SLS Research Seminar Series

Welcome to the schedule of events for the Spring Term 2021-2022

Zoom links for the seminars will be emailed to SLS and LPS staff.


12.30-2.00PM, Online (Zoom) 


Dr Giorgia Baldi, Un-veiling dichotomies: European Secularism and Women’s Veiling (Springer, 2021)

Joint Event with Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research

We invite you to a Book Talk given by Giorgia Baldi on her new monograph, Unveiling Dichotomies.

Venue: Online event,  via Zoom

Sign up here: Eventbrite


About the Book: This book analyzes the implication of secular/liberal values in Western and human rights law and its impact on Muslim women. It offers an innovative reading of the tension between the religious and secular spheres. The author does not view the two as binary opposites. Rather, she believes they are twin categories that define specific forms of lives as well as a specific notion of womanhood. This divergence from the usual dichotomy opens the doors for a reinterpretation of secularism in contemporary Europe. This method also helps readers to view the study of religion vs. secularism in a new light. It allows for a better understanding of the challenges that contemporary Europe now faces regarding the accommodation of different religious identities. For instance, one entire section of the book concerns the practice of veiling and explores the contentious headscarf debate. It features case studies from Germany, France, and the UK. In addition, the analysis combines a wide range of disciplines and employs an integrated, comparative, and inter-disciplinary approach. The author successfully brings together arguments from different fields with a comparative legal and political analysis of Western and Islamic law and politics. This innovative study appeals to students and researchers while offering an important contribution to the debate over the role of religion in contemporary secular Europe and its impact on women’s rights and gender equality.  More details available here

About the Author: Dr Giorgia Baldi is Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex, UK. Between 2013-17 she worked at Birkbeck, University of London, School of Law, as Associate Lecturer, teaching a variety of law related modules. Previously, she has worked for several years in the field of International Cooperation and Development, playing leading roles in women’s rights related programmes in the Middle East (2004-2011). Her research interests are state-religion relations, Gender and Religion, Women’s Rights and Human Rights, political theory, feminist theory etc. 



12.30-2.00PM, Online (Zoom)


Dr Lucy Welsh, Access to Justice in Magistrates' Courts (Hart, 2022)

Discussants: Dr Kate Leader and Dr Dan Newman

Joint Event with the Crime Research Centre 

We invite you to a Panel Discussion that will launch Lucy’s new book ‘Access to Justice in Magistrates' Courts. 

About the book: This book examines access to justice in summary criminal proceedings by considering the ability of defendants to play an active and effective role in the process. 'Access to justice' refers not just to the availability of legally aided representation, but also to the ability of defendants to understand and effectively participate in summary criminal proceedings more generally. It remains a vital principle of justice that justice should not only be done, but should also be seen to be done by all participants in the process. The book is based on socio-legal research. The study is ethnographic, based on observation conducted in four magistrates' courts in South East England and interviews with both defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors. Setting out an argument that defendants have always been marginalised through particular features of magistrates' court proceedings (such as courtroom layout and patterns of behaviour among the professional workgroups in court), the political climate in relation to defendants and access to justice that has persisted since 2010 has further undermined the ability of defendants to play an active role in the process. Ultimately, this book argues that recent governments have demanded ever more efficiency and cost saving in criminal justice. In that context, principles that contribute to access to justice for defendants have been seriously undermined. More details available here

About the Author: Lucy is a Senior Lecturer in Law, teaching criminal law, law of evidence, criminal process and managing the Sussex Criminal Justice Law Clinic. Lucy completed her PhD, on which research this book is based, in 2016 at the University of Kent. Prior to moving into academia full time in 2016, Lucy spent 10 years working as a criminal defence solicitor. It was her experiences as a practitioner than led Lucy to undertake her doctoral research, which began as a study about legal aid cuts but broadened to examine wider access to justice issues in magistrates’ courts. Lucy continues to research access to justice in criminal cases, either looking at the impact of legal cuts on different stages of the criminal process, or considering justice accountability. She is also lead author (with Dr Layla Skinns (Sheffield) and Prof Andrew Sanders (Warwick)) of the 5th edition of Sanders and Young's Criminal Justice (OUP), and is working on another monograph about open justice accountability with Dr Judith Townend, due to be published by BUP later in 2022.

About the Panel: Dr. Kate Leader is Lecturer in Law at York Law School; Dr. Dan Newman, is Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University. 

 Venue: Online event, via Zoom

Sign up here: Eventbrite


9.00AM-11.00AM, Online (Zoom)


Dr Jessica Whyte, The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism (Verso, 2019)

Discussants: TBC

Joint Event with the Centre for Global and Political Economy, Law and Economy Series

About the book: Drawing on detailed archival research on the parallel histories of human rights and neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte uncovers the place of human rights in neoliberal attempts to develop a moral framework for a market society. In the wake of the Second World War, neoliberals saw demands for new rights to social welfare and self-determination as threats to “civilisation”. Yet, rather than rejecting rights, they developed a distinctive account of human rights as tools to depoliticise civil society, protect private investments and shape liberal subjects. More details available here

About the author: Jessica Whyte is Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Languages (Philosophy) and the School of Law, University of New South Wales, and an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow. She is a political theorist whose work integrates political philosophy, intellectual history and political economy to analyse contemporary forms of sovereignty, human rights, humanitarianism and militarism. Her work has been published in a range of fora including Contemporary Political Theory; Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development; Law and Critique; Political Theory; and Theory and Event.




In place of a seminar during the term (originally planned as a ‘focus group’), we are planning a Research Away Day for May/June 2022 to allow us to collectively review REF results and to have a conversation about SLS’ research environment and ‘distinctiveness’. Your deputy research leads will be in touch once we have more details/ confirmation!

Schedule of events Autumn Term 2021-22

Week 3

Identifying and Exploring Research Themes within SLS

Roundtable Session with SLS Volunteers + Research Committee

Thursday 14th October 2021, 4.00pm to 5.30pm

Building on discussions at September’s departmental research awayday, this session is devoted to identifying and exploring some of the themes that underpin colleagues’ current research and scholarship in SLS. Like many academic fields of study, legal research is often comprehended in disciplinary and sub-disciplinary terms – one is a criminal, family, contract, medical lawyer working on specific topics within one’s subdiscipline. This session asks colleagues to take a step back from the specifics of their current research projects to identify and share the broader themes underlying these. For instance, what ideas/concepts/principles are colleagues working on; what are the wider contexts – e.g. social and political – framing their research projects/questions? As well as providing an opportunity for staff and students to learn more about the range of research and scholarship being undertaken in SLS, the seminar will enable reflection on what may be distinctive about this, as well as possibly highlighting common interests that may be developed in future. The seminar will take the form of a roundtable with a few volunteers kicking off the discussion before opening this up to the whole department. We encourage as many colleagues as possible to attend this event and share the themes they are currently working on in their research and scholarship.

Please contact Kenny and Bal if you would like to volunteer to be part of the roundtable kicking things off at this seminar. This would involve a brief 5-minute presentation on the research themes underpinning your current research. Many thanks.


Week 5

Research for a Fairer Society: Impact, Knowledge Exchange and Outreach

Thursday 28th October 2021, 4.00pm to 5.30pm

Dr Moira Dustin (Knowledge Exchange and Impact Coordinator), Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock and Dr Judith Townend (Co-Leads LPS Community Engagement)

The SLS research goals for the next five years include ‘furthering commitment to equality and social justice through research that contributes to a fairer society locally, nationally and internationally’. As discussed at September’s departmental research awayday, this includes consideration of ‘impact’ beyond REF and our collective contribution to SLS’s research distinctiveness. This session considers questions including the following and invites staff to add to and discuss these: What is impact? Does my work have impact? How can I bring knowledge exchange and outreach into my work (and do I already)?


Week 7

Editing Books and Special Issues of Journals

Thursday 11th November 2021, 4.00pm to 5.30pm

Dr. Helen Dancer (SLS Funding Lead) and Professor Lindsay Stirton (SLS)

This session is devoted to editing collections of essays in book format and special issues of journals. Why might we decide to pursue these? What is the process of editing? What are the benefits and challenges of editing collections and special issues? What are the relative merits of pursuing an edited book versus a special issue of a journal? These are the kinds of questions this session addresses. Two colleagues – Helen Dancer and Lindsay Farmer – will discuss their recent experiences of editing a special issue of a journal (Helen: ‘People and Forests at the Legal Frontier’ (2021) 53(1) The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law) and co-editing a book collection (Lindsay: Arvind, Kirkham, Mac Sithigh & Stirton (eds.) Executive Decision-Making and the Courts: Revisiting the Origins of Modern Judicial Review (London: Hart, 2021)). The seminar presents an opportunity for staff and students to ask questions about editing collections and special issues, as well as a chance for other colleagues who have edited books and/or special issues to share their own experiences.


Week 8

Marketing Global Justice: The Political Economy of International Criminal Law

Wednesday 17th November 2021, 3.00pm to 5.00pm

In-person event: Venue tbc

Christine Schwoebel-Patel, University of Warwick

Book talk co-sponsored with the Centre for Global Political Economy and Sussex International Relations Department.


Week 9

Student and Research

Thursday 25th November 2021, 12.30pm to 2.00pm

Led by: Shahrzad Fouladvand

This session brings together SLS (Final Year) undergraduate students to speak to what they understand by ‘research’, what they would do as a research project and discuss the skills of writing essays. The session aims to connect teaching, writing and researching and build the research environment at SLS through building staff/student relations. Shahrzad will lead the session, speaking to her own research on ‘Corrupt Public Officials and Human Trafficking’, and inviting students from her Corruption module to present and participate in the session.


Week 11

Law and Disorder: Sovereignty, Protest, Atmosphere

Thursday 9th December 2021, 4.00pm – 5.30pm

Dr. Illan Wall, School of Law, University of Warwick

Hybrid Event: The event will be held in-person and online

Venue: Freeman Building, Mooting Room G06


Dr Lara Montesinos-Coleman (Reader, Department of International Relations, Sussex) and Dr Swastee Ranjan (Lecturer School of Law University of Exeter)

Book talk co-sponsored with Sussex Department of International Relations

Illan Wall writes: Introducing my book Law & Disorder, this paper will focus in on the ‘state of unrest’. This is a crisis for the state that emerges during intense civil disorder. The paper explores the way that we might understand this as a 'crisis of feeling’, a moment where national sentiments turn away from the current constellation of the state, and instead begin to imagine new ways of government and being together. In this state, the sovereign can no longer guarantee the stable calm in which everyday relations are supposed to occur. Instead of habitual obedience, the populace expresses their support or dissatisfaction through action on the streets. The ’state of unrest’ is therefore an incredibly useful way to both grasp the way that affect and emotion are essential components of the sovereign order, but also to begin to see the way that protest can ‘work’ to challenge and change a state.

Illan rua Wall is a Reader at the Warwick Law School. He is author of Law and Disorder (Routledge, 2021) and Human Rights and Constituent Power (Routledge 2012). He is a founding editor of the blog and a managing editor of the open access blog

Schedule of events Spring Term 2020-21

Week 3

Work in progress seminar

Law as Addiction: Voids, Magnetism and the Routine of Routines

Date: Wednesday 10 February 2021

Time: 12.30 – 2.00 PM

Lucy Finchett-Maddock

This piece discusses the way addiction is formulated by the practices and tactics of law, to say that law itself is addiction, and addiction is law. Combining desire and destruction through the work of Gilles Deleuze, Kathryn Yusoff and Catherine Malabou, both addiction and law are explored as cumulative processes of material and immaterial yearning emanating from and within thermodynamic movements of order/disorder, destruction/creation and the tightrope of equilibrium known better as entropy, within and outside, human and other bodies. The entropic speed of addiction is described in terms of its capacity to resonate, to compel, impel and repel: it is magnetic, and so too is law. Addiction is described as rule-making, through the funnelling of attention to sediment layers of law as habit, routine and custom through repetition, leading to the ultimate expression of law, that of subjectivity and the crystallisation of form - the institutionalisation of property and the overcoming of uncertainty through control. Addiction is argued as the very extremity, the ultimate meaning, the very motor of legal morphology itself; the striving of life against death, a speculative genesis and the baroque pathways carved in the process.

Lucy Finchett-Maddock is Senior Lecturer in Law & Art at Sussex Law School, University of Sussex

Week 5

Staff-Student Panel Event: Joint event with Crime Research Centre

Race Equality and Criminal Justice: Listening to perpectives

Date: Wednesday 24 February 2021

Time: 12.30 – 2.00 PM

Chair: Lucy Welsh, Senior Lecturer in Law, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex

This event follows on from the 'Your Teachers as Researchers' event in AUT in terms of breaching the teacher/student interface and creating a shared space to share and listen to perspectives on race equality and criminal justice. The event will feature an academic/ professional panel and student voices, and we look forward in particular to listening to the voices of people of colour.

Academic/Professional Panel

Ife Thompson – barrister, UN Fellow for the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024, and founder of BLAM UK
Laura Janes - solicitor from Howard League for Penal Reform
Alpa Parmar – academic whose research focuses on the intersections between race, gender and criminalization

Student Voices

Jasmine Bundhoo - Final Year, Law
Monica Gangar – Graduate Entry Final Year
Judith Ohen – Year 1, Law

There will be time for staff and students to ask questions and discuss the issues raised with the panel, so please join us for what promises to be an engaging and insightful discussion!

Week 7

Book Launch

Jo Bridgeman, Medical Treatment of Children and the Law: Beyond Parental Responsibilities (Abingdon: Routledge, 2020)

Date: Wednesday 10 March 2021

Time: 12.30 – 2.00 PM

Chair: Kenneth Veitch

Join us to celebrate the publication of Professor Jo Bridgeman’s new book. Why does the state intrude into the exercise of parental responsibility concerning the medical treatment of children? And why may parents not be permitted to decide what is in the best interests of their children? Jo engages with these questions in this session in the course of introducing her new book, Medical Treatment of Children and the Law: Beyond Parental Responsibilities. Please join in the subsequent discussion.

Jo Bridgeman is Professor of Healthcare Law and Feminist Ethics at Sussex Law School, University of Sussex.

Week 9

Rethinking Human Rights Penality

Date: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Time: 12.30 – 2.00 PM

Dr Natasa Mavronicola (Birmingham Law School)

Chair: Bal Sokhi-Bulley

Human rights actors frequently condemn the individual and systemic brutality inflicted by States’ coercive and carceral apparatus, from police violence to the degradation that is rife within prisons. Nonetheless, many within the human rights movement continue to treat this apparatus as fundamentally redeemable. More significantly, key human rights bodies not only tolerate the existence of the police and the prison, but also compel it. Human rights law and doctrine is replete with positive obligations to criminalise, police, prosecute and punish human rights violations. This phenomenon may be referred to as ‘human rights penality’. Human rights penality is (rationalised as being) oriented at the effective protection of rights; and it has an egalitarian, redistributive dimension, seeking to bolster human rights norms to better address hitherto under-recognised and under-addressed wrongs (such as gender-based violence) and under-protected persons (such as racialised minorities). Yet human rights penality has many pitfalls – not least that it can limit our vision, in terms of how best to secure practical and effective enjoyment of human rights, to redistributing punishment rather than redistributing or indeed maximising protection. In this talk I consider some of the main problems with human rights penality, and briefly contemplate how it may be rethought.

Dr Natasa Mavronicola is Reader in Law and Deputy Head of Research at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham. She is co-editor, with Laurens Lavrysen, of Coercive Human Rights: Positive Duties to Mobilise the Criminal Law under the ECHR (Hart Publishing 2020). Her monograph, titled Torture, Inhumanity and Degradation under Article 3 of the ECHR: Absolute Rights and Absolute Wrongs (Hart Publishing 2021) is out this February.

To book visit eventbrite page: here

Week 10

Publishing in Journals

Date: Wednesday 21 April 2021

Time: 12.30 – 2.00 PM

Phil Thomas (Editor, Journal of Law and Society)

Liz Fisher (General Editor, Journal of Environmental Law)

Chair: Kenneth Veitch

This session is devoted to publishing in journals. We are joined by two editors – Liz Fisher and Phil Thomas – of leading law journals. Liz and Phil will speak about what they look for in articles submitted to their respective journals, as well as offering some initial thoughts on the following issues that a number of colleagues have raised recently:

Things to consider when deciding what journal to send your work to;

  • Advice for junior colleagues and PhD students on publishing in journals;
  • Publishing interdisciplinary research; and,
  • Dealing with rejection of one’s work

Plenty of time will be set aside for discussion and questions.

We strongly encourage our PhD students to attend this session.

Liz Fisher is Professor of Environmental Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford

Phil Thomas is Emeritus Professor of Law at the School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Schedule of events Autumn Term 2020-2021

'Your Teachers are Researchers'

Date: Thursday 26 November

Time:  6.00 – 7.30 PM

Location: Online via Zoom (details sent via email)

Do our students really know what we do when we say we do 'research'? This event is part of the UG Lockdown Events series coordinated by Verona and breaches the teaching/research interface, bringing staff and students into a shared research space. Our students will introduce the staff panel, who will share their work in 5-minute bite size pieces... to be followed by Q&A. All staff welcome!

STAFF Panel:

Neemah Ahmad (PhD Candidate in Law), 'What Do They Call Me? On the Poetry and Lyrics of Audre Lorde and Nina Simone' 

Matt Evans (Lecturer in Law), 'The neoliberal university and resistance in the current crisis'

Sabrina Gilani (Lecturer in Canadian Law)'Material Rights and Embodied Cruelty: Encountering the Constitutionality of Capital Punishment'

Bal Sokhi-Bulley (Senior Lecturer in Law & Critical Theory), 'From Exotic to "Dirty": How the Pandemic has Re-colonised Leicester'

Lucy Welsh (Senior Lecturer in Law), 'Accessing justice in criminal courts. Is it all about legal aid?'



Henry Bonsor (Final Year)

Jasmine Bundhoo (Final Year)

Ayo Idowu-Bello (Year 1)

Tyrone Logue (Year 1)

Chair: Verona Ni Drisceoil


Informal Research Session for Faculty

This informal session provides a space for colleagues to share and discuss experiences/issues related to their research at the present time. There is no Agenda and no preparation required. Feel free to come along and speak about anything research-related that's on your mind and/or you need some help with/another view on.

Date: Friday 4 December

Time: 4 -5PM

Join via Zoom: (details sent via email)


Law, Race and Decolonial Thought in Law Schools: Possibilities and Hope

Date: Thursday 10 December

Time: 2.00 – 3.30 PM

Location: Online via Zoom, BOOK VIA EVENTBRITE

Speaker: Dr. Foluke Adebisi, Senior Lecturer in Law, Law School, University of Bristol 


Because law and race shape each other in powerful ways, the nature and causal factors of racial inequalities are often transformed, hidden in plain sight, legitimised or obscured by the supposed neutrality of law. Nevertheless, apparently race-neutral laws and policies have racially disparate results in almost every sector of society – education, employment, welfare, housing, criminal justice, to name a few. These disparities are compounded when examined under an intersectional lens. Legal education, broadly defined, is the study of the world, human societies and their order. Very often a vital aspect of this social order – the co-dependency of race and law – is left out of the teaching, learning and research of law. This presentation makes the argument that legal education should be dedicated to examining how

law and race are co-constitutive. Any attempt to end racial disparities without questioning, confronting and dismantling the complicity of law is an exercise in futility. Drawing on the author’s research and personal experiences of teaching law and race in various units at a Russell Group university, this presentation: examines the nexus of law and race; reflects on some research in this regard; and concludes with some considerations of what still needs to be done. The presentation situates itself within the wider context of the decolonisation of education. It also considers the role of the foregoing against a much wider background of neo-liberalisation and marketisation of higher education in the United Kingdom.


Dr Foluke Ifejola Adebisi is a Senior Lecturer at the Law School, University of Bristol whose scholarship focuses on decolonial thought in legal education. In 2017, she co-designed a Law and Race unit, which is one of the very few of its kind within the UK. In September 2019, she convened the first ‘Decolonisation and the Law’ conference at the University of Bristol. She is emerging as a thought leader on decolonisation in UK Higher Education. Her decolonial scholarship, which is pedagogical as well as jurisprudential, examines what happens at the intersection of legal education, law, society and a history of changing ideas of what it means to be human. Foluke is particularly interested in academic concerns that arise from ensuring equality, inclusion and diversity within teaching practice in law and how these intersect with environmental degradation, massive global inequality and the potential for imagining an egalitarian future for humanity. In recognition of her work, in October 2018, Foluke was included in the Bristol BAME Powerlist 2018 - A list of Bristol's 100 most inspiring people from BAME backgrounds. She is also the founder of Forever Africa Conference and Events (FACE), a Pan-African interdisciplinary conference hosted in Bristol. She blogs about her scholarship, pedagogy and interrelated ideas on her website ‘Foluke’s African Skies’