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Socio-legal Studies — Overview

Research on law in society is carried out at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. Together with the Professor, one University Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies and one University Lecturer in Law and Regulation, there are around ten post-doctoral fellows carrying out both empirical and theoretical research into the place and role of law in society. The approach is multi-disciplinary and the researchers come from a wide variety of scholary backgrounds. The research streams, forthcoming events, list of staff and publications can be found on the Centre's web-site.

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For more detailed information about our work in this area, see also the dedicated Centre for Socio-Legal Studies website

This theme contains two subjects, namely: Law in Society and Regulation


Law in Society

Courses

The courses we offer in this field are:

Postgraduate

BCL

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from common-law backgrounds

Law in Society

Law is not only a means for giving certainty and stability to private relationships and maintaining social order, but also an instrument for directing society and solving social issues. The operation of law in society raises important issues of both a theoretical and an empirical nature: how does law actually function in society and how can this be understood? The first part of the course introduces these issues and considers the social foundations of law. The second part extends the scope to the study of law in non-western environments and issues considered by anthropologists of law.

Scholarship concerning law and society takes two directions. The more theoretical asks questions about law as a social formation, how law fits into society, what function it has, and how it interrelates with other aspects of society. Empirical approaches ask how law works in practical situations by conducting in-depth research into specific areas. These include regulation, businesses practices and the use of official discretion and considers matters such as the relationship between law and social rules, how courts work in practiceand how administrative and regulatory bodies apply the law. These studies are the basis for observing more general patterns concerning the ways law works in society. The first part of the course brings together these two directions, showing how theoretical ideas inform empirical research and visa versa.

The second part asks how we are to understand the different systems of law found in other societies. On what grounds can we even define them as law? These questions are central for anthropologists of law but arise, in practical ways, for those concerned with the implementation of international law and development projects and the promotion of good governance and democracy around the world. How do our laws and legal practices conflict with, complement or undermine their practices and expectations? These issues are considered in the context of classic sociological theories and anthropological approaches to the study of diverse forms of law. Asking about the other also causes us to reflect on the parameters and cultural specificity of our own concepts of law and students will be encouraged to think constructively and critically about familiar legal phenomena and their universal application.

The course is convened by Professor Denis Galligan and Dr Fernanda Pirie of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. There are weekly seminars in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms.

Assessment is by a three hour written examination.

MJur

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from civil law backgrounds.

Law in Society

Law is not only a means for giving certainty and stability to private relationships and maintaining social order, but also an instrument for directing society and solving social issues. The operation of law in society raises important issues of both a theoretical and an empirical nature: how does law actually function in society and how can this be understood? The first part of the course introduces these issues and considers the social foundations of law. The second part extends the scope to the study of law in non-western environments and issues considered by anthropologists of law.

Scholarship concerning law and society takes two directions. The more theoretical asks questions about law as a social formation, how law fits into society, what function it has, and how it interrelates with other aspects of society. Empirical approaches ask how law works in practical situations by conducting in-depth research into specific areas. These include regulation, businesses practices and the use of official discretion and considers matters such as the relationship between law and social rules, how courts work in practiceand how administrative and regulatory bodies apply the law. These studies are the basis for observing more general patterns concerning the ways law works in society. The first part of the course brings together these two directions, showing how theoretical ideas inform empirical research and visa versa.

The second part asks how we are to understand the different systems of law found in other societies. On what grounds can we even define them as law? These questions are central for anthropologists of law but arise, in practical ways, for those concerned with the implementation of international law and development projects and the promotion of good governance and democracy around the world. How do our laws and legal practices conflict with, complement or undermine their practices and expectations? These issues are considered in the context of classic sociological theories and anthropological approaches to the study of diverse forms of law. Asking about the other also causes us to reflect on the parameters and cultural specificity of our own concepts of law and students will be encouraged to think constructively and critically about familiar legal phenomena and their universal application.

The course is convened by Professor Denis Galligan and Dr Fernanda Pirie of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. There are weekly seminars in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms.

Assessment is by a three hour written examination.



People

Socio-legal Studies teaching is organized by:

Denis Galligan: Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and

Fernanda Pirie: Associate Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

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Regulation

Discussion Groups

These self-sustaining groups are an essential part of the life of our graduate school. They are organised in some cases by graduate students and in others by Faculty members and meet regularly during term, typically over a sandwich lunch, when one of the group presents work in progress or introduces a discussion of a particular issue or new case. They may also encompass guest speakers from the faculty and beyond.

Regulation Discussion Group

Courses

The courses we offer in this field are:

Postgraduate

BCL

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from common-law backgrounds

Regulation

Regulation is at the core of how modern states seek to govern the activities of individual citizens as well as corporate and governmental actors. Broadly defined it includes the use of legal and non-legal techniques to manage social and economic risks. While regulation is traditionally associated with prescriptive law, public agencies and criminal as well as administrative sanctions, the politics of the shrinking state and deregulation have meant that intrusive and blunt forms of legal regulation have given way at times to facilitative, reflexive and procedural law which seeks to balance public and private interests in regulatory regimes. Policy debates have addressed whether there is actually too much, too little or the wrong type of regulation.

This course examines what role different forms of law play in contemporary regulatory regimes. It thereby analyses how legal regulation constructs specific relationships between law and society and how legal regulation is involved in mediating conflicts between private and public power. The first section of the course critically examines key conceptual approaches for understanding regulation. How can economic reasoning be employed in order to justify legal regulation? Does a focus on institutions help to understand the operation of regulatory regimes? What rationalities, and hence ‘governmentalities’ are involved in regulating through law? What role do emotions, such as trust, play in regulatory interactions? The second section of the course examines specific regulatory regimes against the background of the conceptual frameworks explored in the first section. This second section discusses ‘regulation in action’ in specific fields of current significance, such as: - the regulation of the legal profession, - the regulation of the carbon market in the EU - the regulation of the provision of health care in the UK - the regulation of education policy-making in the EU - the regulation of the internet - the regulation of housing The course thus provides an opportunity for students to examine the pervasive phenomenon of regulation with reference to different disciplinary perspectives, in particular law, sociology, politics and economics and to gain detailed knowledge of substantive regulatory law in specific fields of current relevance.

The course is taught through 15 two hour seminars - which provide opportunities for active student participation – over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Four tutorials spread over Hilary and Trinity terms will support students’ exam preparation. The 3 hour written examination at the end of the course involves essay questions.

The convenor of the course is Dr. Bettina Lange and the course is taught by a small group of Faculty members. If you have any questions about the contents, approach or teaching methods of this course do not hesitate to contact me: bettina.lange@csls.ox.ac.uk, Room 280, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Social Science Building, Manor Road.

MJur

Our taught postgraduate programme, designed to serve outstanding law students from civil law backgrounds.

Regulation

Regulation is at the core of how modern states seek to govern the activities of individual citizens as well as corporate and governmental actors. Broadly defined it includes the use of legal and non-legal techniques to manage social and economic risks. While regulation is traditionally associated with prescriptive law, public agencies and criminal as well as administrative sanctions, the politics of the shrinking state and deregulation have meant that intrusive and blunt forms of legal regulation have given way at times to facilitative, reflexive and procedural law which seeks to balance public and private interests in regulatory regimes. Policy debates have addressed whether there is actually too much, too little or the wrong type of regulation.

This course examines what role different forms of law play in contemporary regulatory regimes. It thereby analyses how legal regulation constructs specific relationships between law and society and how legal regulation is involved in mediating conflicts between private and public power. The first section of the course critically examines key conceptual approaches for understanding regulation. How can economic reasoning be employed in order to justify legal regulation? Does a focus on institutions help to understand the operation of regulatory regimes? What rationalities, and hence ‘governmentalities’ are involved in regulating through law? What role do emotions, such as trust, play in regulatory interactions? The second section of the course examines specific regulatory regimes against the background of the conceptual frameworks explored in the first section. This second section discusses ‘regulation in action’ in specific fields of current significance, such as: - the regulation of the legal profession, - the regulation of the carbon market in the EU - the regulation of the provision of health care in the UK - the regulation of education policy-making in the EU - the regulation of the internet - the regulation of housing The course thus provides an opportunity for students to examine the pervasive phenomenon of regulation with reference to different disciplinary perspectives, in particular law, sociology, politics and economics and to gain detailed knowledge of substantive regulatory law in specific fields of current relevance.

The course is taught through 15 two hour seminars - which provide opportunities for active student participation – over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Four tutorials spread over Hilary and Trinity terms will support students’ exam preparation. The 3 hour written examination at the end of the course involves essay questions.

The convenor of the course is Dr. Bettina Lange and the course is taught by a small group of Faculty members. If you have any questions about the contents, approach or teaching methods of this course do not hesitate to contact me: bettina.lange@csls.ox.ac.uk, Room 280, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Social Science Building, Manor Road.

MSc (Master's in Law and Finance)

Regulation

Regulation is at the core of how modern states seek to govern the activities of individual citizens as well as corporate and governmental actors. Broadly defined it includes the use of legal and non-legal techniques to manage social and economic risks. While regulation is traditionally associated with prescriptive law, public agencies and criminal as well as administrative sanctions, the politics of the shrinking state and deregulation have meant that intrusive and blunt forms of legal regulation have given way at times to facilitative, reflexive and procedural law which seeks to balance public and private interests in regulatory regimes. Policy debates have addressed whether there is actually too much, too little or the wrong type of regulation.

This course examines what role different forms of law play in contemporary regulatory regimes. It thereby analyses how legal regulation constructs specific relationships between law and society and how legal regulation is involved in mediating conflicts between private and public power. The first section of the course critically examines key conceptual approaches for understanding regulation. How can economic reasoning be employed in order to justify legal regulation? Does a focus on institutions help to understand the operation of regulatory regimes? What rationalities, and hence ‘governmentalities’ are involved in regulating through law? What role do emotions, such as trust, play in regulatory interactions? The second section of the course examines specific regulatory regimes against the background of the conceptual frameworks explored in the first section. This second section discusses ‘regulation in action’ in specific fields of current significance, such as: - the regulation of the legal profession, - the regulation of the carbon market in the EU - the regulation of the provision of health care in the UK - the regulation of education policy-making in the EU - the regulation of the internet - the regulation of housing The course thus provides an opportunity for students to examine the pervasive phenomenon of regulation with reference to different disciplinary perspectives, in particular law, sociology, politics and economics and to gain detailed knowledge of substantive regulatory law in specific fields of current relevance.

The course is taught through 15 two hour seminars - which provide opportunities for active student participation – over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Four tutorials spread over Hilary and Trinity terms will support students’ exam preparation. The 3 hour written examination at the end of the course involves essay questions.

The convenor of the course is Dr. Bettina Lange and the course is taught by a small group of Faculty members. If you have any questions about the contents, approach or teaching methods of this course do not hesitate to contact me: bettina.lange@csls.ox.ac.uk, Room 280, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Social Science Building, Manor Road.


People

Regulation teaching is organized by a Subject Group convened by:

Bettina Lange: Associate Professor of Law and Regulation

in conjunction with:

Susan Bright: Professor of Land Law, McGregor Fellow
Paul Craig: Professor of English Law
Anne Davies: Professor of Law and Public Policy
Liz Fisher: Reader in Environmental Law

Also working in this field, but not involved in its teaching programme:

Sebastian Castro Quiroz: DPhil Law student
Rachel Condry: Associate Professor of Criminology
Paul Davies: Allen & Overy Professor of Corporate Law
Ruth Deech: Chairman, Bar Standards Board, 2009-
Crossbench Peer
Olumide Famuyiwa: DPhil Law student
Keith Hawkins: Emeritus Professor of Law and Society
Elizabeth Howell: DPhil Law student
Friso Jansen: DPhil Socio-Legal Studies student
Jane Kaye: Director of the Centre for Law, Health and Emerging Technologies at Oxford: HeLEX
Petra Mahy: Research Fellow in Socio-Legal Studies
Doreen McBarnet: Professor of Socio-Legal Studies
Jennifer Payne: Professor of Corporate Finance Law
Wolf-Georg Ringe: Departmental Lecturer
Jacob Rowbottom: Associate Professor of Law
Javier Solana: DPhil Law student
John Vella: Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation
Wei Wang:

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