Our impact

Centre for Law and Social Justice

Richer or poorer choices

Law and Social Justice supports scholars, activists, organisations and practitioners who are interested in and engage with questions about the existence of inequalities in welfare and social justice.

Our work considers the extent to which law can address these inequalities and help ensure that resources are shared more equitably. Further, we address the extent to which members of society have access to welfare provisions and access to justice according to their need, both in a legal and broader civil society sense.

Those working within Law and Social Justice have established international reputations across a range of areas including disability, health, access to justice, family relations, transgender rights, legal theory, reproductive rights, and human rights.

Research generated within the group interrogates the entrenched nature of inequalities and the evaluative frameworks and regulatory provisions (within law, public policy, and civil society norms) that aim to measure and promote welfare and social justice.

Centre aims

Our over-arching strategic aim is the production of high-quality impactful research which addresses law’s potential to promote social justice. This is underpinned by a strong, supportive culture for all its members.

The Centre strives to achieve four objectives:

  1. To produce internationally excellent and world-leading research: We will produce world-class outputs on the intersection of law and social justice;
  2. To create impact: Drawing directly on the research expertise of the Centre, we will contribute to legal and policy developments locally, nationally and internationally, and generate positive social change through broad public engagement;
  3. To share knowledge: We use our research and that of others to inform teaching and knowledge sharing, not only within the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, but also those outside the University including those who face injustice;
  4. To develop and protect an inclusive ethos: We encourage, expect and value contributions from members at all career stages.

Some examples of Centre for Law and Social Justice members’ recent engagement activities include:

  • Dr Craig Purshouse's research with Kate Bracegirdle (University of Bristol) on surrogacy was cited by the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission in their joint consultation paper Building Families Through Surrogacy: A New Law (6 June 2019).
  • The International Disability Law Clinic published a report evaluating the need to provide recording equipment in Personal Independence Payment assessments and tribunal hearings to facilitate accessibility in the UK  (June 2019)
  • Professor Andrew Francis met with the Commission on Justice in Wales to present an overview of university, private and public partnership working in Leeds (21 November 2018)
  • Dr Mitchell Travis was cited in a comparative report by the European Equality Law Network on trans and intersex equality rights in Europe (20 November 2018)
  • Dr Carrie Bradshaw participated in an EU expert panel for the EU-funded research project Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain (REFRESH) on food waste to discuss policy options to influence and reduce food waste on the consumer level (19 November 2018)
  • Dr Amanda Keeling was invited to speak with Leeds City Council’s Adult Social Care Senior Management Team about the new Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill (31 October 2018)
  • Professor Hilary Sommerlad, with T. Tkacukova and M. Gee, launched the website Linguistic and Socio-legal analysis of online forums for litigants in person as part of their British Academy/Leverhulme funded project, featured in industry press Family Law (18 October 2018), Stowe Family Law Blog (22 October 2018) and Legal Futures (30 October 2018)
  • Dr Chris Dietz, Dr Mitch Travis, and Dr Fae Garland (University of Manchester) submitted a response to the government consultation on Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (19 October 2018)
  • Dr Mitchell Travis was invited to a roundtable with the Government Equalities Office to advise them of issues around intersex in relation to a forthcoming intersex consultation (17 October 2018)
  • Anna Lawson acted as Special Advisor to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee on the Government’s response to the Committee recommendations on Disability and the Built Environment (9 October 2018)
  • Professor Hilary Sommerlad has been appointed a member of the Expert Working Group on Brexit, Immigration and Administrative Justice, Public Law Project (October 2018)
  • Dr Ilias Trispiotis presented his research on the role of European human rights law in countering Islamophobia in Europe at the European Parliament (26 September 2018)
  • Lydia Bleasdale and Professor Andrew Francis presented on ‘Millennial Lawyers: Challenges and Opportunities for Law firms in Leeds’ at Leeds Law Society (September 2018)
  • Professor Anna Lawson participated in the first Global Disability Summit in London co-hosted by the International Disability Alliance, UK Department for Interntaional Development and Government of Kenya (24 July 2018)
  • Dr Emma Wincup was co-opted to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Recovery Committee to support their programme of work on drug use and vulnerability and presented evidence at an evidence-gathering day based on her work on young people, drug use and homelessness (3 July 2018)
  • Dr Sam Lewis presented her research to practitioners in an invited address to the N8 Policing Research Partnership (PRP) conference on Improving Policing Research and Practice on Child to Parent Violence and Abuse (11 June 2018)
  • Jen Hendry presented her work on ‘Everyday Challenges to the Rule of Law: The Case of Civil/Criminal Procedural Hybrids’ at Liberty (June 18)
  • Dr Sam Lewis submitted a response to the Government consultation on the Domestic Violence Bill (May 2018)
  • Dr Craig Purshouse’s research on the duty of care of the police was cited by Lord Reed in the UK Supreme Court in Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire[2018] UKSC 4 at [43] (as amended) (8 February 2018)
  • Dr Carrie Bradshaw is currently an ESRC Parliamentary Academic Fellow, working with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology to support scrutiny of Government interventions to manage food waste in the context of broader food security challenges, particularly against the backdrop of the UK’s forthcoming departure from the EU (March – December 2018)
  • Professor Luke Clements delivered a key note address on his research concerning ‘Continuing Health Care Funding and End of Life Care’ to the Annual Conference of the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers at the University of York (13 September 2018)
  • Professor Luke Clements’ co-authored a report on ‘Disabled Children and the Cost Effectiveness of Home Adaptations’ cited at length in the House of Commons Briefing Paper ‘Disabled facilities grants for home adaptations’ (22 July 2018)
  • Dr Mitchell Travis was invited to a roundtable with the Government Equalities Office to advise them of issues around intersex in relation to the Gender Recognition Act consultation (17 July 2018)
  • Professor Luke Clements delivered a key note address concerning the legal protection of carers from experiencing adverse ‘associative discrimination’ at a Euro-carers Conference in Modena, Italy (5 June 2018)
  • Professor Hilary Sommerlad was consulted by Caroline Newman, Chair of The Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers' Division and founder of the African Women Lawyers' Association about research into sexual harassment in the legal profession and barriers to Black women lawyers (April 2018)
  • Professor Luke Clements delivered a key note address concerning the potential for law reform relating to the rights of unpaid carers in Jersey to the ‘Carers Legislation Consultation Conference’ in St Helier Jersey (February 2018)
  • Professor Hilary Sommerlad was consulted by Joy Akah-Douglas of The Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers' Division about research into sexual harassment in the legal profession and barriers to Black women lawyers (February 2018)
  • Professor Luke Clements’ accessible publication concerning his research on ‘practical problem solving’ by families with disabled children was downloaded over 36,500 times in its first 20 months since its launch in March 2016 and in this period has resulted in over 45 workshops throughout the UK (October 2017)
  • Dr Sam Lewis, as a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Race Advisory Group (RAG) since 2011, contributed to discussions of the Ministry’s Race and the Criminal Justice System 2016 report in advance of its publication in November 2017 (May 2017)
  • Dr Craig Purshouse’s research on whether 'lost autonomy' should be recognised as actionable damage in medical negligence cases was cited by the Court of Appeal of Singapore in ACB v Thomson Medical Pte Ltd [2017] SGCA 20 at [51], [118] and [120] per Andrew Phang JA (22 March 2017)