to it a perspective grounded in the study or theory of emotion.  This presents a significant challenge to the conventional legal view of law as the embodiment of reason and rationality, with emotion being perceived as, at best, irrelevant and, at worst, dangerous.

    Proposals based on any topics relating to law and emotion are welcomed.  As are suggestions for whole panels, interactive workshops and other innovative methods of delivery.  Relevant topics could include:

    • The involvement and impact of emotion in civil law and criminal law.
    • Theoretical approaches to, and practical applications of, the use of emotion, for example, using emotional intelligence or therapeutic jurisprudence.
    • The role of emotion in legal education and training and the legal profession.
    • The role of emotion in relation to legal actors, including issues of wellbeing.

    It is hoped that this stream will provide a valuable opportunity for collaboration and networking for researchers in the field of law and emotion, as part of the development of a wider UK-based Law and Emotion Network.  It will also provide an important opportunity to develop links with, and present insights to, the wider legal academy and others interested in this important and developing field.

    If you wish to discuss your ideas further and/or would like to join the developing Law and Emotion Network please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Conveners: Emma Jones (, John Stannard (


    Law, Literature and the Humanities invites original interdisciplinary presentations that engage with legal topics through or alongside literature or some other aspect of humanities and the arts (e.g. legal history, film and drama, music, and legal linguistics). There is no specific legal topic that the stream organisers expect papers to focus on, but papers are particularly welcome that are concerned with the performance or representation of law and legal themes in textual, visual, oral, or some other form.  The panel provides a forum for insights about law which may not be empirically quantifiable or scientifically predictable, but which tell us something about law’s imagination, its drives and anxieties, or its metaphors, narratives, plots or characters.

    Conveners: David Gurnham (, Julia Shaw (


    This stream is concerned to understand the work of lawyers and the role of professions historically, presently and in the future.

    The global legal professions continue to undergo radical changes although there are contradictory trends. Many countries in the world aspire to embrace the rule of law and seek to establish independent legal professions as a step in that process. In the meantime, in many Western jurisdictions’ legislation, technology and competition are driving change in the role, structure, organisation and culture of lawyers and legal professions. As professions change, so, arguably, does the nature and connotations of professionalism.

    We invite papers on any aspect of the legal profession: law firms, lawyers’ work, organization, professionalism, practice, ethics of practice, training, globalization and more. We encourage work reflecting philosophical, theoretical, and empirical perspectives on these themes.

    Convener: John Flood (


    The Legal Education stream welcomes papers on all aspects of legal education including both academic and professional legal education.  Papers on policy matters, pedagogical issues, matters pertaining to staff or students and anything else relating to legal education will be accepted.  The stream is not restricted to work on legal education in the United Kingdom.  Papers on comparative work in legal education or that concentrate specifically on legal education outside the United Kingdom will be accepted.

    Conveners: Anthony Bradney (, Fiona Cownie (


    Migration has been a defining feature of humanity since time immemorial, and long may it so endure. But perhaps never before has migration been so hotly contested and divisive. Against a background of rising populist sentiment and global financial recession, people who move frequently find themselves unfairly burdened with the blame for any and all of societies’ ills. Effective and fair systems and processes that support and protect those on the move are thus vital. Yet, migration in all its forms is becoming increasingly characterised by uncertainty, precarity and suspicion. Moreover, it is clear that national, regional and global systems of migration governance are under immense strain. Never before have so many people been forcibly displaced, whether internally due to conflict and violence, human rights abuses and/or natural and human-made disasters; or across borders in search of sanctuary and refuge. Labour migration and rights to travel freely within Europe are under threat, with the impacts of Brexit likely to reverberate across the continent for years to come. Plus, COVID-19, which has enhanced our awareness of global pandemics as an existential risk, also threatens our innate need or want to move, whether in search of safety, study, work or leisure.

    The Managing and Protecting People on the Move stream provides a central meeting point for the socio-legal scholarly community to discuss and debate the innumerable legal, political and sociological challenges associated with migration. We invite papers from those versed in migration law, migration studies, refugee and forced migration studies, international and regional law, domestic law, and comparative legal scholarship, who approach the subject area from a socio-legal, doctrinal, comparative, theoretical or empirical angle. We welcome contributions from early career researchers and doctoral students, as well as established scholars and practitioners.

    Convener: Ben Hudson (


    Mental health and capacity law continue to develop apace.  Legislative amendments for England and Wales were published in the summer, and the new Liberty Protection Safeguards will presumably be implemented at some point.  In Scotland, the Scott Review of mental health law is to report almost as this call goes to press.  At the international level, it is increasingly clear that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is changing what is expected of mental health and mental capacity law.

    While these legal developments provide a particularly apt occasion for the stream, papers from all areas of the law relating to mental health, mental capacity and mental disability are welcome, including:

    • Civil, criminal or informal mechanisms of control, in hospital or in the community
    • Supported decision-making and supported accommodation
    • The law relating to disability and welfare benefits, and issues relating to care and programmes in the community;
    • Issues relating to discrimination on the basis of mental disability (be it mental health issues, psychosocial disabilities, or learning disabilities)
    • International law relating to people with mental disabilities;
    • The role of administration or care-givers in the provision of services;
    • The role or experience of service users in mental health care, and research into mental health care.

    There is no restriction on methodology:  papers may be empirical, policy-centred, historical, analytic, traditional legal, or theoretical, in approach.   

    Papers are welcome from any academic background, and from people at any stage of their career. Proposals from people with lived experience of mental distress are welcome. 

    The stream co-ordinators are happy to consider joint sessions with other streams in the conference where appropriate.

    Conveners: Peter Bartlett (, Amanda Keeling (


    We invite applicants to submit their high-quality papers for the Organised Crime stream.

    Organised crime is a socio-political construct that emerged on government agendas in the 1990s and is established as a national, regional and international security threat, which undermines States sovereignty. Activities associated with organised crimes are many and varied and include (but are not limited to), the trafficking of commodities such as drugs, wildlife, organs and human beings. The perpetrators of organised crimes are also many and varied. They can be producers, refiners, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers, pushers, financiers and enforcers; some of whom have ‘upper world’ allies such as corrupt police officers, politicians, customs officials, judges or bankers. Organised crimes at the transnational level continue to evolve and respond to opportunities resulting from globalisation and technological advances. Local, regional, national and international law enforcement efforts are therefore continuously challenged.

    An Interdisciplinary Workshop:

    The stream aims to bring together a wide range of academics from various disciplines including law, history, criminology, politics and sociology to discuss transnational organized crime in a holistic manner.

    The overriding aim of the stream is to explore the concepts and trends which characterise organised crime at all levels. We expect papers that raise clear and crisp socio-legal questions concerning transnational and organised crime and offer concrete, innovative solutions to the problems.

    Submissions will be peer reviewed by the stream convenors. The successful authors of the selected papers will then be contacted and invited to present at the conference.

    Conveners: Simon Sneddon (, Mary Young (


    The Property, People, Power and Place stream welcomes papers on all aspects of law relating to land and the built environment. The stream acknowledges that definitions of property and property rights are often contested and that concepts of property are shaped by relationships and communities. Papers which explore the concepts of space, place and inclusivity are also welcome. It is anticipated that papers may focus on the following, as examples:

    • The emergence of new forms of land ownership, regulation, or planning systems
    • Potential tensions between different stakeholder groups in property discourses
    • The boundaries between public and private property relationships
    • Technology, design and/or environmental changes and the impact on space/place regulation
    • The relationship of property to individual or collective identity

    Contributions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries are particularly welcome.

    Conveners: Emily Carroll (, Emily Walsh (


    The challenges posed by sexual offences and offending are inherently complex. This stream examines legal, social and policy responses to victim-survivors and offenders in the context of a wide range of sexual offences, behaviours and exploitation.  This stream welcomes contributions which consider any aspect of sexual offences or offending, including:

    Child sexual offences; trafficking for sexual purposes; grooming; social media and sexual offending; sex workers and the law; police, court, prosecutorial and jury responses to sexual offences; the idea of ‘justice’ in the context of sexual offences; law reform; extreme sexual imagery; education and prevention; social attitudes to sexual offences and offending; policy issues; restorative justice approaches; comparative analysis, offender treatment; the legal and criminal justice response to indecent images of children; defining sexual offences.

    Conveners: Susan Leahy (, Siobhan Weare (, Eithne Dowds (


    Change in welfare states internationally continues to bring about upheaval in the social rights of citizenship and to fuel debate on the nature and enforcement of social rights in international law. Ongoing reforms to social security programmes in the name of “fairness” or “fiscal consolidation”, complications associated with a welfare state subject to devolution and localism, or debates on what it is to be a “citizen” eligible for support, all deal with these intersecting issues.

    This stream seeks to explore all these issues and more , bringing papers together which address these problems from different perspectives. Submissions to the stream may approach aspects of Social Rights, Citizenship and the Welfare State from a range of standpoints, including (but not limited to):

    • Substantive legal problems in the judicial recognition of social rights and arguments about the role of the courts to determine and uphold them.
    • Current challenges and future directions for welfare states amidst the ongoing fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and a cost of living crisis.
    • Associated theoretical issues on the uncertain status of social rights and social welfare, including material on the welfare state, conditionality, social justice, or the impact and meaning of ‘austerity’.
    • Comparative or supranational focused papers on social citizenship, welfare state typologies, or the effects of devolution and localism.
    • Ideologies of welfare and perceptions of adequacy.

    The stream convenors would particularly welcome submissions from practitioners or those engaged in the issues above (such as those working in welfare rights advice). If you have any questions about the scope of the stream or would like to discuss a possible contribution, please contact the stream convenors.

    Conveners: Mark Simpson (, Ciara Fitzpatrick (, Jed Meers (, Jackie Gulland (


    This stream provides a forum for those with an interest in socio-legal theory to engage in a critical and lively conversation with a view to continuing the development of theoretical discourse in socio-legal studies.  We are particularly interested in papers which consider the place of theory in socio-legal studies, the role it can play in developing our understanding of socio-legal issues, and the relationship between the jurisprudential and empirical aspects of the socio-legal community.  Papers from those interested in any of the variety of theoretical approaches to socio-legal studies are welcomed, including, but not limited to post-structuralist, feminist, post-colonial, systems and actor-network theory. Proposals from both legal and non-legal scholars speaking in favour of, or against, the utility of given theoretical approaches to socio-legal studies are encouraged. Similarly, papers introducing novel combinations of theoretical perspectives and those wanting to discuss their application of theory to their empirical research are also welcomed. Panel proposals may be submitted.  individual papers will be grouped, as much as possible, according to topic and discipline.

    Conveners: Adrienne Barnett (, Lisa Mardikian (