Research Ethics Review
The Laws Faculty has a Faculty Research Ethics Team (FRET). It is available to any Laws researcher, teacher or student who has any question at all about research ethics, who may be unsure whether their research needs formal ethical review or who would like any assistance in the process of ethical review. FRET reviews faculty research projects (including external grant proposals), student research projects that involve empirical research, and 1st year PhD students’ ethical statements on their research.
For guidance and advice on any issue involving research ethics you should, in the first instance, contact the Laws Research Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org The Laws Research Office will then ensure that FRET helps you with your query, and will support you in identifying whether any further information or documentation may be required.
If you want to conduct research involving any of the following, you should contact the Laws Research Office in the first instance:
- Interviews – formal and informal
- Questionnaires / surveys
- Accessing data sets
- Observing proceedings
- Accessing case files or transcripts
To find out if your research is currently exempt from formal review by the UCL Research Ethics Committee (REC) see the list of exemptions at:
If your research is not within these exemptions then the process for UCL REC review is laid out step-by-step here:
Even if your research qualifies as being exempt from UCL REC formal review, it must still be conducted in accordance with accepted ethics standards as well as the recognised professional codes of conduct suitable for your research specialism. Laws FRET can provide advice and guidance on any of these issues.
Members of the Faculty Research Ethics Team in 2019-20 are:
- Professor Eloise Scotford (Vice Dean (Research))
- Professor Colm O’Cinneide (Co-Chair and Lead for Faculty Research Committee)
- Dr Magda Raczynska (Co-Chair) (Term 2)
- Professor Cheryl Thomas
- Dr Rob George
- Phil Baker, Laws Research Officer
- Kim Duffy, Research Degrees Programme Administrator
- Tatjana Wingender, Laws Research Office Manager
Please Note: UCL will be adopting a new policy on research ethical review in 2020. When that happens, this webpage will be revised to reflect the new policy.
Exemption from approval by the UCL Research Ethics Committee does not mean that the research is also automatically exempt from registration with the UCL Data Protection Officer or from UCL Risk Assessment procedures. Any research activities which involve the processing of “personal data” (ie, data from which a living individual can be identified) will be subject to the UK Data Protection Laws, which is regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). All research using “personal data” must be registered with UCL Legal Services before the data is collected or the research is submitted for ethics review. To check if your research involves “personal data”, please see the Guidance provided by UCL Legal Services:
Information on risk assessment can be found here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/safety-services/a-z/risk-assessment . Please contact the Laws Research Office to check whether your research needs a formal Risk Assessment.
Should you ever have concerns about Academic Integrity of any kind, you can find guidance in the UCL Statement on Academic Integrity:
and you are strongly encouraged to raise any such matters with the Laws Faculty contacts on these matters: the Dean and the Deputy Dean/Vice Dean Staffing.