The Oxford Law Faculty is home to the largest group of postgraduate law research students in the common law world. On the 2nd and 3rd May, 2011 over 40 first year law research students presented papers about their research at the Fifth Annual Graduate Legal Research Conference in the MBI Al Jaber Auditorium at Corpus Christi College. This two-day event is an important and exciting part of the Oxford legal research students’ calendar and is a vibrant forum for focusing on issues in legal methodology and scholarship.
The conference was opened by the Dean, Professor Timothy Endicott, and closed with a keynote lecture by Professor Jane Stapleton (University of Texas and ANU) on ‘Defining and Refining Yourself as a Legal Scholar’. The student papers, by Master of Philosophy, Master of Studies and Doctor of Philosophy candidates, grappled with issues in legal research methodology in areas relating to legal philosophy, corporate law, international law, human rights law, legal history, private law, and public law. The sessions were predominantly chaired by DPhil students in their second and third years, and the discussion was lively. Challenges of comparative legal research were raised by many of the participants, whose backgrounds and interests are global. Panels of academics led a series of wonderful sessions at the conference on academic careers, submitting to journals, and ‘to teach or not to teach?’. Richard Hart (Managing Director, Hart Publishing) gave a superb presentation on ‘Getting Your Book Published: 10 Things Every Graduate Student Should Know’. The lunches, coffee breaks, and conference dinner also provided a great opportunity for students to further discuss their work.