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The Law School’s research addresses contemporary societal challenges with the aim of driving positive change. We are committed to supporting individuals to produce outstanding research in pursuit of their passions. We foster interdisciplinary and inclusive research, embracing a wide range of methodologies, including socio-legal, theoretical, doctrinal, comparative, feminist, historical, visual, empirical and critical approaches. Our research has considerable reach and external impact on national and international themes and reflects the university’s distinctive social justice mission and unique position as geographically situated across all four nations of the United Kingdom.

Our growing research community produces innovative research, notably in the areas of law and society, human rights, international law, gender and law, legal history, and law and humanities. Our ground-breaking research into legal education in an online environment is built on the foundation of The Open University’s world-leading reputation in online distance learning education.

The Law School is home to several research clusters, which provide structured communities for collaboration, facilitating engagement between researchers, both internal and external, including PhD students.

OU Law academics publish, broadcast and act as consultants on a wide range of legal themes including:

  • asylum law
  • civil marriage ceremonies
  • criminal law and procedure
  • criminal responsibility
  • critical legal theory
  • equity
  • ethics
  • European Union law
  • gender and the law
  • human rights
  • international courts and global governance
  • international law
  • law and neuroscience
  • law and religion
  • law, technology and blockchains
  • legal biography
  • legal education
  • legal history
  • legal theory
  • litigants in person
  • property law
  • space law and governance
  • sports law
  • trusts
  • UK delegated legislation
  • violence against women and the law

Research impact

Research at the Law School has real-world impact, with the majority of our research output aligning with the University’s wider mission of social justice. Find out more about our impact case studies and how we disseminate research to the public.

Research clusters

The Law School has established a number of research clusters in which these themes are explored. We attract active research staff of the highest calibre, encourage mentoring and development of colleagues’ research capabilities, and offer exciting research opportunities for full-time and part-time students who join our vibrant and growing Research Degrees Programme.

Open Justice Centre

The vision and strategy of the Open Justice Centre is to empower law students to deliver the social justice mission of the University by inculcating a commitment to public service. This is underpinned by pioneering cutting edge research that informs the curriculum and showcases technology enhanced experiential learning.

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Online Violence against Women Observatory (ObserV@W)

ObserV@W is the UK’s first Observatory on Online Violence Against Women. Their work explores interdisciplinary and intersectional perspectives in examining the global problem of online (and digital) forms of violence against women.

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Informal learning

We are also engaged in several informal learning activities to increase public understanding of law related issues and access to legal knowledge.