Shaping public policy - today and tomorrow

Anglia Law School has seen a transformation in both the quantity and quality of its research activity over the past few years. Achieving some 4*, world-leading, research in our first ever submission to the REF (in which we were joined by some colleagues from Humanities and Social Sciences) marks a significant milestone in the development of a strong research culture in the Law School. Just over 72% of our outputs were rated at 3*/4*.

Our two REF impact case studies were based on the work of Professor Robert Home, and were both from our land law research area. Law often has its major impact on the shaping of public policy, and these two case studies exemplify this. Research on planning and accommodation for Gypsies/Travellers impacted on policy, law and services at national, regional and local level, including providing key evidence to a Parliamentary Committee whose work led to a statutory requirement in the Housing Act 2004 on local authorities to undertake local Gypsy/Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs). Work on land ownership and title (especially in Africa and the Middle East) had international impact, involving aid agencies of global reach, including UNDP, UN-Habitat, and the World Bank, and specifically in Africa through agencies such as the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and Pan-African Parliament.

Our research is marked by the diversity of the subject areas it encompasses. We have added to longstanding interests in land and property rights and sports law with a growing body of research with an international and European slant, including the digital economy, commercial and competition law, human rights, international criminal law and the use of DNA evidence. New colleagues who have recently joined us are adding to the diversity of our research and in the coming years we plan to deepen our research expertise as well as strengthen our ties with other areas of our University and beyond.

One of these recently-appointed members of staff, Professor Rohan Kariyawasam, is currently working to develop a research programme on the digital economy: an area of growing relevance for international trade and one where exciting developments in the law are taking place. In connection with this, Professor Kariyawasam has been working with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva and the World Economic Forum in New York, as part of the E15 initiative on the Digital Economy. This initiative will advise the World Trade Organisation on a new legal instrument on digital trade, which will have real impact on the shape of the regulatory responses to the challenges and opportunities presented by this technological shift.