The Faculty is thrilled to announce a large number of new research grants that have been awarded to our members. These awards show the huge variety of research that is carried out in the Faculty, and the large number of successes demonstrate the quality of what we're doing.


Shaping Future Directions in EU Labour Law

Jeremias Prassl, British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award

EU Labour Law is struggling to find new directions: as the financial crisis comes to an end, labour markets are failing to recover; at the same time, there seem to be few (if any) new policy models as to how these EU-wide problems could be tackled. My proposed engagement plans to provide a new impetus for policy makers, by bringing together senior EU officials from Brussels and Luxembourg with young labour law scholars from across the 28 Member States. Over the course of a year, each scholar will be assigned a senior mentor, in discussion with whom a particular policy proposal can be developed – thus providing early career academics with in-depth insights into the realities of policy making, and giving senior EU staff access to the latest research in their field. Ongoing work will be published in an online blog, and culminate in a 2-day conference including senior academics and social partner representatives in Oxford, to be held in January 2016.


Oxford Human Rights Hub

Sandy Fredman, Bertha Foundation

This grant will fund current and development activities as the Hub moves into the next phase, following the end of the Higher Studies Fund. It will support development activities include rolling-out knowledge exchange via webcasts, and working closely with the Bertha’s Be Just Fellow programme to extend the Hubs global reach. The funds also include costs towards the postdoctoral fellow, Laura Hilly, tasked with drawing all these activities together and managing the editors involved in the Hub’s work.


Innovative Media for Change – how journalists and academics can contribute to more effective transitional justice policy-making

Carolyn Hoyle and Julia Viebach, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) and its external partner, the Swiss NGO Fondation Hirondelle (FH) have developed a collaborative project, the innovative multi-media online platform JusticeInfo.Net. JusticeInfo.Net draws together the expertise of academics and journalists in the field of Transitional Justice (TJ) in order to more effectively inform TJ policy-making and practice. In doing so, it will combine real time journalistic coverage, policy advice and academic analysis of TJ processes on a global scale. JusticeInfo.Net will be a resource for the general public, local media, policy-makers and practitioners, helping them to engage with and tailor justice initiatives to meet both local needs and the constraints of political decision making.


Critics of the Ombudsmen system: understanding and engaging online citizen activists

Naomi Creutzfeldt and Chris Gill (Queen Margaret University), ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Two knowledge exchange workshops will be run under this grant; one with ombudsmen, and another with critics of the ombudsmen (ombudsman watchers).

The proposal was for a small-scale knowledge exchange project examining the activities, impact and significance of activist consumer groups who use the Internet and socialmedia to protest about the operation of ombudsman schemes in the United Kingdom (Creutzfeldt and Gill 2014).We call these online activist consumer groups ‘ombudsman watchers’. The project will help policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders of ombudsman schemes by exploring the drivers for this particular form of protest and the ways in which it can be better understood andmanaged to ensure the continued legitimacy of ombudsman schemes. The project developed out of Naomi’s current ESRC Future Research Leaders project on ‘impact and legitimacy of ombudsmen in Europe’ and aims to kick start further collaborative research on the consumer experience of ombudsman schemes, the impact of ombudsman watchers on consumer perceptions of the justice system and the perceived legitimacy of informal justice mechanisms.


Shareholder Coalitions Across Countries: A Force for Good or Evil?

Luca Enriques and Erica Gorga (Fundação Getulio Vargas São Paulo School of Law (FGV)), Newton Advanced Fellowship

In many countries, including Brazil and Italy, shareholders coalesce to jointly control listed companies. In others, like the U.S. and the UK, they group together to force change in a company’s strategy. Despite their relevance, such shareholder coalitions are little investigated. We aim to better understand their role in corporate governance. In addition to facilitating joint investment in companies, shareholder coalitions allow voting rights coordination, a stable, long term-oriented control structure and reciprocal monitoring. But they may also be used by large investors to jointly dominate the company and engage in minority shareholder and other stakeholders expropriation. By analyzing the way coalitions organize themselves and how the law regulates them in Brazil, Italy, the UK and the U.S., we aim to investigate which arrangements and legal rules can ensure that shareholder coalitions are a force for good. Given their diffusion in Brazil, the research can shed light on Brazil’s capitalism and provide recommendations on how to enhance its capital markets’ growth.

Luca will visit Brazil, Erica will visit Oxford, one academic and one practitioner workshop, both to be held in Brazil. They will collect documents on shareholder coalitions and use some as case studies.


Parliamentary conference

Murray Hunt, AHRC

A high-level, international conference will be held in summer/autumn 2015 on the Westminster parliamentary estate, bringing together cross-national, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary perspectives.


Future-proofing flats: overcoming barriers to energy improvements in private leasehold blocks

Sue Bright, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Current freehold/leasehold arrangements present a significant barrier to undertaking energy efficiency improvements in flats. The problem is seen as ‘too hard’, particularly in view of the legal complexities, and the residential leasehold sector has been neglected by policy makers. The roundtable will focus upon the legal barriers, and the problems of reaching consensus between freeholders and leaseholders in relation to energy efficiency improvements (eg, windows, insulation and heating systems). This roundtable will bring together experts from different disciplinary backgrounds in order to obtain evidence of experienced problems and to  develop a co-designed (and co-produced) research project which can provide an evidence base for policy recommendations.


Visiting academic

Luca Enriques and Dan Awrey, Astor Visiting Lectureship

Professor Jesse Fried, the Dane Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute will visit in May 2015. He will give two public lectures, attend law and finance seminars and plan research projects.


Visiting professor

Andrew McLeod and Matt Walton (Politics), Astor Visiting Professorship

Professor David Steinberg will visit in April/May 2015. David Steinberg is one of the world’s leading Myanmar scholars and the most distinguished professor in the US actively working on Myanmar. His depth of scholarly expertise is complemented by regular country visits and he maintains close relations with Myanmar government personnel, opposition figures, foreign diplomats, academics, and others. For more than two decades he has remained actively engaged in both academic and policy fields, and he continues to organize conferences and write books and articles. His most recent major work, Myanmar: The Dynamics of an Evolving Polity, will be published in late 2014.

A visiting lectureship by David Steinberg will align with the strategic importance placed by the University on engagement with Myanmar. It will complement Oxford’s increased engagement with Myanmar and his visit will enhance the wide range of activities across several Divisions and Colleges that are currently underway in the country. Reflecting the multi-disciplinary significance of such a visit, this application is jointly sponsored by Matthew J Walton, the Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies, who leads the Programme in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antony’s College, and Andrew McLeod, Research Fellow within the Faculty of Law, who leads the Oxford—Myanmar Law Programme.


The new dynamics of international refugee law

Cathryn Costello and Michelle Foster (Melbourne Law School (MLS)), Oxford-MLS Research Partnership

This project aims to identify the new dynamics in international refugee law, by focusing on two developments found in UK and European asylum law and policy, and in Australia, which are liable to undermine refugee protection in different ways. The first development relates to measures to preclude access to asylum, the second measures to undermine the reliability of refugee status determination.


The future of contract law in Latin America

Rodrigo Momberg from the Institute of European and Comparative Law has been awarded a grant[linkme] from the Fell Fund to study and evaluate the process of harmonization of contract law in Latin America.


Fiction and Human Rights

Natasha Simonsen has secured funding for an interdisciplinary project[linkme] on 'Fiction and Human Rights'.


The Criminal Case Review Commission's response to wrongfully convicted asylum seekers

Mai Sato, a Research Officer from the Centre for Criminology, has been awarded a grant from the Fell Fund in order to continue her work as an early career researcher into the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) reviews possible miscarriages of justice. The award will run until June this year.


RightsUp Podcast series


The podcasting team at the Oxfor Human Rights Hub has won an AHRC-TORCH Graduate Fund Award to develop a new podcast series on comparative human rights law. ‘RightsUp’ – a new ‘magazine style’ podcast series set to launch in Trinity Term 2015 will take on some of the most topical and challenging questions of the day.  With interviews from human rights academics, practitioners and policy makers from around the globe, the team will investigate how human rights come up in these challenges and also the potential solutions.