Research at Bristol Law School

Bristol Law School is one of the top-rated ‘post 1992’ law departments in the country, scoring consistently high ratings in the official research assessment exercises. This reflects the fact that legal research provides a central focus for the work of the Law School, and that many staff are engaged in research of national and international significance.

The Law School also places emphasis on nurturing new career researchers, investing in providing an environment in which they can flourish, and on using research to enrich the learning experience of students.

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Research funding

Research carried out by Law School staff is funded by a wide range of organisations including Innovate UK, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the City of London Police Force, ICT Wilmington Risk & Compliance, Universities South West, the France Telecom Group, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Commission, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the College of Policing, a range of UK police forces, the British Academy, the European Institute for Gender Equality, and national and international business corporations.

Media engagement

Bristol Law School staff members have been interviewed by and their work reported in a number of media outlets such as Bloomberg News, the BBC (national and regional), Deutsche Welle, CNBC, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Student Law Review

The UWE Bristol Student Law Review (UWESLR) showcases the best examples of undergraduate research by students on the Law and Joint Awards programmes.

Published annually, the UWESLR is intended to both promote high quality student work and enhance the sense of community amongst researchers within the Bristol Law School.


We welcome any enquires about our work and research. Please direct any general enquiries to Professor Nicholas Ryder.

Bristol Law School research students

Aholu Okechukwu

Aholu is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He was the prizeman of the prizeman of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology where he emerged the overall best graduating student. He also obtained an LLM in International Oil and Gas Law Regulation from Aberdeen University in 2013. Aholu is a senior research fellow and an associate lecturer in Umaru Skinkafi Centre for African Extractive Research. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association. His thesis investigates the extent to which the application of the polluter pays principle in Nigeria’s Hydrocarbon industry promoting environmental justice.

Charlie Robson

Charlie Robson is a second year PhD candidate and has been an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Law at UWE Bristol since March 2019. Her research interests focus on terrorism financing and money laundering. Her doctoral thesis critically considers the efficacy of the profit-driven reporting model in detecting financial flows linked to terrorism through the examination and comparison of relevant law in the United Kingdom, the United Sates and Belgium in addition to the International Legal Framework. Charlie worked as a research assistant for Professor Nicholas Ryder and Ester Herlin-Karnell, (2019) Market Manipulation and Insider Trading – Regulatory Challenges in the United Stated of America, the European Union and the United Kingdom (Hart, 2019) and is currently working on a book chapter, co-authored by her supervisor, Professor Nicholas Ryder, evaluating Belgium’s Suspicious Activity Reports regime. During her time at UWE Bristol, Charlie has taught across several modules including Law of Financial Crime and Regulation, Commercial Law, Foundations for Law and Introduction to Law in a Social, Businesses and Global Context.

Cleverline Brown

Cleverline is a legal practitioner and holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in Law from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. As an early career researcher, prior to coming to UWE Bristol to pursue a PhD, Cleverline was a lecturer at the Rivers State University Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She practised law and acquired experience as a barrister and a corporate lawyer. She is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association, World Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and Environment and an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Environmental law and policy in Nigeria have come a long way since the discovery of petroleum in the 1950s and the introduction of environmental regulatory agencies in Nigeria. In recent times, the petroleum sector has produced laws, policies and standards aimed at regulating petroleum sector operations. The laws have achieved far less than was intended in terms of effective environmental regulation due to compliance and enforcement inadequacies. This reveals the fact that law alone is no longer the central theme in the quest for a compliance and environmentally friendly petroleum sector. The search for a more effective regulatory strategy has revealed practical solutions and strategies applicable to operations in the petroleum sector. Her research examines the Nigerian petroleum sector and the evolution of the petroleum sector regulatory regime over the years and traces its regulatory architectural metamorphosis highlighting what has worked and what needs review or total departure. It will be argued that the existing compliance and enforcement model though necessary has not translated to the effective regulation of the petroleum sector under the existing regulatory regime. Compliance and enforcement strategies that will appropriately address the environmental problems faced and be in consonance with the socio-economic and political construct of Nigeria will be identified such as will promote the development of more compliance mechanisms to encourage more effective compliance and enforcement of environmental regulation.

Demelza Hall

Demelza has been a student at UWE Bristol since 2010, completing her Law LLB in 2013 and Commercial Law LLM in 2015. Demelza began her PhD part-time in October 2016. In addition to completing her PhD, she is an Assistant Support Lecturer at UWE Bristol;  the modules she teaches on are Foundations for Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law, and Law of Financial Crime and Regulation. Outside of research and work, she enjoys helping out on the farm, and keeping fit by competing in triathlons.

Demelza's thesis explores the link between the contribution of fraud and poor corporate governance to financial crises in the US over the past 100 years. Specifically, the research focuses on the Great Depression, Savings and Loans crisis, and 2008 financial crisis, critically analysing the regulation of fraud and corporate governance relating to corporations within the US financial sector over this period.

Diana Johnson

Diana is a solicitor and Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol and has a particular interest in the use of competition law to enforce financial crime, with a particular focus on benchmark rate manipulation cartels. Diana is currently undertaking research as part of a PhD which examines how competition law was used in the US and EU rather than in the UK in response to the 2012 financial crisis.

Diana has worked in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition and in an International law firm in Brussels advising clients on competition law. In addition to this, whilst practicing as a corporate lawyer in Osborne Clarke (Bristol), Diana advised clients on transactions including corporate re-structurings, management buy-outs, AIM flotations and company sales and purchases. She has published various papers on competition law and financial crime.

The aim of Diana’s PhD is to carry out an analysis of the role that competition law plays in regulating and enforcing benchmark fixing in the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US). This will be done using a comparative methodology. Since the Financial Services Authority (FSA) imposed the first financial penalty on Barclays Bank in 2012 (£59.5 million), numerous financial penalties have been imposed on corporations for breaching FSA rules. Subsequently, banks have been fined over £2 billion by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for misconduct and manipulation of various benchmark rates such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), the Foreign Exchange (FX) benchmark, the LBMA Gold Price and the ISDAfix rates. However, none of these fines were made using the FCA’s competition law powers. Therefore, this research considers whether using competition law powers in the regulation of benchmark rate fixing will provide the UK’s financial services regulator with greater and wider reaching powers if used in future enforcement of benchmark rate fixing. This research will compare the UK’s enforcement approach of benchmark rate fixing to that of the EU and the US in order to conclude whether a change in enforcement policy or powers is needed in the UK.

Hiep Duong

Hiep is a candidate of the Mekong 1000 Project whose mission is to train high-skilled staff overseas to serve the development of the Mekong Delta. He was awarded a scholarship by this project to study a doctoral degree at UWE Bristol (2015-present). His research focuses on the area of corporate insolvency law. With the co-supervision of Professor Nicholas Ryder, Dr Clare Chamber-Jones and Dr Lachmi Singh-Rodriges, Hiep has recently completed his thesis Rethinking Corporate Rescue Law of Vietnam under the Perspective of the United Kingdom and Canada, which examines how three models of Debtor-in-Possession (DIP), the Professional-in-Possession (PIP) and the hybrid models are adopted under the corporate rescue laws of the United Kingdom, Canada and Vietnam. The thesis’ aim is to offer Vietnam recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of its rescue law based on the best practices drawn from the comparison on the rescue law of the three jurisdictions. The thesis mainly employs the socio-legal methodology, supported by the doctrina-l and comparative methods to answer the questions of how models of rescue administration are regulated under the insolvency legislation of the three countries, what benchmarks can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a rescue law, and what lessons Vietnam can learn from the best practices emerging from the UK and Canada to enhance the effectiveness of its rescue law.

Noah Afedolor Izoukumor

Noah is a year three PhD research student who is researching on Legal Responses by The Nigerian Government to Climate Change: The Implications for Sustainable Development in Nigeria. The focus of academics on climate change centred on the global efforts of regulating the emissions of GHG under the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, especially the developed countries’ obligations. Even few academics that discussed climate change relating to Nigeria did not discuss influx of climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement such as the Nigeria NDC and SDG 13 and the standards created by these international instruments at the national level. This research shifts the discourse to Nigeria - a developing country with a particular focus on the laws and policies formulated domestically to combat the consequences of climate change with the aim of fulfilling Nigeria’s international obligation under the climate change regime.

Salman Aljawder

Salman obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (BSc) in October 2010 from the New York institute Of Technology. During his undergraduate studies, Salman worked for six months as an accountant at Bahrain Constitutional Court.  After successfully completing his degree, Salman worked as an accountant at Bahrain Defence Force and, since 2015, Salman has worked in his country’s Federal Intelligence Unit. Salman is currently pursuing a PhD on counter terrorism financing and its association with cryptocurrencies.

Siavash Ostovar

Siavash's PhD thesis is in environmental law - Bringing the Ramsar Convention Home: A Critical Examination of the Legal Regulation of the Ecosystem of Lake Urmia in which he evaluated the international environmental convention (Ramsar Convention), Iran’s national environmental regulations, ecosystem services of internationally important wetlands, Lake Urmia ecosystem services and direct and indirect drivers changing the ecosystem of wetlands. His presentation in the 20th International Research Conference on Environmental Law Studies in 2018 was awarded the best presentation. His paper, A Critical Examination of the Iranian National Legal Regulation of the Ecosystem of Lake Urmia, was published in the International Journal of Law and Political Sciences 13(1) in 2019. He is also interested in EU and international trade law and is an Immigration Lawyer regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissionaire, UK.

Ufuo Asanwana

Ufuo is a qualified lawyer and a member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) with eight years of post-call experience. In 2018, Ufuo successfully completed his LLM from UWE Bristol and his dissertation examined the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the sustainable management of natural resources in developing countries: Focus on the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

The findings of the LLM dissertation necessitated a further expansion of the issues at a doctoral level. The PhD research is on a critical evaluation of corporate social responsibility as an accessory to legal frameworks and institutions on sustainable regulation and management of natural resources in the global south. Global environmental challenges have become alarming, with growing concerns about the dangers inherent in the reckless exploitation of the natural environment by corporations in partnership with governments of resource-rich developing economies. More so is the apparent absence of strong and comprehensive regulatory mechanism to contend the growing global financial and economic influence of multinational enterprises (MNEs). The paradox of the 'resource curse' has contributed to increased interests and research on the impacts of exploitation of Natural Resources by MNEs and their subsidiaries, in collaboration with governments of developing countries, owing to some high-profile human rights abuse cases.

While there seems to be a convergence on the absence of a strong regulatory mechanism on corporate operations as a fundamental factor militating against sustainable development in developing countries, there appear to be a dearth of literature specifically dealing with the desirability of developing a robust CSR policy framework to cushion the lapses created by the absence of strong regulatory mechanisms, which the research seeks to demonstrate. For now, the research uses Nigeria and Venezuela as ideal comparators because both nations suffer from the resource curse and the attendant social, and legal vices traceable to natural resources exploitation. Therefore, the main objective of the research is to critically examine the impact so far, of natural resources exploitation laws in developing countries, including where, how, and the methods CSR can be employed to address perceived weaknesses of these laws, and to also provide reformative solutions where necessary.