Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008



By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 38 Law

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







The United Nations, the Cabinet Office and the European Parliament are just three of the organisations with reason to be thankful for the impressive research coming out of LSE's Department of Law, which has been rated the best in the UK. These three organisations, and other bodies around the world, have called on advisors from the department, which sets engagement with national and international policy-makers as one of its key objectives. Not only does this show the high esteem in which the Department of Law is held, it also helps create a distinctive research approach based on an understanding of how law and society are intertwined.

Other key components in the department's research culture are vibrant internal dialogue, inter-disciplinary study, active engagement with other academic communities and the fostering of research talent, especially for younger academics.

All these qualities are reflected in the Research Assessment Exercise 2008| in which the department has done exceptionally well, with 75 per cent of its research rated either world-class or of international renown. It is rated the best law department in the UK, both on grade point average and on proportion of 4* research.

Head of the department, Professor Hugh Collins, said: 'Our department plays a major role in policy debates and in the education of lawyers and law teachers around the world. We have a uniquely cosmopolitan student body and this has helped the department to influence deeply legal education in most common law countries. The RAE results are a welcome confirmation that we always aim at, and often reach, the very highest standards of research.'

Despite a diverse list of research interests, academics in the department have some research interests in common, particularly a firm commitment to interdisciplinary research, to the study of the context and politics of law, and to the development of distinct theoretical approaches. There are groups of scholars working on common themes, such as the politics of international law, governance and regulation, criminology, and constitutional thought.

Some of these common research interests have been formalised into research projects which bring together members of the department to work together in driving the research forward. There are currently four projects: the International Humanitarian Law Project, the Governance and Law of European Markets Project (GOLEM), the Law and Financial Markets Project and the Legal Biography Project. Research in the department, including the projects, is amplified through its Working Paper series which disseminates work to a wider academic and non-academic community. The department also has a close connection with the internationally influential journal, Modern Law Review. LSE members were prominent among its founders and continue to be closely involved.

The research publications submitted to the RAE 2008 ranged from The Nightmare and the Noble Dream, a prize-winning biography of legal philosopher HLA Hart by Professor Nicola Lacey, to an examination entitled Can Human Rights Survive? by Professor Conor Gearty and a detailed study  by Professor Christine Chinkin (with Alan Boyle) on The Making of International Law.

Other members of the department include Professor Emily Jackson, who is deputy chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Professor Christopher Greenwood who has now been elected a judge at the International Court of Justice, and Professor Ross Cranston, who was appointed to the judiciary in 2008.

See Definitions of Quality|4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.