Centre for Law, Environment and Rights CLEAR

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    United Kingdom

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The Law School made a submission to the REF 2021 for the first time under a new Unit of Assessment (UoA), namely UoA18 – Law, separately from the three other departments in HBS, which together submitted under another Unit of Assessment, namely UoA 17. Recognised as a singular discipline with particular needs, the REF Environment Statement included the launch of a new Law Research Centre that would strengthen both HBS and the Law School’s research profile. This was deemed essential to support growth in the volume and quality of research outputs and to increase knowledge exchange and generate research income. This proposal is a fulfilment of that promise. 

 

While the Law School itself is one of the four departments of HBS, Law has its own specificities, both in terms of content and in terms of research methods. It relies mainly on qualitative research methods that focus on the interpretation of rules and application of conceptual frameworks in order to resolve complex and/or emerging issues pertinent to law, broadly speaking. Law therefore is a discipline calling for a set of skills that are distinct to those of other disciplines, although it does interact with wider fields such as sociology, criminology, politics, governance, and business. Generally categorised as falling within the social sciences, Law’s broad coverage allows for the making of cross-disciplinary linkages with such disciplines. This is reflected in the expertise of current academics working in this field who are integrating into their research the tenets of those disciplines from legal perspectives.  

 

There are three main Research & Enterprise objectives for the new Law Research Centre, as set out in the REF Environment Statement. These are summarised as:

  • To increase international recognition via the volume and quality of research outputs
  • To increase research and knowledge exchange income
  • To become a focus for research into responsible leadership and business, productivity improvement, impact, and enterprise

 

These objectives are integrated and realised through the aims and objectives of the Centre listed below.  Accordingly, CLEAR will act as the primary facilitative mechanism for the Law School through which the next REF round projected for 2028 will be delivered.

 

The approach of the new Law Research Centre is one of research inclusivity, whereby all members of staff are encouraged to be involved in both singular and interdisciplinary quality research, thus aligning with the University’s Code of Practice.  By doing so, CLEAR will help realise a higher number of outputs, facilitating an approach that is more embedded in the discipline and offering a clearer organisation of activities that is demonstrable in its support for its staff.

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