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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

Introduction. Law is a Division of the Caledonian Business School (CBS). During the reporting period, the CBS has strategically applied research income further to enhance and develop its research profile. A policy of developing existing strengths in the Caledonian Business School has been extended to Law, building on two existing Law strengths: a significant Law research student population with a good completion rate and an established culture of scholarship evidenced by extensive publication of textbooks. The postgraduate research student base has been supported and encouragement through funding given to the developing research interest (Maharg (now Strathclyde), McKellar) in computer applications in law and the provision of legal services and legal education. This led to publications and the generation of £246,100 direct external research income. New staff with research potential have been appointed (Maganaris, McKerrell). A separate Law Division was created within the CBS in 2000 (Law was formerly part of the Department of Law and Public Administration) based in part on this established basis for research. It was recognized, however, that research leadership would be essential for the new unit to thrive. The appointment in April 2000 of a Head of Division with an established research reputation and leadership experience (Huntley) led to rapid development of the Law research culture and to a sharper research focus. This core of Law researchers has already strengthened the research profile of the CBS and the University, is achieving excellence and offers great potential to extend the pool of productive researchers. The University is now confident in making this separate submission to UoA 36.
Mechanisms and Practices for Supporting Research. The University manages research through a Research and Commercialization Committee, comprising representatives of Schools and Faculties and of the University executive. Within CBS, the Research, Scholarship and Commercialization Committee (RSCC) takes collective responsibility for the implementation and development of a common School research strategy. The University and CBS have earmarked funds for research fellowships, studentships and assistantships and conference support. All CBS academic staff compete for such funds and several Law staff have been particularly successful in such bids. Within the Law Division, the Law Research Interest Group (Law RIG) has an overall co-ordinating role for research. The three Core Areas of Research Activity (CARAs) operate as informal networks or clusters of colleagues with common research interests. CARAs meet and report informally to the RIG, which in turn influences the overall formulation of the Divisional research strategy. The Divisional Seminar Series began in September 2000 and the speakers’ list includes Professors Card, Burrows, Willett and Prosser. The Seminars allow staff and doctoral students to present their research to colleagues in a supportive and constructive environment, yet expose their ideas to scrutiny and development. A Divisional Research Newsletter is being established. Informal mentoring operates between more experienced research staff, notably Huntley and Zahraa, and members of staff relatively new to research. All recent appointments have been made on the ability to contribute to the Division's research strategy. Staff are encouraged to engage in doctoral studies and two research active members of staff have graduated with PhDs during the reporting period.
Support for Research Students. The Division has maintained a strong cohort of research students by the standards of the University and of most Law Schools. It has maintained a highly satisfactory rate of completion and rate of publication of the results of postgraduate research. Postgraduate research has thus been long regarded an essential part of the research culture in Law. PhD students are regarded as junior members of staff and are encouraged to participate in the Division’s activities. The facilities available to research students have recently been upgraded, with a dedicated research students’ room and upgraded computing and printing facilities. The Division is creating a Business Law Resource Centre (for which some external funding is being sought) that will include research facilities available to staff and research students. The University operates and CBS encourages close and effective supervision of research students and they are encouraged to collaborate closely with supervisors, to the extent of producing joint publications. Research students are encouraged and funded to attend conferences and to deliver their findings where appropriate. PhD students also participate in REBUS (Research in Business) an annual conference organised by CBS at which they are encouraged to make presentations and to attend lectures on various aspects of research. All students take part in the interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Methods Programme run by the CBS and Dr. Zahraa both teaches on and helps run the Programme. Research students are expected to participate fully in the Division’s Seminar Programme.
Links between Law and other research groups within CBS. Strong links exist with CBS staff involved in IT and the intention is to develop these further in the research of MacKellar, MacMillan and Huntley. Huntley has links with Taylor and the Centre for the Study of Telematics and Governance (CSTAG) in regulation of telecommunications.
Links between Law and Departments outside the University. Hunltey has links with Strathclyde Law School (Blackie, Scots Contract Law) and Management Science (Belton and Li, management of the provision of legal services). Huntley and McKerrell have links with Glasgow University (Prosser and the Centre for Regulation). McKellar has links with, inter alia, Strathclyde through LEGIT (an informal law and information technology inter-university group) and is on the Executive Committee of BILETA. She is coordinator of “Hot-Docs” User Group in Scotland (solicitors' group holding regular seminars on document assembly applications and e-commerce). Maganaris has links with the European Public Law Centre, University of Athens and holds a research fellowship there. Zahraa maintains research contacts with the universities of Cairo, Damascus, Bahrain and Tripoli, the International Islamic University of Malaysia, the King Abdul Aziz University (Saudi Arabia), the Jordanian University and the Zayed University (Dubai).
Links with Industry and Commerce. Huntley has had extensive links with the Competition Law Association (UK) ands the International Competition Law Association, undertaking extensive international comparative research in Unfair Competition Law and the regulation of Oligopolies (published as conference papers). Huntley’s extensive involvement in the Teaching Companies Scheme has forged links with the legal practice. There are also good links with the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow; with the Law Society of Scotland (Sheridan is a member of its Education Committee); with the Paralegal Association; and with the ITSA.
The Nature and Direction of Research within the Law Division
The nature and focus of research within the Law Division is varied. Much is business related (more specifically IT related), for example Huntley’s published work on computer applications in legal case management and McKellar’s on the use of information technology by legal firms. Other published work focuses on the regulation of business: Huntley’s work on the regulation of the telecommunications industry and the Internet; McKerrell’s PhD and published work on the regulation of bus transport. Other output – notably Maganaris’s PhD and his and Zahraa’s published work and aspects of Huntley’s published work – falls generally in European and international trade regulation. With CBS encouragement and research funding and more recently through the leadership of the new Head of Division, unifying research themes are emerging in directions suited to the CBS and a professional environment with stress on collaboration with other disciplines. Staff attach themselves naturally to one or more team or cluster around three strategic focal points for research in Law.
Law and the regulation of business. This reflects individual interests in this area, from telecommunications to transport, from fair trading to competition. The common element is the study of the regulatory environment of law within which businesses operate. This sits well in the research focus of the Caledonian Business School as a whole. Achievements. Huntley’s continuing work in telecommunications law and regulation has led to several contributions in the form of Book chapters, academic journal articles and conference contributions. He has close links with the Centre for Regulatory Studies at Glasgow University that led to the publication of a chapter on Internet pricing. Huntley collaborates with colleagues elsewhere in CBS, notably CSTAG. Taylor (Unit 43), Dean of CBS, founded CSTAG and has published widely in telecommunications and governance. CBS funding (£17,000) supports comparative research into the relationship between Universal Service Provision and Internet access under Huntley’s direction with McKerrell and Taylor through CSTAG. The work of colleagues in CBS like Taylor, and Beck (entered under Unit 44), who has published extensively in the area of Law and Economics and has established an international reputation through his research relating to Piper Alpha and the Paddington Rail Disaster, also reflects common regulatory interests. McKerrell’s PhD was on Transport Regulation and he has begun publishing in that field. Established and developing Trading Standards connections and Huntley’s published work on fair trading and competition will provide a further focus for research within the group (the Caledonian Centre for Consumer Law and Research has just been established).
Computer applications and the provision of legal services and legal education. Throughout the reporting period, McKellar has worked on computer applications in legal practice on their effects on the teaching of law. A clear research focus on the information technology aspects of the provision of legal services has developed. Huntley, with an established reputation in the field of computer applications in law, brings added strength. This strength was recognised when the Law Division in a consortium with the Edinburgh Universty won SHEFC funding of £728,500 to establish a Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning (20% of that funding is for the work at Caledonian). The funding will be used for the statistical evaluation of forensic evidence and the creation, implementation and promotion of an expert system for this purpose. Zeleznikow, with an international reputation in artificial intelligence and law, has been appointed Director of the Centre and will be based at Caledonian for 20% of his time (the remainder at Edinburgh). Achievements. During the reporting period, CBS funded collaborative interdisciplinary research in the creation of learning tools by drawing analogies from professional legal practice. This led to several articles and conference contributions by McKellar. More recently, funding was provided for research into the use of information technology in legal practices (notably strategic business use of e-commerce applications) and McKellar has already disseminated in articles and at conferences findings. Huntley brings the published and disseminated output from the first TCS-funded Law project (£52,000) in the UK - to establish a case management system in Scottish criminal legal aid in collaboration with James Friel & Co. Work has begun on a second TCS Programme (£70,000) awarded to McKellar and Bird, Semple & Co.. Faculty funding supports projects on E-commerce strategies in legal practice (£ 7000) and On-line Surveys (£12,000).

Law relating to International and European Trade and Business. This brings together interests in international trade regulation, represented by Huntley and Zahraa and in European Law, Maganaris. Zahraa’s established reputation in Islamic Law adds an important dimension. The strategy is to focus these individual strengths on researching the impact of international and European Law on the regulation of business. Achievements. During the reporting period, Maganaris has published on aspects of European law, including his PhD (1998) and four category C papers. Zahraa has published widely on Trade Law, Islamic Law and International Law. Much of Huntley’s published output and conference contributions during the reporting period reflects on the impact of European and international trade regulation.

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Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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