Charlotte Kelly

DPhil Socio-Legal Studies


I am a DPhil candidate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. My research, for which I receive a full scholarship from the ESRC and Balliol College, focuses on children's law in Singapore, and is supervised by Marina Kurkchiyan and Lucinda Ferguson.

My DPhil thesis is “How has law and regulation, both formal and informal, regulated key issues of female bodily autonomy in the transition from childhood to adulthood in Singapore from 1955 to 2018?”. I am interested in how legislation about the minimum age at which a female adolescent can engage in sexual activities and access abortion and contraception has changed from 1955 to 2018 and what factors have driven this. My work combines archival research, looking at the arguments made by politicians and legislators as the law changed, with interviews with politicians, lawyers and professionals involved with adolescent women in Singapore. I completed a period of fieldwork as a Visiting Researcher at the National University of Singapore in 2019, and I continue to conduct interviews virtually.

My broader research interests include reform in family law in England, with a particular focus on how it serves children at risk. I very much enjoy tutoring and lecturing in FHS Family Law option in Oxford, as well as marking exam scripts for other universities. I am interested in comparative child protection law, and bringing together academics and children’s rights practitioners, so I convene the Oxford Children’s Rights Network. 

Previous education/career experience: I completed my BA (Law) at Trinity College, Cambridge in 2014. In 2014-15, funded by the Hollond Fund Travelling Studentship, I studied at the National University of Singapore for my LLM (Asian Legal Studies). I concentrated there on socio-legal approaches to East and Southeast Asian law, and law and development. Between 2015-2018 I completed my MSt (Socio-Legal Studies) as part of my longer research project, where I explored through two case studies how legal, political and media discourse in Singapore had shaped and constructed the ‘image’ of the delinquent child. 



Research Interests

Child protection law

Intersectional and intercultural approaches to children's rights

Medico-legal studies, particularly protecting abortion and bodily autonomy rights

Sociology of children's leisure

Options taught