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Research clusters

Brain Science and Law (BraSciL)

Recent years have seen enormous advances in scientific understanding of the brain and behaviour. Academics within the Law School are examining the use and potential use of evidence from neuroscience and associated brain sciences within the justice system. They are collaborating with neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatrists to understand the reliability of scientific claims, and working with lawyers worldwide to understand how science is being used in different jurisdictions and to recommend best practice.

Feminism, Law and Gender (FLAG)

The focus of our research is on the intersections between feminism, gender and the law. Academics and PhD students within OU Law examine this complex relationship in relation to a number of areas, including gender, sexuality and criminal law, first women lawyers, online violence against women & online misogyny, international law & women’s rights in post-conflict situations, women in the legal profession, women, coercive control & criminal law, coercive control, prisons, gender identity and law, civil weddings and the cost of marrying.

Identities, Citizenship and Justice

The focus of our research informs questions around the themes of identity, citizenship, and justice. 

Law and Humanities

One of the founding principles of the Law and Humanities Research Cluster is to encourage researchers to consider the ways in which law and humanities intersect in a critical and creative way. We aim to attract, interact with and encourage researchers whose work can be considered to intersect with law and humanities, broadly defined. This may include, but is not limited to, law and literature, law and art, law and drama, law and performance, legal geography, legal history, law and religion, law and language, and law and culture.

Law and Religion

This cluster is particularly interested in interdisciplinary study – the synthesis of law and philosophy, theology, politics and history. It is run by a team of Open University and international academics researching in the field of Law and Religion. 

Legal Histories

This research cluster provides a collaborative space for academics, PhD students and visiting researchers interested in legal histories.

Space Exploration Analysis and Research (SPEAR)

Combining natural and social sciences to create a step-change in the identification and understanding of socioeconomic impacts of space.

The Futures of Legal Education and Practice

As the leading provider of supported distance learning in the UK it is no surprise that OULS attracts academics who are very interested in the pedagogy behind distance learning, and in legal education more generally. A particular focus of research within the Law School is on the teaching of ethics within Law programmes.


University-wide research

The OU’s Open Societal Challenges Programme aims to tackle some of the most important challenges of our time through impact-driven research. We want to apply the research excellence of OU academics to some of the most pressing societal challenges facing people across the UK and worldwide to transform lives. Our focus on the themes of Tackling Inequalities, Living Well, and Sustainability aligns with our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.