UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Laws is rated top law school for research excellence in the UK in REF 2021

12 May 2022

UCL Laws is ranked first in the UK for research quality in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021)

The main headline reads: "No. 1 in the UK for research excellence". The subheading reads: "Where research transforms lives". The top banner reads "UCL Faculty of Laws", with the UCL logo on the right.

UCL Faculty of Laws has been rated the top law school in the UK for research quality in the 2021 REF (a seven-yearly government-led assessment of the quality of research in universities). 

UCL Laws’ top rating – out of 69 law schools in the UK submitted to the REF – reflects a consistently excellent performance across all three measures of REF assessment: outputs (books, journal articles and so on), impact (how academic research leads to changes in the world beyond the academy), and research environment (how we foster and support research excellence in the Faculty). 

The REF assessment process involves a panel of expert assessors grading research from 1* (lowest) to 4* (highest), with 4* research recognised as world-leading. UCL Faculty of Laws was assessed as having the highest percentage overall of 4* results, across outputs, impact, and environment. It has the top Grade Point Average (a GPA of 3.62; where GPA measures the percentage of research activity at each REF quality level from 1* to 4*), and also the highest quality index (QI) of any law school in the UK. 

This exceptional set of results reflects the Faculty’s commitment to methodologically diverse and rigorous scholarship; intellectual innovation and originality; and transformative real-world impact beyond the university. The Faculty’s submission spanned public and private law, domestic and foreign, EU, and international and transnational law, with a striking array of agenda-setting research impacts, rooted in a strong social mission and justice values.

We are incredibly pleased that our high standards of research excellence, and the supportive and inclusive research environment which makes this possible, have been recognised in this way. We feel privileged to be part of a globally competitive legal academy in the UK, which sustains and inspires world-leading research. 

Dean of the Faculty of Laws, Professor Piet Eeckhout, said:
"I am so proud of this unparalleled achievement. Research is very much at the heart of why people choose an academic career, and that of course includes how research inspires teaching.  To see that our Faculty is the most excellent law department in the country, in terms of research, is incredibly rewarding for our whole community.  And this is not just one more ranking: REF is a very rigorous process, looking back over seven years of achievement, and focusing on intrinsic quality, a supportive environment, and on real impact.  I am truly humbled and grateful to be working with such absolutely outstanding colleagues.  And I am particularly grateful to those colleagues who contributed to putting together a REF submission that came out on top – led by Prof Eloise Scotford.  We will build on this success!"

Professor Eloise Scotford, REF Lead at UCL Laws, said:
"I am delighted with this result for UCL Laws, recognising the excellent quality of our research and the vibrant, dedicated research community that we are. UCL Laws is a precious institution where new knowledge is forged with rigour, intellectual imagination, and a keen sense of connection to the wider world. Our research infuses everything we do and it was a genuine pleasure to take stock of our stellar research in preparing our REF submission."  

The REF submission was led by REF Lead Professor Eloise Scotford, with support from Deputy REF Lead and Impact Lead Dr Megan Donaldson, and Co-Impact Lead Professor Steven Vaughan, as well as the UCL Laws Research Office team Anna Schuele and Tatjana Wingender.


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