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UoA 20 Law

With a GPA of 3.20 and ranked 13th in the UK, we have significant strength in our law research and its intellectual and policy impact. Researchers have tackled major topics including the regulation of new technology and legal recognition of unpaid careers. A distinctive feature of this unit is that 80% of our research has been deemed ‘outstanding’ for its impact in terms of its reach and significance.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 36.0% 48.0% 16.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Outputs 22.4% 55.2% 22.4% 0.0% 0.0%
Impact 80.0% 20.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Environment 37.5% 50.0% 12.5% 0.0% 0.0%
About the REF

Cardiff Law School engages in doctrinal, empirical, theoretical and contextual legal research. Our interdisciplinary and collaborative work has fostered international links and provided a rich source of research income. Strength in all areas is reflected in the quality of research output and impact.

Cardiff Law School has long enjoyed a strong reputation for socio-legal research. The Journal of Law and Society, which was founded in the School some forty years ago continues to be based at the School. Pre-eminence as a UK location for socio-legal research has been further strengthened by ESRC recognition for doctoral training through participation in the Wales Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) via a unique pathway in Socio-Legal Studies (Empirical Studies in Law).

Our research profits from close proximity to devolved institutions of government in Wales (for example, the Wales Governance Centre has a partnership agreement with the National Assembly for Wales) and close and strengthening connections to the Politics discipline based heavily on its distinctive interdisciplinary profile. In 2012 the European Commission recognised the Centre for European Law and Governance as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence).

Our collaborative relationships with government, policy makers, industry, commerce and other users reflect and enhance the impact of our research on society and governance.

Researchers secured external funding to the value of £4.2m between 2008 and 2013.  Major projects included:

  • BRASS - the Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (ESRC)
  • Law, Science and Interests in European Policy-Making (ERC)
  • Citizenship After the Nation State (European Science Foundation/ESRC)
  • Attitudes to the Law of Inheritance (Nuffield Foundation)
  • Making sense of youth justice: a comparative study of Italy and Wales (AHRC) 
  • the UK's Changing Union (Joseph Rowntree/Nuffield Trust).

Case studies

Church stained glass

A legal framework to unite a faith

Solving the conundrum of greater cooperation and house rules within the church.

Centres and groups

Centres provide an important vehicle for the School's research and impact activity.

Centre for European Law and GovernanceResearch on European governance, as well as on the impact of European policies at the international, national, regional and local level.
Centre for Human Rights and Public LawPromotes teaching and research in human rights and public law.
Centre for Law and ReligionPromotes research in the theory and practice of substantive law concerning religion, the focus being principally upon religious law and national and international law affecting religion.
Wales Governance CentreUndertakes innovative research into all aspects of the law, politics, government and political economy of Wales and the wider UK, and European contexts of territorial governance.
Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen)Investigates the economic and social factors that shape natural knowledge in genomics and other life sciences.
Centre for Health and Social Care LawPromotes research in the fields of Health and Social Care law, with particular focus on mental health and social care.
Centre for Crime, Law and Justice (CCLJ)Establishes research and policy links at a local, national and international level. Members work closely with the Welsh Government, local authorities and charities as well as engaging with both national Government and a number of European agencies.
Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability Sustainability and Society (BRASS)Established in 2001, BRASS was an ESRC-funded interdisciplinary research centre combining expertise from Cardiff University's Business School, Law School, and School of Geography and Planning.
Sustainable Places University Research InstituteA meeting place for world-leading sustainability science, focussed on exploring innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.

Outside these Centres, colleagues in Cardiff Law School have produced excellent research in family law and social theory, while our research capacity in feminist legal studies is growing. Family law research involves participation in the Network on Family, Regulation and Society with colleagues at Bath, Bristol and Exeter, which is supported by Leverhulme International Network grant.

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1 King's College London 3.44
2 London School of Economics and Political Science 3.40
3 University of Durham 3.34

10 University of Oxford 3.23
10 University of Warwick 3.23
10 University of Sheffield 3.23
13 Cardiff University 3.20
14 University of Edinburgh 3.18
15 Queen's University of Belfast 3.17
15 University of Nottingham 3.17

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