Portrait of Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris

Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris

Professor of Law
KLS REF Impact lead


Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris SFHEA specialises in empirically grounded, theoretically informed, cross-disciplinary approaches to law; and to the economic life of law in particular. She has qualifications in law (LLB and LLM Southampton; PhD LSE), economics (PGCert Birkbeck), visual communication and graphic design (PGCert and MA London College of Communication). She blogs at Approaching Law, tweets @aperrykessaris and publishes videos on Vimeo.

Amanda joined Kent in 2013, having previously held posts at SOAS, Birkbeck and Queen Mary colleges in London, and the Universities of Dundee and Sussex.

Research interests

With the support of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Amanda is completing a monograph entitled Doing Sociolegal Research in Design Mode for publication by Routledge in 2020. This builds on her Sociolegal Model Making project, on her innovative approach to postgraduate research methods training (for which she was runner up for the Kent Social Science Faculty Teaching Prize), and on a number of smaller projects at intersection of law visual methods and culture such as the Pop-Up Museum of Legal Objects (2017), ‘What can graphic design reveal about law?’ (2014) and Thinking into | about practice

At the same time, Amanda is completing an SLSA-funded empirical study of the roles of law in island-wide economic life on the divided island of Cyprus. This project builds on a long-term interest in empirically-grounded, theoretically informed investigation of the economic life of law; and a more recent interest in visual communication as a facilitator of interdisciplinary work in that field. For example, in 2015 Amanda won the SLSA Article Prize for 'The Case for a Visualized Economic Sociology of Legal Development’, in which she explored the implications of approaching what is often termed 'law and development’ as 'econo-socio-legal development’; in particular using visual techniques. That work was influenced by collaborations with Diamond Ashiagbor, Prabha Kotiswaran and others to develop an Economic Sociology of Law (with financial support from the Journal of Law and Society, see Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (Wiley-Blackwell 2013); and underpinned by a British Academy Research Development Award-funded investigation into the impact of economic approaches (analytical, normative and empirical) on the field of law and development, especially the rise of legal indicators. Her earlier empirical research includes monograph-length studies of legal aspects of foreign investment in India and Sri Lanka: Global Business, Local Law 2008, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship and an SLSA Research Grant; and Legal systems as a determinant of foreign direct investment 2001; as well as research into environmental justice in Bangalore/Bengaluru (funded by the ESRC and Ford Foundation 1995).
Amanda also maintains an interest in quantitative research which began with her 2004 SLSA Article Prize winning piece ‘Finding and facing facts about legal systems and FDI in South Asia’, and most recently led her to train in data visualisation techniques.


Amanda teaches undergraduates in the filed of International Economic Law and postgraduates in Research Methodology


Amanda is happy to supervise research that takes sociologically, ethnographically and/or visually attuned approaches to law; especially to the economic life of law.





  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2020). Making sociolegal research more social by design: Anglo-German roots, rewards and risks. German Law Journal 21.
    In this moment of ‘social distancing’ the need for sociologically-informed approaches to understanding, responding to and shaping our changing world has never been clearer. This paper makes the case for a sociologically-informed approaches to legal design. It argues, firstly, that sociologically-informed approaches allow us to conceptualise legal design as a
    form of social relations, and that this opens the door to understanding the roles of legal design in social relations, and the potential of legal design to work for particular forms of social relations. Secondly, it argues that sociologically-informed approaches emphasise the social dimensions of doing legal design, focusing on one emergent field of legal design—that is, the application of designerly ways in a sociolegal research context.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2020). Doing Sociolegal Research in Design Mode. Routledge.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. and Perry, J. (2020). Enhancing Participatory Strategies With Designerly Ways for Sociolegal Impact: Lessons From Research Aimed at Making Hate Crime Visible. Social and Legal Studies [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3387479.
    This paper draws the attention of impact-curious sociolegal researchers to the potential of participatory research strategies; and proposes that the effectiveness of those strategies can be enhanced by the introduction of ‘designerly ways’. It explores and evidences this proposition through the multi-country Facing All the Facts project which aimed to support and accelerate the process of making hate crime conceptually and empirically visible in Europe. The paper concludes that by pursuing the designerly strategy of making experiences, perceptions and expectations around hate crime reporting and recording visible and tangible in artefacts (formal graphics and collaborative prototypes), the project activities generated structured-yet-free spaces in which publics/stakeholders could more effectively participate in practical, critical and imaginative discussion about how things are, and how they might be; and that this has improved the relevance and rigour of the research, and its ability to generate meaningful change (‘impact’).


  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2019). Legal design for practice, activism, policy and research. Journal of Law and Society [Online] 46:185-210. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12154.
    This paper offers an integrated introduction to how, conceptually, to think about what design
    can do for law; where, empirically, to find examples of legal design; and how, normatively, to
    assess it. It begins by highlighting three lawyerly concerns: the need to communicate; the
    need to balance structure and freedom; and the need to be at once practical, critical and
    imaginative. Next the paper highlights three features of designerly ways: a commitment to
    communication, an emphasis on experimentation, and an ability to make things visible and
    tangible. It is proposed that designerly ways can directly improve lawyerly communication;
    and that they can also generate new structured-yet-free spaces in which lawyers can be at
    once practical, critical and imaginative. The paper then provides examples of legal design in
    action across four fields of lawyering: legal practice, legal activism, policy-making and legal
    research. Emphasis is placed throughout on the need for a critical approach to legal
    design—that is, for legal design to be thought about and done with a commitment to
    avoiding, exposing and remedying biases and inequalities. In that spirit, the paper concludes
    with an assessment of some of the risks associated with legal design.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2018). The re-co-construction of legitimacy of/through the Doing Business indicators. International Journal of Law in Context [Online] 13:498-511. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1744552317000416.
    The present paper argues that the Doing Business indicators, their legitimacy (their ability to be defended through some logic or justification arising from standards) and the wider notions of legitimacy (the standards) that they promulgate are all best understood as social or, better still, ‘econosociolegal’ constructions. It tracks their, primarily post-financial crisis, re-co-construction within and beyond the World Bank from servant of the private sector and discipliner of states to something approaching social champion. But it warns that the perceptions of legitimacy that have been generated by those indicators may well linger.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2017). The pop-up museum of legal objects project: an experiment in "sociolegal design". Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Collecting value/valuing collecting. London Review of International Law [Online] 4:211-214. Available at: http://lril.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/lrw001? ijkey=SMEMjDwgTXpWWOQ&keytype=ref.
    A visual essay exploring the concept of value in the context of a special issue on value.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2015). Approaching the econo-socio-legal. Annual Review of Law & Social Science [Online] 11. Available at: http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/eprint/IKqAjGqrmIkmF2Dibxe4/full/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-120814-121542.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2014). The Case for a Visualized Economic Sociology of Legal Development. Current Legal Problems [Online] 67:169-198. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clp/cuu016.
    Legal development work suffers from a general lack of interdisciplinarity and from the associated dominance of economics. A more sociologically informed meta-framework, such as that offered by the emergent field of economic sociology of law (ESL), is required. But if it is to be robust, widely applicable and open to challenge, such an econo-socio-legal approach to development must be accessible across disciplines; and among academic, practitioner, and public audiences. The reach of such a new approach could be radically improved using graphic design techniques such as typography and information design.
  • Ashiagbor, D., Kotiswaran, P. and Perry-Kessaris, A. (2014). Introduction: Continuing Towards an Economic Sociology of Law. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 65:259-264.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2013). Anemos-ity, apatheia, enthousiasmos: An economic sociology of law and wind farm development in Cyprus. Journal of Law and Society 40:68-91.
  • Ashiagbor, D., Kotiswaran, P. and Perry-Kessaris, A. (2013). Introduction: Moving Towards an Economic Sociology of Law. Journal of Law and Society 40:1-6.
  • Cohen, E., Fandl, K., Perry-Kessaris, A. and Taylor, V. (2011). Truth and consequences in rule of law: Inferences, attribution and evaluation. Hague Journal on the Rule of Law [Online] 3:102-129. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1757977.
    Billions of dollars is spent on legal development every year, but its effectiveness continues to be questioned. Many donors have responded to this internal and external critique by developing monitoring and evaluating systems. This article problematizes the tendency of conventional modes of evaluation to assume a link between the outcomes of individual projects (the ‘truth’ of rule of law) and the fulfillment of overarching program goals (the ‘consequences’). We argue that examining this assumed link is of particular importance as rule of law projects take place within a host of simultaneous political and social changes; are time consuming and unpredictable and have multiple and sometimes conflicting objectives. Our analysis of four recent rule of law projects from Asia, Africa and Latin America exposes the inability of conventional evaluations to accommodate such complexities. We demonstrate how, by contrast, robust empirical research reveals important truths about the disparity between the actual, intended and unintended consequences of legal development projects.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2011). Prepare your indicators: Economics imperialism on the shores of law and development. International Journal of Law in Context 7:401-421.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2011). Reading the story of law and embeddedness through a community lens: A Polanyi-meets-Cotterrell economic sociology of law. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 62:401-413.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2008). Recycle, Reduce and Reflect: Information Overload and Knowledge Deficit in the Field of Foreign Investment and the Law. Journal of Law and Society 35:67-75.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2004). Use, Abuse and Avoidance: Foreign Investors and the Legal System in Bangalore. Asia Pacific Law Review 12:161-189.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2003). Finding and Facing Facts about Legal Systems and FDI in South Asia. Legal Studies 23:649-689.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2002). Multinational Enterprises, International Economic Organisations and Convergence among Legal Systems. Non-state Actors and International Law 2:22-39.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2002). The Relationship between Legal Systems and Economic Development: Integrating Economic and Cultural Approaches. Journal of Law and Society 29:282-307.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2000). An Ideal Legal System for Attracting Foreign Direct Investment? Some Theory and Reality. American University International Law Review 15:1627-1657.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2000). Effective Legal Systems and Foreign Direct Investment: In Search of the Evidence. International Comparative Law Quarterly 49:779-799.

Book section

  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Discovering the econo-socio-legal through a communal lens. In: Schiff, D. and Nobel, R. eds. Law, Society and Community: Socio-Legal Essays in Honour of Roger Cotterrell. Surry: Ashgate, pp. 147-152.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2010). Corporate Liability for Environmental Harm. In: Fitzmaurice, M., Ong, D. and Merkouris, P. eds. Research Handbook on International Environmental Law. Cheltenham: Edwad Elgar.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2009). Enriching the World Bank’s Vision of National Legal Systems and Foreign Direct Investment. In: Bergling, P., Ederlof, J. and Taylor, V. eds. Rule of Law Promotion: Global Perspectives, Local Applications. Uppsala: Iustus Forlag.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2007). Gateways to Environmental Justice in India’s Garden City: Local Solutions to Global Challenges. In: Harding, A. ed. Access to Environmental Justice: A Comparative Study. The Netherlands: Brill.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2003). Law and Development: Facing Complexity in the 21st Century. In: Hatchard, J. and Perry-Kessaris, A. eds. Law and Development in the 21st Century: Facing Complexity. London: Cavendish, pp. 27-36.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2000). Sustainable Gateways to Environmental Justice. In: Pugh, C. ed. Sustainable Cities in Developing Countries. London: Earthscan.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (1999). International Economic Organisations and The Modern Law and Development Movement. In: Seidman, A., Seidman, R. and Walde, T. eds. Making Development Work: Legislative Reform for Institutional Transformation and Good Governance. Boston: Kluwer Law International.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (1998). Law and Urban Change in an Indian City. In: Fernandes, E. and Varley, A. eds. Illegal Cities: Law and Urban Change in Developing Countries. London: Zed Book.


  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Law and Development In Transnational Perspective, With Sociological Imagination and Experimental Attitude. Working Paper. Oxford University Press. Available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3469605.


  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2008). Global Business, Local Law: The Indian Legal System As a Communal Resource in Foreign Investment Relations. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2001). Legal Systems As a Determinant of FDI, Lessons from Sri Lanka. Vol. 13. Boston: Kluwer Law International.

Show / exhibition

  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2014). ’What can graphic design reveal about law?’. [Video]. Available at: http://econosociolegal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/what-can-graphic-design-reveal-about.html.
    An online show of 14 designs each expressing a perception or expectation of law, using just the word itself. The intention was to provoke and facilitate conversation - about law, about design, about law and design - within academia and beyond. Promoted via Twitter @aperrykessaris #apkLAWdesigns

Visual media

  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2017). Sociolegal Model Making 6: Placeholding. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/album/4228144/video/199899293.
    This is the sixth in a series of experiments (see the first, second, third, fourth and fifth) investigating how modelling can be used in econosociolegal research processes. For further detail see wp.me/p7a9DX-oT.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). STANDARD. [Video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/154506983.
    A commentary inspired by close examination of an object: Sliding Caliper DU_124 (part of the David Usborne Collection at University of the Arts London (UAL) Archives and Special Collections).
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Sociolegal Model Making 1: Decision. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/174647035.
    The first in a series of films demonstrating the potential of model making as a tool for thinking about complex sociolegal projects and ideas. For more on this project see econosociolegal.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/model-making-for-sociolegal-research-part-1/
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Sociolegal Model Making 2: Analysis. [online film]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/185491441.
    The second in a series of films demonstrating the potential of model making as a tool for thinking about complex sociolegal projects and ideas. For more on this project see econosociolegal.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/sociolegal-model-making-2-analysis/
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Sociolegal Model Making 3: Conceptualisation. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/185963121.
    This is the third in a series of experiments investigating how 3D modelling can be used in econosociolegal research processes. For more information see econosociolegal.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/sociolegal-model-making-3-conceptualisation/
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Sociolegal Model Making 4: Discussion. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/album/4228144/video/186490384.
    This is the fourth in a series of experiments investigating how modelling can be used in econosociolegal research processes. For further information see:
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2016). Sociolegal Model Making 5: Material Metaphorization. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/album/4228144/video/189612313.
    This is the fifth in a series of experiments investigating how modelling can be used in econosociolegal research processes. For further information see: econosociolegal.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/sociolegal-model-making-5-material-metaphorization/
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. and Renmei, A. (2016). Materials-Based Gaze: An Interview With Zoe Laughlin. [Online video]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/190913526.
    An interview with Zoe Laughlin, co-founder/director of the Institute of Making, exploring the potential of materials to 'fire imagination' and 'advance conceptualisation'. For more information see econosociolegal.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/exploring-the-potential-of-materials-to-fire-imagination-and-advance-conceptualisation/


  • Perry-Kessaris, A. and Lee, S. (2015). Excited but nervous. [audio]. Available at: https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D8924055_06127585_6592595.
    A combination of Sam Lee’s spontaneous live performance of his song 'Goodbye My Darling' with multi-lingual versions of the phrase ‘I’m excited to move to the city, but nervous because I don’t know anyone’. Created as part of EXCHANGE, a project investigating exchange and the city.

Edited book

  • Alessandrini, D., Perry-Kessaris, A., Eslava, L. and Bedford, K. (2020). Law and Development: A Connected Approach. Alessandrini, D., Perry-Kessaris, A., Eslava, L. and Bedford, K. eds. Bloomsbury.
  • Ashiagbor, D. (2013). Towards an Economic Sociology of Law. Ashiagbor, D., Kotiswaran, P. and Perry-Kessaris, A. eds. Wiley.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2012). Socio-Legal Approaches to International Economic Law: Text, Context, Subtext. Perry-Kessaris, A. ed. London: Routledge.
  • Perry-Kessaris, A. (2009). Law in Pursuit of Development: Principles into Practice?. Perry-Kessaris, A. ed. London: Routledge, Cavendish.
  • Hatchard, J. and Perry-Kessaris, A. eds. (2003). Law and Development in the 21st Century: Facing Complexity in the 21st Century. London: Routledge:Cavendish.

Internet publication

  • Perry-Kessaris, A. and Perry, J. (2019). Participatory and Designerly Strategies for Sociolegal Research Impact: Lessons from Research Aimed at Making Hate Crime Visible [online publication]. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3387479.
    This paper draws the attention of impact-curious sociolegal researchers to the potential of participatory research strategies both to improve the relevance and rigour of research, and to generate meaningful sociolegal change; and it proposes that participatory strategies can be enhanced by the introduction of knowledge, attitudes and skills from design research, in particular the ‘designerly way’ of ‘making things visible and tangible’. It explores and evidences these claims through the example of a ground-breaking multi-country study, Facing All the Facts, which was conducted on behalf of a diverse partnership of public authorities and civil society organisations to answer a pressing policy question: How can we understand the national implementation of international standards around hate crime reporting and recording, and influence civil society organisations and public authorities to see themselves as part of a victim-centred system, so that hate crime begins to become more visible in Europe?
    The paper first introduces the theoretical and policy-related rationale underpinning the traditional (desk-based analysis, interviews), participatory (consultation, workshops) and designerly (making things visible in artefacts and processes) components of the Facing All the Facts project methodology; then details its implementation and evaluates its effectiveness from the perspectives of both the researchers and the participant publics/stakeholders. It concludes that it by combining traditional, participatory and designerly strategies the productive involvement of disparate publics/stakeholders in the research process can be secured; and that this can improve the chances of generating meaningful change (‘impact’) by generating structured-yet-free spaces in which attention focuses—in practical, critical and imaginative ways—on the intersections between the actual and the potential.
Last updated