Research at Aston Law School

We are an active research community, producing exciting and well-informed work to the highest quality standards. Our research is shared with our collaborators and partners and we are always keen to develop new relationships that put our research to good use.

 

Aston Law School (ALS) is proud of its energetic research culture. Our enthusiastic researchers are committed to excellent analysis and innovation in law. We publish books that advance the boundaries of knowledge, we write articles which are published in the most respected law journals, and we prepare reports advising new courses of action. Our success in creating new knowledge and developing practical outcomes has allowed staff to win funds from outside bodies to carry out our projects.
 
We regard the practical application of our research as integral to our mission. Members of ALS are integrated into business and professions through partnerships and networks which ensure that our research projects will be valued by society. Our staff contribute to law reform commissions, policymakers' strategies, regulatory bodies and private business. Research works by our staff have been cited by courts and legislators, and our researchers have been sought out for specialist legal advice by governments and supra-national authorities.
 
Our research has been influential through dynamic, enterprising projects which challenge old ideas and make forward-looking proposals. Recent examples examine how internet platforms should manage personal digital profiles after death, how online sexual imagery should be governed, how the legal architecture for recording property rights should be improved, and how regulators should respond to financial marketing that exploits investors' cognitive weaknesses.

Contract and Property Rights

Our research in this area deals with the rights and obligations of private citizens and companies in their commercial interactions with one another. Members investigate the concepts used in this branch of law and analyse whether the rules are systematic and coherent and meet standards of functionality and fairness. These issues are studied in relation to contract, property, trusts, restitution and estoppel. Research in these areas has produced published articles in the most prestigious law journals. 

Members: Dr James Brown, Professor Simon Cooper, Dr Gayatri Patel, Dr David Salmons, Dr Adam Shaw-Mellors, Dr Kristie Thomas.

Corporate Law and Financial Services

Our research in this area brings together research in all aspects of national, international and comparative law relating to corporate structures and finance. Projects in this field have included corporate governance, insolvency, financial markets, banking, credit ratings agencies, secured lending, taxation, offshore structures, and consumer-driven business regulation. On top of high-calibre journal publications, members run blogs devoted to aspects of corporate law and have secured funding for external engagement activities.

Members: Dr Martin Brenncke, Dr Daniel Cash, Professor Simon Cooper, Robert Goddard, Dr Iyare Otabor-Olubor, Rhonson Salim, Dr Kristie Thomas, Chris Umfreville, Stuart Weinstein

Law and Technology

Our research in Law and Technology is concerned with rights and regulation in connection with technological developments, automated processes, artificial intelligence, and the digital world. This research is undertaken in a wide variety of contexts. They include the criminal and regulatory sphere, such as internet regulation, cybercrime, cybersecurity; they cover commercial aspects, such as e-commerce, electronic contracts and fintech; and they also extend to private rights, such as intellectual property and privacy. The research is put to use in liaising with external bodies, for example on legal risk management and digital asset management. Staff have been invited to connect with the public sector, including advice to various national and international bodies, and giving evidence to a House of Lords Committee. Our research strengths have led to external funding awards within this area. 

Members: Professor David Bainbridge, Dr Martin Brenncke, Dr Edina Harbinja, Claire Howell, Dr Joy Malala, Abhilash Nair, Stuart Weinstein.

Legal Education

This strand of our research seeks ways to discover how the content and delivery of legal education could be improved and better regulated. Colleagues focus on developing teaching innovations and engaging in research which enhances understanding of the teaching and assessment of law. The key concern is to enhance the educational environments, processes and practices which support student learning and promote the objectives of university education. Staff in this research theme have gained measurable peer recognition, such as finalist for the Association of Law Teachers’ Teaching Law with Technology Award, and winner of the OUP UK Law Teacher of the Year Award. Members have won several external funding awards for teaching and learning work, and gained external appointments to develop teaching policy overseas. 

Members: Caroline Coles, Robert Goddard, Claire Howell, Odette Hutchinson, Kris Lines.

The Credit Rating Research Initiative

The Credit Rating Research Initiative has been developed to serve as a hub for research concerning the Credit and Sustainability Rating Industries. In seeking to meet the calls from politicians and civil society leaders from around the world for more research and public dissemination, the Initiative will bring together specialists from a range of backgrounds to tackle the key issues concerning the credit and sustainability rating industries, and their effects. Find out more.

Member: Dr Daniel Cash

Global South Dialogue on Economic Crime

Global South Dialogue on Economic Crime

What The Network Aims to do:

The Global South Dialogue on Economic Crimes Network (GSDEC) is an interdisciplinary platform for advancing dialogue, research, and capacity on economic and financial crimes. Its mission is to inform, influence, and improve researchers’ and stakeholders’ involvement in deliberations to curb illicit financial activities. Stakeholders include policymakers, enforcement officers, bankers, governments whose actions and inactions could lead to or combat illicit financial activities.

Find out more here. 

PhD Study

Aston Law School welcomes applications for PhD study. We have a strong record of PhD completions. Our staff have the expertise and enthusiasm to supervise PhD study across a range of areas. Recent topics have included:

  • international labour rights
  • international dispute resolution
  • proprietary restitution
  • reliance-based private law claims

The topics being studied by our current PhD students include:

  • constitutional law
  • corporate governance law

To view some of our main areas of supervision, please look at the research theme tabs on this page. For more detailed information, you can click on the Staff tab which links to the research interests and publications for individuals at Aston Law School.

If you are interested in PhD study, please contact Dr David Salmons for informal advice and guidance on applying for the PhD in Aston Law School (d.salmons@aston.ac.uk). He is the Programme Director for research degrees in law and is happy to discuss proposals before you make an application.

Once you are ready to make a formal application after speaking to the Programme Director, this is done via the online portal here. 

Applications are also now open for fully-funded studentships in the College of Business and Social Sciences. These cover tuition fees and maintenance grant. The deadline for the funded studentship applications is 23.59 hrs on Monday 31st May 2021. Discover more information here

Staff

Staff members

Dr Martin Brenncke - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr James Brown - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Daniel Cash - Lecturer in Law

Caroline Coles - Senior Lecturer in Law and International Convenor

Professor Simon Cooper - Professor in Law

Robert Goddard - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Edina Harbinja - Senior Lecturer in Media/Privacy Law

Claire Howell - Reader in Law

Odette Hutchinson - Reader in Legal Education 

Kris Lines - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Joy Malala - Lecturer in Commercial Law

Abhilash Nair - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Iyare Otabor-Olubor - Lecturer in Commercial Law

Dr Gayatri Patel - Senior Lecturer in Law

Rhonson Salim - Lecturer in Law

Dr David Salmons - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Adam Shaw-Mellors - Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Kristie Thomas - Deputy Head of School

Christopher Umfreville - Senior Lecturer in Law

Stuart Weinstein - Reader in Law