Our Research Students benefit immensely from a vibrant research community, a supportive environment and many opportunities to engage critically with academic research and contemporary issues. They are immersed in a research culture which situates legal studies in its historical, social and economic context.
The Law School has an active and supportive student community, with excellent dedicated postgraduate facilities. Students are usually allocated two supervisors, who give guidance about the nature of the research, the standard of work required, and about the relevant literature and sources that should be consulted. Students and supervisors meet monthly, ensuring consistent and continuous support during the length of the degree.
We welcome applications for research degrees in a wide range of areas. We recommend you contact the School informally before applying, and you should accompany your application with a brief (two to four-page) outline of the research project you envisage and your intended methodology. You may find it helpful to discuss your project informally with an appropriate member of staff (contact details on our website) or with the Director of Postgraduate Research.
About Kent Law School
Kent Law School (KLS) is the UK's leading critical law school. A cosmopolitan centre of world-class critical legal research, it offers a supportive and intellectually stimulating place to study postgraduate taught and research degrees.
In addition to learning the detail of the law, students at Kent are taught to think about the law with regard to its history, development and relationship with wider society. This approach allows students to fully understand the law. Our critical approach not only makes the study of law more interesting, it helps to develop crucial skills and abilities required for a career in legal practice.
You study within a close-knit, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment, working closely with academic staff. KLS uses critical research-led teaching throughout our programmes to ensure that you benefit from the Law School’s world-class research.
In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, Kent Law School was ranked 8th for research intensity in the Times Higher Education.
Employability is a key focus throughout the University and at Kent Law School you have the support of a dedicated Employability and Career Development Officer together with a broad choice of work placement opportunities, employability events and careers talks. Details of graduate internship schemes with NGOs, charities and other professional organisations are made available to postgraduate students via the School’s Employability Blog.
Law graduates have gone on to careers in finance, international commerce, government and law or have joined, or started, an NGO or charity.
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: of Kent graduate students who graduated in 2016, 98% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
Postgraduate students at Kent Law School have access to a postgraduate computing room, study area and common room with wireless internet access. The Law School has an active and inclusive extra-curricular academic and social scene, with weekly graduate seminars, a postgraduate student group for all students, and a regular guest lecture programme organised by our research centres (which include the Centre for Critical International Law, the Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, and the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law).
Award-winning Law Library
Our Law Library has long been a leader in the development of electronic resources for legal teaching and research. The extensive and up-to-date law collection in the University’s Templeman Library is particularly strong on electronic material, and the Electronic Law Library includes numerous legal databases, which are increasingly invaluable tools for research. In addition, you can access the text of thousands of law journals online. Our law librarian is available to train you to use these resources and runs regular legal research classes with postgraduate students.
We have a dedicated postgraduate office, offering support from application to graduation. Research students benefit from a research training programme in the first year. An academic staff member acts as postgraduate research co-ordinator and runs a weekly postgraduate study group, at which students present and discuss research. The Law School provides research students with an allowance for conferences and other research expenses, and an annual printing allowance.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Modern Law Review; Social & Legal Studies; The Canadian Journal of Law & Society; Legal Studies; Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or good second class honours degree in law or a relevant subject. A Master’s degree is recommended, but not essential.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Much of the School's research activity in criminal justice takes place in co-operation with the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research and under the auspices of the Kent Criminal Justice Centre. Established in 1996, the Centre co-ordinates and encourages research in the field of criminal justice, and develops teaching and education initiatives, especially in co-operation with local criminal justice agencies.
Critical Commercial Law and Business Law and Regulation
Kent Law School has established a rich tradition of critical scholarship on the legal regulation of the business practices and commercial relations of market economies. Our experts inform research-led teaching in such fields as consumer debt and bankruptcy, secured credit, intellectual property, International Financial Institutions, economic development, international trade and business transactions, commercial arbitration, international labour regulation, corporate governance, regulation of personal financial services, e-commerce, and the law relating to banking and information technology.
Our expertise in the area of obligations shares a commitment to challenging the apparently coherent and common-sense rules of contract and tort. We do this by identifying the conflicts in the world outside of the textbook that shape and destabilise the operation of these rules, and by revealing the ideological, political, and distributive biases that the rules of contract and tort help to perpetuate.
The Law School has long been established as a recognised centre of excellence in research and graduate teaching in environmental law, spanning international, EC and national law and policy. Current research interests include climate change, the aquatic environment, biodiversity conservation, regulation and enforcement, and trade.
European and Comparative Law
European and Comparative Law is being conducted both at an individual level as well as at the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law, which was established in 2004 with a view to providing a framework for the further development of the Law School’s research and teaching activities in this area. Research and teaching reaches from general areas of comparative and European public and private law to more specialised areas and specific projects.
Gender and Sexuality
Home to the Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, Kent Law School makes a significant contribution to the development of feminist perspectives on law, nationally and internationally. The Centre produces wide-ranging interdisciplinary work, drawing on a broad range of intellectual trajectories in addition to legal studies, including political theory, philosophy, sociology, political economy, cultural studies, geography, history, and drama. The Centre explores how sexuality is produced through political categories of difference and how it is governed. The research carried out by the Centre demonstrates a shared preoccupation with inequality and social change.
Governance and Regulation
Legal research involves studying processes of regulation and governance. This research cluster focuses on the character of regulation and governance to critically understand the different modes through which governing takes place such as the conditions, relations of power and effects of governance and regulation. Work within this area is methodologically diverse. Intellectually, it draws on a range of areas including socio-legal studies; Foucauldian perspectives on power and governmentality; Actor Network Theory; feminist political theory and political economy; postcolonial studies; continental political philosophy; and cultural and utopian studies.
Healthcare Law and Ethics
A number of Kent Law School (KLS) staff have interests in the area of Health Care Law and Ethics, focusing in particular on issues relating to human reproduction. Much of the research carried out by scholars in this area is critical and theoretical and has a strong interdisciplinary flavour. In addition to conducting their own research projects, staff have developed strong and fruitful collaborations with ethicists and medical professionals.
The starting point for research in international law at Kent Law School is that international law is not apolitical and that its political ideology reflects the interests of powerful states and transnational economic actors. In both research and teaching, staff situate international law in the context of histories of colonialism to analyse critically its development, doctrines and ramifications. Critical International Law at KLS engages with theories of political economy, international relations and gender and sexuality to contribute to scholarly and policy debates across the spectrum of international law, which includes public, economic, human rights, criminal and commercial law. Scholars at the Centre for Critical International Law engage in the practical application of international law through litigation, training, research and consultancies for international organisations, NGOs and states.
Law and Political Economy & Law and Development
Law and its relation to political economy are addressed from a variety of angles, including the exploration of the micro and macro level of economic regulations as well as theoretical aspects of law and political economy.
Legal Theories and Philosophy
Identifying the fact that several academics do work in cultural theory and political theory (including on normative concepts, religion and the state). While feminist and critical legal theories are focal points at Kent Law School, the departmental expertise also covers more essential aspects such as classical jurisprudence and the application of philosophy to law.
Kent Law School's property lawyers have a range of overlapping interests in both global and local property issues. Their work covers indigenous people’s rights, the environment, housing, community land, social enterprise, cultural heritage law and urban design, as well as the question of intellectual property. They have links with anthropologists working at the University and have run a very successful series of workshops exploring common interests. Their research draws on a multiplicity of theoretical perspectives including postcolonialism, feminism, and Foucault.
Other research areas within KLS include:
- human rights
- labour law
- law and culture
- law, science and technology
- legal methods and epistemology
- public law
- race, religion and the law.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Anneli Albi: Professor
Comparative constitutional law; EU constitutional law; EU enlargements; European Neighbourhood Policy.View Profile
Professor Donatella Alessandrini: Co Director of Postgraduate Research
International trade theory and practice; neoliberalism; international political economy; development studies.View Profile
Professor Yutaka Arai: Professor in Law
International humanitarian law (including part of international criminal law); the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law.View Profile
Dr Nicola Barker: Reader in Law
Marriage and civil partnerships; welfare; human rights.View Profile
Dr Kate Bedford: Reader
Gender, sexuality and international political economy; critical development studies; the World Bank; Latin America, heteronormativity and social policy; gambling regulation and economic regeneration, especially bingo; UK equalities law and policy.View Profile
Dr Ruth Cain: Senior Lecturer
Regulation and representation of reproduction and parenting, especially maternity, tracking relationships between law, literature, popular culture and the media, and how these shape perceptions of gender, sexuality and embodiment, health care law, including mental health law; the gendering of capitalism, neo-imperialism and post 9/11 trauma.View Profile
Professor Helen Carr: Director of Learning & Teaching
Housing law and social welfare, with particular interests in regulation of the poor and with the gendered and racialised dimensions of that regulation.View Profile
Donal Casey: Lecturer
Food governance and regulation; the issues of legitimacy and accountability.View Profile
Dr Emilie Cloatre: Senior Lecturer
The intersection between law and contemporary ‘science and society’ issues, for example patent law and access to health care, and the regulatory networks of climate change. This is particularly (although not exclusively) in the context of developing countries.View Profile
Professor Davina Cooper: Professor
Social and political theory; cultural geography; feminism and sexuality; governance and radical politics; Utopian studies.View Profile
Eleanor Curran: Senior Lecturer
Hobbes; rights theory and the history of rights theory; political theory; moral theory; jurisprudence.View Profile
Dr Karen Devine: Lecturer
The law of obligations; tortious legal issues, particularly those relating to the collection, storage and use of human tissue; decision-making in health care and the role of informed consent; medical law and ethics generally.View Profile
Lisa Dickson: Senior Lecturer
Forensic science and the law; evidence and the trial process; general areas of criminal justice.View Profile
Maria Drakopoulou: Reader
Feminist theory; feminist jurisprudence; legal theory and philosophy; legal history; Roman law; equity and trusts.View Profile
Professor John Fitzpatrick: Professor; Director of Kent Law Clinic
Human rights law; constitutional law; public legal services; legal process.View Profile
Iain Frame: Lecturer
Legal and economic history, monetary theory, and social and legal theory.View Profile
Dr Simone Glanert: Senior Lecturer
Comparative legal studies; legal translation; statutory interpretation; European law; French law and German law. Recent publications include: De la traductibilité du droit (2011); Comparative Law: Engaging Translation (ed, 2012).View Profile
Professor Emily Grabham: Co Director of Research and Postgraduate Research
Citizenship; belonging and corporeality; feminist and queer theories of embodiment; labour law; welfare reform and its connection to work/family policy.View Profile
Professor Nick Grief: Professor
Public international law, human rights and EU law, with particular reference to the legal status of nuclear weapons.View Profile
Dr Emily Haslam: Lecturer
Public international law; international criminal law; civil society.View Profile
Martin Hedemann-Robinson: Senior Lecturer
European Union and international environmental law, notably in relation to law enforcement.View Profile
Professor Didi Herman: Professor of Law
Gender and sexuality; race, religion and ethnicity; popular culture; social movement; law reform.View Profile
Dr Kirsty Horsey: Senior Lecturer
Human reproduction and genetics, particularly where these overlap with issues in family law; legal education.View Profile
Professor William Howarth: Professor
Environmental and ecological law, with particular emphasis on the legal protection of the aquatic environment and the ecosystems that it supports.View Profile
Dr Suhraiya Jivraj: Lecturer
Law and religion; equalities, anti-discrimination and human rights law; critical race/postcolonial studies; gender and sexuality; Muslim feminisms and Islamic law.View Profile
Per Laleng: Lecturer; Director of Mooting
Law of tort – focused on the concept of causation particularly in the context of industrial and other diseases. Other research interests include law and football, and law and photography.View Profile
Sian Lewis-Anthony: Senior Lecturer in Law and UCU Branch President
International human rights law, in particular, the right to a fair trial and the issue of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.View Profile
Professor Robin Mackenzie: Professor
Bioscience and law; body modification; constructions of addiction; death and the dying process; enhancement; feminist perspectives; genetics and other new technologies; neuroethics and law; neuroscience; propertisation and biovalue; psychoactive substances; public health governance; reprogenetics; strategic rhetoric in regulation; surrogacy; critical and cultural theory applied to all of the above.View Profile
Dr Alex Magaisa: Senior Lecturer
Financial services regulation, with special focus on international finance centres (offshore finance jurisdictions); the law relating to corporate groups, with special interest in responsibility for corporate torts; intellectual property and developing countries; general interest in the interaction between law and politics in Africa.View Profile
Dr Gbenga Oduntan: Senior Lecturer
Private and public international law; international courts and tribunals; arbitration; international commercial law; land and maritime boundary and territorial disputes; air and space law; international economic law; immigration and asylum law; constitutional law; criminal justice; scientific and technological issues in policing.View Profile
Connal Parsley: Lecturer
Jurisprudence; critical legal theory; political theory; public law; law and aesthetics; law and film; Australian Aboriginal legal issues; legal ethics.View Profile
Sebastian Payne: Lecturer
The Crown; constitutional reform; the royal prerogative; oversight issues relating to the intelligence and security services; decision making and its relation to law.View Profile
Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris: Professor
Law and development, including econo-socio-legal development; the role of legal indicators and legal systems in development; economic approaches to law and development.View Profile
Dr Stephen Pethick: Senior Lecturer
Jurisprudence, with emphasis on epistemology and metaphysics and the law; philosophy of language and the law; reasoning and the law; the concept of coherence and its use in legal theory and legal reasoning; the legal writings of Francis Bacon; the history of legal ideas from the early modern period onwards; analytic legal theory; legal history; the law of evidence.View Profile
Nick Piska: Lecturer
A critical engagement with private law, particularly in the area of equity and trusts, and a broader interest in the figure of the equitable subject and the ways in which equitable subjects are produced in modernity.View Profile
Professor Iain Ramsay: Co Director of Graduate Studies
Regulation of consumer markets at the national, regional and international level, with a particular interest in issues of credit and insolvency, commercial credit and commercial law, focusing on the role of credit law in development.View Profile
Sinead Ring: Lecturer
The legitimacy of the criminal trial, particularly the substantive implications of the criminal process’ professed commitment to the rule of law.View Profile
Professor Harm Schepel: Professor
Legal sociology; international and European economic law.View Profile
Professor Sally Sheldon: Professor
Medical ethics and law, particularly with reference to reproductive issues; legal regulation of gender and sexuality; fatherhood.View Profile
Dr Sophie Vigneron: Senior Lecturer
French public and private law; English tort law; art law; the Europeanisation of private law; cultural heritage law.View Profile
Professor Dermot Walsh: Professor
Policing and criminal justice; criminal procedure; human rights; European criminal law and procedure.View Profile
John Wightman: Senior Lecturer; Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Theory, history, and empirical work relating to private law, especially tort and contract.View Profile
Professor Toni Williams: Professor
Regulation and governance of economic development and market relations; regulation of consumer financial services; the implications of information technology for the regulation of consumer markets.View Profile
Dr Simone Wong: Senior Lecturer
Equity; banking and finance; cohabitation and other domestic relationships.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
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