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Empirical Approaches

The School of Law has a strong, and growing, reputation for socio-legal empirical research. The Empirical Approaches cluster includes staff with a wide variety of interests including: criminal justice; family law; gender and the law; governance and regulation; human rights; and refugee law.


Shaheen's research interests lie at the intersection of Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, Women and Child Rights and International Law of Human Rights. She has written and published extensively in her areas of research.

Stephen's recent research uses statistical analysis of financial data to investigate gaps in financial regulation and supervision. In When Overseeing Becomes Overlooking (2016) (16)2 Journal of Corporate Law Studies 1-33, Stephen revealed that the greater proportion of finance capital investment into EEA SMEs by means of private placements came from without the EU regulatory structure for alternative investment funds, with US and Asian funds playing a significant role. This data was used to critique the failings in the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive and propose solutions as part of the Capital Markets Union..

Maebh uses qualitative empirical methods in her work on court ordered shared parenting arrangements.

James undertakes empirical research into a range of topics that involve human rights, labour and international economic law issues. He primarily uses qualitative research methods. He is currently undertaking an inter-disciplinary ESRC research project to understand the impact of EU trade agreements on the lives of workers in trade partner countries. Other recent empirical research projects include investigations into the impact of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and studies of the human rights impact of public spending decisions in the city of Coventry.

Jackie has researched and written on the criminal process in the UK and France, as well as broader European comparative studies. She regularly collaborates with colleagues in Australia, the US and Canada, as well as Europe. Much of her work draws on her own externally funded empirical research, blending direct observation, interviews, questionnaires and case file analysis. Together with law and psychology colleagues, she is currently undertaking a large-scale survey study of public confidence in policing in five areas within West Mercia and Warwickshire. This will be complemented by a series of focus group interviews.

Immaculate's research seeks to apply quantitative methods in the analysis of the functioning of cryptocurrency markets in order to provide evidence-based and policy-relevant insight into their regulation.

Vanessa has conducted a number of externally funded empirical projects exploring responses to female complainants of sexual violence, in and beyond the criminal justice context. Her work is informed by feminist and critical theory, and involves mixed method data collection (ranging from surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and jury simulations)

Ralf's main research areas are European Union law, employment law, sociology of law, social theory and comparative law. He regularly collaborates with colleagues in Europe and the US in the context of externally funded research projects. His work includes empirical research, using a variety of methods including direct observation, interviews, questionnaires and case analysis.

Sharifah is interested in the ways in which we measure global health outcomes.

Rachel's research looks at public law interference within the family and notions of imposed citizenship. Her work is empirical and draws on historical and modern sources to inform our understanding of state regulation of parent-child relationships.

Laurène recently completed her PhD and teaches criminal law at the Law School. Her doctoral research project is a comparative study of prosecutorial discretion and accountability in France and England and Wales. Her analysis is based on direct observations of the work of public prosecutors in France and England and Wales for 6 months in total. Laurène also conducted interviews with prosecutors of different hierarchical levels.

Dallal Stevens’ is involved in a UK ESRC-funded urgency grant awarded to a multi-disciplinary and international team and entitled Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences (For an overview of the project, publications and briefings and members of the team, please click here) The team has carried out 225 interviews with migrants and refugees in Greece, Italy, Malta, Germany and Turkey and is exploring the causes and motivations of migration and the relationship between policy and migration.

Ali's work draws upon quantitative and qualitative empirical methods to investigate the extent to which the international framework for Human Rights Education is implemented at the national level in the UK.

Celine's research centres on exploring aspects of international economic law and regulation with a focus on international development financing law, policy and governance. She is also interested in the intersections between law and development, gender, human rights and the environment.

Ania researches in the fields of labour and employment law but approaches them broadly, in keeping with the feminist, socio-legal, and interdisciplinary orientation of her work. She is interested in how regulation of work and labour markets articulates with other areas of social and economic policy, and in examining the gendered and other relational dimensions of that nexus.


  • Sukumar, D., Hodgson, J. and Wade, K. (2016) “How the timing of police evidence disclosure impacts custodial legal advice” International Journal of Evidence and Proof
  • Hearty, Kevin. (2016) How the ‘suspect community’ became ‘critical engagers’: the (re)framing of the Irish republican narrative on policing in Northern Ireland. Irish Political Studies . ISSN 1743-9078 (In Press)
  • Harding and Newnham, ‘Sharing as Caring? Contact and residence disputes between parents’ Child and Family Law Quarterly (2016) 28 CFLQ 175

Cluster Convenor

Ali Struthers