Welcome to the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

The Royal Courts of Justice
Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense
DNA evidence is increasingly important


For over forty years the Oxford Centre has been at the forefront of research into the nature and role of law in society. More than a dozen researchers combine multi-disciplinary expertise.

Links with leading scholars in the Faculty of Law and throughout the University enhance the breadth of the Centre’s research and the resources available to both doctoral students and research staff.


Research projects

Law is approached as a historical and culturally specific mode of social organisation, taking different forms within and across different types of society. Looking beyond the modern west, as well as within it, the Centre’s researchers examine the nature and role of law in a variety of social and cultural contexts, including international settings. Their multi-disciplinary expertise is often applied in comparative and cross-cultural inquiries.

An evolving group of scholars is currently concerned with the social foundations of constitutions, economic and environmental regulation, the changing nature of civil justice, developments in media law, historical legalism, local attitudes to law, and studies in Russia, China, the Far East, and East Africa. This takes them to the heart of many contemporary social and political issues, including legal development and innovation, the expansion of trade and media, human rights, transitional justice, and migration. Historical analysis adds further perspectives.



The CSLS has a full-time research staff of fifteen and a student body of around thirty.

Associate Research Fellows, based in other institutions, participate in academic activities at the Centre or are engaged in joint research with its members.

Visiting researchers are welcomed.

Students from around the world are encouraged to undertake research degrees in the Centre’s multi-disciplinary environment.



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dedicated to the study of law in its social context