The Empirical Research Network (ERN) at Melbourne Law School brings together academics undertaking empirical research across the Faculty, building a community of practice in this area.
The activities of the Network include:
- Seminars on particular empirical methods, and tools that assist empirical research.
- Work-in-progress seminars, featuring work occurring within the Faculty, which particularly focus on the methodological decisions and challenges facing a particular piece of research.
- Seminars by Faculty visitors undertaking empirical research, and individuals from other Faculties looking to collaborate with legal researchers.
- Building a mailing list, expertise list and community among those undertaking empirical research, to allow effective communication and the building of connections between scholars.
- Supporting empirical teaching, including in the JD, LLM and PhD programmes.
- Providing a supportive environment for the development of grant proposals, including by demonstrating a core of empirical research in the Faculty.
- Sponsorship and support of PhD students.
- Methodological training for Faculty members, and linking Faculty members with training available in other parts of the university.
The Importance of Empiricial Legal Research
Legal scholars are increasingly attuned to the substantial benefits that can be derived from empirical and socio-legal scholarship. Empirical legal research offers new and challenging insights into law in the real world and how law operates in practice.
Empirical legal research involves the use of direct methods to study how law operates in practice. As noted by Genn, Partington and Wheeler, ‘empirical research helps us to understand the law better and an empirical understanding of the law in action helps us to understand society better’. Therefore, empirical research facilitates investigation beyond ‘law on the books’ to consider legal results.
Members of Melbourne Law School are undertaking high quality empirical research on a wide range of topics. The projects below represent their major expertise and interests.
Restoring public trust in charities - reforming governance and enforcement
Work in franchises: searching for solutions at the regulatory frontier
Regulating cumulative environment effects: designing global best practice
Addressing age discrimination in employment
The meaning of home for children after parental separation
Financial exclusion, poor insurer practices and consumer protection
Devising a Legal Blueprint for Corporate Energy Transition
The use and impact of legal solutions to consumer over-indebtedness: a comparison of Australian and Dutch approaches
Can the master’s tools dismantle the master’s house? Queer perspectives on law, difference, and radicalism after marriage equality in Australia
- Empirical Research Services - Harvard Law School
- Frans L. Leeuw and Hans Schmeet, Empirical Legal Research: A Guidance Book for Lawyers, Legislators and Regulators, (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016), available online in the Library Catalogue
- Peter Cane and Herbert M. Kritzer (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research, (Oxford University Press 2010), available online in the Library Catalogue
- Mike McConville and Wing Hong Chui, Research Methods for Law, (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), available online in the Library Catalogue
- Martyn Hammersley, What is Qualitative Research?, (Bloomsbury, 2012), available online in the Library Catalogue
- Rosalind Ewards and Jane Holland, What is Qualitative Interviewing?, (Bloomsbury, 2013), available online in the Library Catalogue
- Donatella Della Porta and Michael Keating Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences: A Pluralist Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2008)
- Patricia Leavy, Oral History: Understanding Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2014)
- Simon Halliday and Patrick Schmidt (eds.), Conducting Law and Society Research: Reflections on Methods and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2009) available online in the Library Catalogue
- Alysia Blackham, Empirical Research and Workplace Discrimination Law (open access copy: ageworks.org)
- Qualitative Journeys - A resource for University of Melbourne students conducting qualitative research
- Melbourne Medical School - Short Courses - The Melbourne Medical School offers its expertise, world-class teaching staff and resources to deliver a number of professional development and customised non award programs.
- Training Initiative for Asian Law & Society Scholars [TRIALS] - Cente for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore
- RMIT’s Qualitative Interest Group (headed by Helen Marshall)