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School of Law

Research Degrees: Law

Overview

The School of Law accepts students for research work leading to a PhD. The central feature of PhD work is the close relationship between the research student and his or her supervisor, in which they meet regularly and consult closely. This relationship is supported and strengthened in various ways. Every research student has an adjunct supervisor, another member of staff with a close interest in the student’s region and/or subfield of the discipline.

There is a research tutor with overall responsibility for research students who is available for a discussion of general problems. In addition there are a number of other activities which contribute to a research student’s work and training. All incoming students are required to take the School of Law’s Research Seminar Programme in their first year.

Research students are encouraged to contribute to the research activities of the department. Several of them are active in the various Centres run in the School of Law and are encouraged to participate in conferences and other projects organised by the School. New research students are often encouraged, and may be required, to present papers relating to their research on an annual basis for which they receive support and assistance from within the School of Law.

Many SOAS research students spend some time doing field work in the regions of their research. The School, and other members of SOAS, through their various connections with individuals and institutions in the universities and governments of Asia and Africa, facilitate this work with personal contacts and introductions. The School’s language training facilities are also available to students to develop their facility in an appropriate language for research purposes.

Applicants must normally have an advanced degree equivalent in level and content to the School of Law’s LLM or MA.

Some Recent Theses

  • Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi,  Gender Justice in Post-conflict Societies: An Assessment of Sierra Leone and Liberia (2013)
  • Abdulbari Altamni, Reservations to International Human Rights Treaties, with Special Reference to Muslim States' Practice of Reservations to the CEDAW: Analytical Study of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (2013)
  • Chifundo Kachale, Judicial (in)Activism in Malawi?: A Critical Analysis of the Impact of Constitutional Jurisprudence on Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law (2013)
  • Mahbubur Rahman, Sentencing Policies of Bangladesh: Implications for Practice (2013)
  • Benjamin Tahyar, Patrimonialism, Power and the Politics of  Judicial Reform in Post-Soeharto Indonesia: An Institutional Analysis  (2013)
  • Mansour Talebpour, Impunity and the International Criminal Court  (2013)
  • Sarah Elibiary, Islamic Jurisprudential Discourses on the Conduct of Hostilities: Embracing Pragmatism (2012).
  •  Anita Ferrara, Unexpected Consequences - The Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Historical Perspective (2012)
  • John Haskell, Political Theology – The Protestant Influence on the Development of Contemporary International Law and Governance (2012)
  • Casper August (Gus) Waschefort, Child Soldiers and International Law: Progressing Towards "An Era of Application"? (2012).
  • Yuelong Fan; Parallel-and-Multiple Enforcement of Arbitral Awards in a Globalised World: Issues and Reforms (2012)
  •  Jonathan George Ercanbrack; The Law of Islamic Finance in the United Kingdom (2012)
  • Maria Federica Moscati; Pasolini's Premonitions - Legal, Procedural and Social Dimensions of Same-Sex Unions and Same-Sex Disputes in Comparative Perspective (2012)
  • Victor Matthew Kattan; The Tyranny of the Majority - Partition and the Evolution of Self-Determination in International Law 1492-1994 (2012)
  • Peter Ntephe; Does Africa need Another Kind of Law? Alterity and the Rule of Law in Subsaharan Africa (2012)
  • Nesrine Badawi, Islamic Jurisprudence on the Regulation of armed Conflict: A Contextual Study (2011)
  •  Patricia Ng; Down and out and denied in London: appropriate and inappropriate dispute processes for homeless applicants (2010)
  • Russell Wilcox; Nature, law and historical transformation: A comparative study with particular reference to China and India (2010)
  • Agnes Bertrand; The role of the European Union in the resolution of the Israeli Palestinian issue: towards an involvement based on respect for International Law and Human Rights (2010)
  •  Elisa Nesossi; Criminal Justice, Human Rights, and Legal Reforms in Contemporary China: The Discourses and Practice of Pre-Trial Detention (2010)

Academic Staff and their Research

Details of the academic staff and their research.

Structure

All students are first registered as MPhil students. The first year is used to prepare a Research Plan that is in effect a draft of the first chapter of the thesis.
During their first year, students are required to attend the School of Law’s Postgraduate Research Training Seminar whose purpose is to introduce students to the principal practical and methodological problems associated with postgraduate legal studies leading to the award of a research degree in law. Further, the Postgraduate Research Training Seminar provides a forum to assist students in the tasks they have to accomplish in their first year towards the submission of their Research Plan, in particular writing their methodology paper and theory paper.
By the beginning of the third term, students will hand in a draft Research Plan that is an integrated document based on the methodology paper, research paper, draft dissertation abstract, draft table of contents, draft bibliography and working schedule. The process of upgrading - that is, upgrading the student’s registration from MPhil to PhD - takes place at the end of the first year of study (or part-time equivalent) and involves all members of the student's Supervisory Committee in the assessment of the student's work to date - specifically, the potential of the work to be developed into a PhD thesis of University of London standard. It is based on the Research Plan and a presentation of that plan to the Supervisory Committee. Students who are not upgraded in accordance with this process will not be eligible to proceed to submission of a PhD thesis, although they may proceed to submit for an MPhil at the end of two years of full-time registration or part-time equivalent.
After their first year, students must carefully plan their time so that they can finish their draft thesis well in time before the end of their third year of registration. The process followed by each student is guided by their research project. This may include a period of field research if required by the nature of project undertaken.

A Student's Perspective

I urge my prospective friends to inquire much about the School of Law and SOAS in general as I feel confident that they might find themselves here soon.

Emir Kaya