On 12 and 13 April the Institute hosted this year’s British Association of Comparative Law (BACL) postgraduate research workshop on comparative law.

The workshop is designed for doctoral students writing a thesis in a field of comparative law or in a subject in which their research includes some comparative legal studies. The focus is on the benefits and methodological challenges of postgraduate research in comparative law, and gives the students the opportunity to present their own work and receive useful feedback from their peers, as well as from academics working in their field.

Plenary session presentations were first given by Dr Dorota Leczykiewicz (Oxford) on The challenges of comparing judicial reasoning styles, and by Ann-Christin Maak-Scherpe (Intersentia) on How to get published; but most of the workshop was spent in round-table discussion of the students’ own work, in sessions chaired by Dr Yseult Marique (University of Essex, and Treasurer of BACL) and Professor John Cartwright (Director of the Institute), and attended by other members of the Institute working in areas of comparative law related to the students’ presentations.

The students came from universities both in England and abroad, and were working on many diverse topics involving comparisons between a wide range of jurisdictions and using different comparative methodologies. The programme can be seen here. From a very large number of applicants, sixteen students were selected to take part in the workshop, and the discussions were grouped around four themes: general public law; private law (contractual autonomy: scope, limits and consequences); general comparative law (influences and transplants); and private law, legal techniques of protection and contextual background. The range of topics presented, and the lively discussion which followed the students’ presentations, demonstrated the strength of postgraduate comparative legal studies today.