Empirical Legal Research at UCL Laws

Consultation Questions

Responses to these questions are sought by 30 June 2004.

We DO NOT expect all respondents to answer all the questions; partial responses will be equally welcome. So too will comments and observations that fall outside the precise scope of the consultation questions.

We shall assume that responses can be quoted either fully or in part unless they are marked ‘confidential’.

We would be grateful if respondents gave their name and contact details so that, if necessary, we can follow up issues with them.

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Q1. What do you regard as the key factors explaining the relative paucity of empirical research in civil justice?
Q2. What do you regard as the key factors explaining the relative wealth of empirical research in criminal justice?
Q3. Is it easier to integrate criminal justice rather than civil justice research centres within Law Schools and social science faculties, and if so why?
Q4. What lessons can be learned for the development of empirical research in the civil justice area from the history of empirical research in criminal justice?
Q5. To what extent do you think that Government investment has been an important factor in the historical development of empirical criminal justice research?
Q6. Are there factors relating to the requirements of funding bodies, their schemes or their programmes that deter empirical researchers interested in civil law from applying or from succeeding with applications?
Q7. Are the explanations for this low application rate to be found in an interest or skills shortage among lawyers and social scientists, or are there factors built into the criteria for funding, or the shape of funding schemes and programmes that deter such applications?
Q8. Is there more that could and should be done by the funders of research to promote empirical research in the civil justice field?
Q9. Are there other sources of funding empirical research that have not been identified above?
Q10. Who should be funding empirical research into civil law subjects?
Q11. Do consultees think that the relative lack of official data about the operation of the civil justice system acts as a deterrent to the undertaking of empirical research in this area?
Q12. How important do you think the building of critical mass in research centres is to the success of empirical research in civil justice?
Q13. If your answer to the preceding question is positive, what size research groups do you think are optimal?
Q14. To what extent do policymakers in your field of research interest encourage and commission empirical research?
Q15. To what extent are policymakers in your field interested in engaging with the results of empirical research, whether or not they have commissioned work?
Q16. Are there measures that need to be taken both by researchers and policymakers to increase dialogue and enhance the impact of empirical legal research?
Q17. Do you agree that these factors represent incentives for both lawyers and social scientists engaging in empirical research in law?
Q18. If so, which do you regard as the most significant incentives?
Q19. Are there other incentives that should be taken into account?

What measures could you suggest to increase the incentives for scholars to engage in empirical research in law?

Q21. Have structural changes in universities led to improved collaboration between law and other social science areas?
Q22. Is there a lack of interest in the investigation of issues relating to justice and society among young legal academics?
Q23. How can the recruitment of new empirical legal researchers be made more attractive?
Q24. What should be the relationship between university pay scales and other employers of potential researchers?

What is needed by way of training for new empirical researchers wishing to enter the field?

Q26. Where should it be provided?
Q27. How can it be funded?
Q28. Can such training be offered collaboratively?
Q29. Could graduate schools be the focus of research training/staff development to enable new researchers to develop the necessary skills?

Should law schools be as dominated by the demands of the taught curriculum as they currently appear to be?

Q31. Could the organisation of teaching programmes provide more time for staff to carry out empirical research?
Q32. Are there lessons that law schools could learn from other disciplinary areas (e.g. engineering, medicine) where there are pressures to teach an extensive professionally determined syllabus while at the same time carrying out cutting edge research?
Q33. Are there ways in which law schools can cost-effectively include socio-legal researchers in their staff complements?
Q34. Are other institutional arrangements required (e.g. the creation of graduate schools) to enable interdisciplinary work to be taken forward?
Q35. Is there a lack of engagement with the law as part of sociology or other social science training?
Q36. Does lack of fluency in legal issues present a serious problem for sociologists interested in research on law?
Q37. Does the ESRC stress on research skills for graduate social scientists hamper attempts to branch out and develop new skills, such as legal skills?
Q38. Is there a need for positive incentives to encourage students in social science to cross disciplinary boundaries?
Q39. Has the demise of joint Law and Sociology degrees (e.g. Warwick) had an impact on the development of interdisciplinary research interest?
Q40. Is there an intellectual ‘animosity’ between lawyers and other social scientists that inhibits interdisciplinary activity?
Q41. What are the key factors inhibiting social scientists from engaging in empirical research on legal subjects?
Q42. What measures could be taken to overcome such problems and to encourage social scientists to work either alone or collaboratively on empirical research in law?
Q43. Do consultees agree that the capacity of the HEFCE (and other HE Funding Councils) to address the specific issues raised in this CD is limited?
Q44. Should the Funding Councils be more directive?
Q45. Do consultees agree that a particular effect of the RAE has been to deter researchers from undertaking empirical research into law and legal process?
Q46. If so, are there measures that can be taken to address the issue?
Q47. Do you agree that the barriers and disincentives suggested in this Chapter act as a constraint on both lawyers and social scientists engaging in empirical research in law?
Q48. If so, which do you regard as the most significant constraints?
Q49. Are there other barriers and disincentives that should be considered?
Q50. What measures could you suggest to overcome these barriers and disincentives?

Are there concerns about capacity to conduct empirical research in law in your country?

Q52. If so, what is the nature of the problem and what do you consider to be the contributing factors.
Q53. If, on the other hand, there are no such concerns about capacity, can you suggest why the situation in your country might be different from that in the UK?
Q54. Are there any lessons from the experience in your country that you think would be particularly important to consider in the UK context?
Any other comments
Can we quote your answers in our final report
Can we use your name to support a quote


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