Law research

The University of Stirling Law School has a strong reputation for excellence in research: staff are committed to producing high quality publications, which impact on legal scholarship and outside academia. Students benefit directly from that expertise in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and in PhD supervision.

Our overall research mission is to foster excellent legal research without any prescription as to subject matter or methodology, and to encourage and support colleagues to develop their scholarship. In the most recent UK-wide Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2021), 100% of our research impact and 82% of our overall research in Law was classed as world leading or internationally excellent.

Our research has been funded by competitive funding awards such as with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, national human rights institutions, the Modern Law Review and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Our research

Child and Family Law

Child and Family Law research at Stirling has played a key role in shaping the law at both domestic and international level. Our experts have contributed to a wide range of national and international law bodies, including the UN Convention on Rights of the Child Incorporation Advisory Group; the Scottish Law Commission; the British Academy’s Childhood Policy Programme; the ‘Kilbrandon Again’ inquiry, jointly commissioned by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland and Action for Children and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Environmental and Energy Law

Research and teaching on environmental and energy law and policy is a core area of expertise at the University of Stirling. We work across the natural and the social sciences and in the context of the University International Environment Centre to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the challenges associated with environmental and energy governance. Our staff are engaged in high impact policy-orientated research on climate change law, renewable energy governance, environmental rights, and the enforcement of environmental law.

Human Rights

Human Rights research and teaching is an interdisciplinary endeavour at the University of Stirling. We work across Philosophy, History, Political Sciences, Social Sciences and Law to provide an interdisciplinary lens on human rights research relating to everyday life. Our staff are engaged in high impact policy-orientated research ranging in issues from economic, social and cultural rights, including the rights to housing, food and health, children’s rights, as well as intellectual property and human rights and climate justice.

Private International Law

This small group of legal scholars aspires to carry out world leading research on the best legal framework for cross-border civil disputes. It seeks to have high level global impact by suggesting ideas for and working closely with the one international organisation responsible for private international law - the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).

Hands reaching upwards

Research Spotlight

Find out how our research has been informing Scotland’s approach to the legal incorporation of international human rights obligations into domestic law.

Featured research

Smart technology and consumer protection

Legal experts at the University of Stirling have launched a new study to ensure that consumer laws are as ‘smart’ as the emerging technologies that they regulate.

Law Working Papers

Explore the University of Stirling Law Working Papers series. The series has been established to provide its legal academics, doctoral students and visiting researchers working in all areas of law with the opportunity to disseminate their research to encourage discussion.

Seminar series: International Perspectives on Scots Law 2023/24

We are delighted to launch our seminar series on International Perspectives on Scots Law, which will bring together academics, practitioners and other stakeholders to present research examining the role of Scots law in the international legal landscape.

Research Bulletin

Read our Research Bulletin for the latest news from the Law School and more details of what our experts are currently working on.

PhD opportunities in Law

Law postgraduate research

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, we were ranked 1st in Scotland for research publications in Law. Our staff are committed to producing high quality publications, which impact on legal scholarship and outside academia. PhD research in Law at Stirling is encouraged in any area where current staff have the expertise to supervise a student at the high level needed to do an excellent PhD. In particular we offer expertise in: Family and Child Law, Environmental and Energy Law, Private International Law and Arbitration, and Human Rights. Our Law staff are involved in a number of research networks and groups – from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Implementation Project, to coordinating the Economic and Social Rights Academic Network for the UK and Ireland. Postgraduate students undertaking a PhD or MPhil in Law at the University benefit directly from our vibrant, interdisciplinary research environment, and play a key role in furthering the division’s knowledge.

Read more about how to apply and see entry requirements What's the difference between a PhD and an MPhil?