- Position: Lecturer in Legal Education
- Areas of expertise: legal culture, aesthetics of legal study, Japanese law and society,
- Email: R.L.Harding@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 3991
- Location: G.37 Liberty Building
Teaching is my passion – my time at Leeds has been full of fantastic opportunities to do what I love and develop my skills. I am particularly interested in blended teaching approaches and the integration of art and visual methods in legal pedagogy. I plan to continue teaching after my thesis is complete and work to improve the experiences of our wonderful students through diverse teaching methods.
Presently I teach on the modules for Criminal Law, Foundations of Law, Family Law and Land Law. I am also the module leader for the Law module for the Leeds International Summer School. I am currently the PGR Rep for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and am a mentor for new Module Assistants, a role that I have held for three years.
I studied my LLB (Hons.) with Criminology undergraduate degree at the University of Derby, followed by a Masters in International and Comparative Law, for which I was awarded a Distinction. Prior to joining the University of Leeds, I worked in Student Wellbeing at the University of Derby and as a Teaching Assistant for the School of Law.
- International Link Tutor
- Module Assistant Mentor
I am currently completing my PhD thesis, which is entitled 'Japanese legal culture and the hybrid illusion', which is planned for submission in December 2018. Japanese law and legal culture is not without diverse and quality commentary and yet categorisation of the Japanese legal system into a jurisprudential ‘family’ has proved difficult to achieve satisfactorily. The perspective of much of Japan’s codified law has an arguably Western origin, which is not always compatible with the issues it affects. In Japan, traditional social norms are often inconsistent with its German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch-based civil code. However, there is little work that focuses on this tension at the core of the Japanese legal system.
This research project presents a challenge to the discipline of legal taxonomy in classical comparative legal studies, contending that legal culture has been vastly undervalued in categorisations of legal systems. When legal culture is omitted as a consideration, legal systems are only seen in terms of their formal structure and instruments, with little to no regard for the social and cultural contexts in which they operate. In particular, the thesis challenges the category of ‘mixed’ or ‘hybrid’ systems, and endeavours to critically deconstruct these categories to demonstrate the misleading map of systems that is created. This is particularly problematic for Japan, as social and cultural values retain a considerable normative influence on everyday life – and these values are often inconsistent with the processes of formal law. An investigation into Japan’s legal culture is therefore essential for understanding the nature and functioning of the system.
The research project explores fundamental normative elements of Japanese social custom, including giri, tatemae and honne, for their role and significance in Japanese law and society. Furthermore, it critically examines the historical influences that have shaped Japanese law and social norms and will conduct an investigation in to the role and influence of Japanese legal culture with a case study on lay participation in the criminal justice system (saiban-in seido). The research is intended to further develop and reinterpret current understandings on this subject, thereby refreshing the field of research with a contemporary comprehensive study.
My other research interests are in the intersection of law and dress, legal education, and the aesthetics of law and legal experience.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- LLM (International and Comparative Law)
- LLB (Hons.) with Criminology
- Member, Socio-legal Studies Association
- Member, Law and Society Association
I teach on a variety of modules on the LLB undergraduate course, and work within the Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education. I am primarily involved in teaching seminars, and am continually developing the learning and teaching experience for students in small-group teaching spaces. In particular I employ a range of interactive methods, visual aids and encourage students to take an active part in developing their own learning materials.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education