Welcome to the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
Welcome to the CSLS, an inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to the study of law in society. Founded in 1972 at Oxford University, the Centre is known nationally and internationally for its innovative and original research and publications. It is also widely regarded for its high level training and supervision of students undertaking doctorates and other research degrees. The CSLS is a relatively autonomous institute within the Faculty of Law and has strong links to other departments and institutes in the University of Oxford and beyond.
The CSLS has a full-time research staff of twelve, representing a range of disciplines, currently law, anthropology, sociology, political science, and psychology. The interaction of different disciplines, research staff from different countries and backgrounds, and a student body of twenty-four, produces a stimulating environment in a collegial atmosphere.
In addition to its own research staff, the CSLS has a group of Associate Research Fellows who are usually employed elsewhere but spend time at the Centre or are engaged in joint research with its members. Associates contribute to the research and related activities of the CSLS.
The core activity of the CSLS is to conduct and publish original research. The emphasis throughout its history has been the empirical study different areas of law with a view to understanding its place and role in society. Good empirical research, we believe, is based on well-developed theoretical ideas and traditions, and may lead to their adjustment and deepening.
The main areas of current research include: public law, public administration, the state and the citizen; the social foundations of public law; the anthropology of law; dispute resolution, law in transition societies; regulation in various contexts; environmental law; media law and regulation; civil justice; courts and public policy. While these areas of study are diverse, the methodology by which they are studied is similar.
Visiting researchers are welcomed by the Centre; this includes those in academic positions and other professionals who are engaged in law in society.
Students from around the world are encouraged to undertake research degrees in the Centre’s multi-disciplinary environment. Each student is guided towards successful completion of a dissertation by a supervisor within the CSLS. Joint supervision can be arranged where it would be beneficial to a student. Students come from a range of disciplinary backgrounds within law and the social sciences. A qualification in law is not necessary. The main criterion for prospective students is an interest in studying law in society, regardless of the substantive subject matter.