UCL Faculty of Laws


REF 2021 impact case studies

UCL Laws is rated the top law school for research quality in the UK (REF 2021).

The UK government conducts a periodic quality exercise of research in universities known as the Research Excellence Framework (the ‘REF’). For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Key highlights

  • Out of 69 law faculties in the UK submitted to the 2021 REF, UCL Laws has been rated as the leading institution in the UK for research quality
  • UCL Laws’ 2021 REF results reflect a consistently excellent performance across all three measures of REF assessment: outputs, impact and research environment
  • The faculty has the top GPA (3.62), the highest number of overall 4* results, and the highest quality index (QI) in the UK
  • UCL Laws is ranked in the top five across all three measures (outputs, impact and research environment)

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. 

The following five impact case studies were submitted for assessment.

Image credits

  • Shaping the legal framework for Brexit - UCL - The Constitution Unit News
  • Developing global norms for improved resolution of cross-border insolvencies - istock / bCracker
  • Driving generational transformation of UK environmental law - © UCL Imagestore
  • Re-framing cultural, legal and public understandings of atrocities and their perpetrators - istock / Zeferli
  • Enabling COVID-19 contact tracing apps that protect privacy and reduce surveillance risk - Byronv2 via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)