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Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference

The Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference (EPLC) was established in 2013. It is an annual conference organised by PhD students at Edinburgh Law School. It aims to showcase new and innovative research by postgraduate students from throughout the UK and beyond in the fields of law and criminology.

Old College Quad

EPLC 2024

From Words to Action: Rethinking Justice in a Globalised World

The 10th Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference will take place on 29-30 May 2024. 

Conference Guide

Registration Link (Eventbrite)

About the conference

Globalisation is not a recent phenomenon, but it is continuously evolving, manifesting itself anew on a daily basis. As a consequence of this ongoing evolution, globalisation is resurfacing within legal domains that notably intersect with our lives, specifically within the realms of governance, economy, healthcare, environment, and technology. These areas are not only distinct but intricately connected to the field of law, where globalisation manifests its influence. In an era marked by unprecedented global interconnectedness, the concept of justice is undergoing a transformative revaluation. The Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference 2024 on “From Words to Action: Rethinking Justice in a Globalised World” invites PhD candidates and young legal scholars, practitioners, and researchers to engage in, and contribute to, a comprehensive exploration of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the evolving landscape of global justice. 

At this juncture, it is imperative to add a caveat that this call not only addresses the challenges and opportunities related to practical applications in currently regulated areas under the theme 'From Words to Action' but also emphasises the need for a broad perspective that includes areas not yet legally regulated, falling behind the trends of globalisation and development. 

We encourage submissions that critically examine the themes in various legal areas, including but not limited to: 

International Law
Human Rights Law 
Environment Law
Legal Theory and Legal History 
Criminal Law and Criminology 
EU Law 
Commercial Law
IP, Media and Technology Law 
Constitutional Law
Medical Law
Family Law
Immigration Law

International Law and Conflict Resolution: 

  • Evaluating the effectiveness and shortcomings of current international legal frameworks in addressing global justice issues.
  • Exploring innovative models of legal governance to meet the demands of a rapidly globalising world.
  • Analysing the complexities of legal disputes in an interconnected world.
  • Examining the role of international courts and tribunals in resolving cross-border disputes and promoting justice.

Human Rights Law and Global Justice:

  • Analysing the enforcement and limitations of human rights in a globalised world.
  • Evaluating the role of international human rights mechanisms in promoting justice worldwide.
  • Discussing legal strategies to address human rights violations across borders.

Environmental Law and Sustainability in a Global Context:

  • Examining legal frameworks addressing global environmental challenges and climate change.
  • Analysing the role of law in promoting sustainable development goals on a global scale.
  • Discussing international agreements and legal mechanisms for environmental conservation.
  • Exploring legal strategies to hold corporations accountable for environmental impact across borders.

Legal Theory and Legal History in a Global Context:

  • Tracing the evolution of legal theories and their impact on legal systems historically and in a global context.
  • Analysing key historical legal events and their influence on contemporary legal frameworks.
  • Exploring intersections between legal history, jurisprudence, and contemporary legal theories.

Criminal Law and Criminology:

  • Examining the relationship between criminal law and criminology in understanding and addressing global crime trends.
  • Discussing the role of criminological research in shaping criminal justice policies and reforms.
  • Analysing the effectiveness of criminal law in preventing and responding to modern crimes.

EU Law:

  • Exploring the legal implications of European Union laws and regulations on member states and beyond.
  • Assessing the impact of EU legal frameworks on trade, human rights, and governance in a global context.
  • Discussing challenges and opportunities within the evolving landscape of EU law.

Commercial Law and Global Trade Justice:

  • Analysing the impact of globalisation on international trade agreements and commercial transactions.
  • Discussing legal challenges and opportunities in cross-border business dealings.
  • Evaluating legal mechanisms to resolve international trade disputes and promote fair practices.

Intellectual Property, Media, and Technology Law:

  • Examining the legal challenges and opportunities in the convergence of intellectual property, media, and technology.
  • Discussing legal issues related to digital media, copyright, and technology-driven innovation.
  • Analysing the impact of technological advancements on IP rights and media law.

Constitutional Law:

  • Evaluating the role of constitutional law in safeguarding rights and liberties in diverse global contexts.
  • Discussing constitutional reforms and their impact on governance, justice, and societal structures.
  • Exploring comparative constitutional studies to understand the challenges and adaptations in different legal systems.

Medical Law:

  • Analysing legal and ethical dilemmas in healthcare, medical research, and patient rights on a global scale.
  • Discussing the intersection of medical ethics, law, and technological advancements in healthcare.
  • Examining legal frameworks governing medical practices and the implications of healthcare policy on legal structures.

Family Law:

  • Examining the evolution of family law and its adaptation to changing societal norms and globalisation.
  • Discussing legal challenges related to marriage, divorce, child custody, and family rights across cultures.
  • Exploring the role of family law in addressing international family disputes and cross-border issues.

Immigration Law:

  • Analysing legal frameworks governing immigration, asylum, and refugee rights in different jurisdictions.
  • Discussing the impact of globalisation on immigration policies and their implications for human rights.
  • Exploring challenges and solutions in addressing immigration-related legal issues in a globalised world.

2023 – "Law in the 21st Century: Challenges and Adaptations"

The rapid developments of the 21st century have created new challenges for the law regime.   The novel concepts of climate change and social responsibility have introduced new governance concepts to the traditional financial regulatory system, such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance). Technology developments, such as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, challenge the boundaries of data protection law and intellectual property law. Military conflicts and trade disputes highlight the difficulty for the law to regulate international relations, and demonstrate the ever-present role of politics in such matters.  However, the list does not end here. On the one hand, it could be argued that every area of law is influenced by social and historical developments.  On the other hand, should the law only be reactive?

What are the challenges brought by new trends? How would these new trends shift our understanding of law? Should the law evolve to cope with these challenges? If so, in what manner? The Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference (EPLC) 2023 welcomed proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers, who graduated no longer than three years ago, reflecting on the topic of “Law in the 21st Century: Challenges and Adaptations”.  The theme was deliberately broad and open to interpretation, and proposals of any legal research areas werw welcome. 

2022 – “Back to the Future: The Law in the Age of Uncertainty” 

It has become almost commonplace to hear that we live in uncertain times. Our world is a constantly insecure one, with rapidly changing technology, economic instability, the erosion of rights protection across the globe, challenges to the basis of our democratic systems and the contours of nation- states, all in the shadow of an ever-more imposing climate crisis and the throes of a global pandemic. The law has many roles to play in keeping society afloat in these turbulent times. Legal systems can provide structure to our society, creating new frameworks that can anticipate future challenges and build processes for resolving uncertainty in how our society is governed. The law can shape human behaviour to manage or reduce uncertainty and charters of legally protected rights can provide a guaranteed basis of stable and equal treatment for all in times of change, especially where fundamental protections are under threat. But the law itself can also be an instrument of uncertainty, where it is co-opted for divisive or partisan ends or where it is set in broader unstable regulatory systems. Where, then, does the law sit in this age of uncertainty? Is it acting as a force for good in our society, or do our legal systems need reform to ensure this? Has it fulfilled this role in the past, and will it continue to do so in the future?
This conference explored these questions by looking at the various roles of the law in different areas of contemporary and future social life

2021 – “Great Expectations – When Law Meets Reality” 

This conference examined the relationship between the expectations we have of the law, and how the legal system operates in reality. The keynote speakers were: Lady Wolffe, judge of the Court of Session; Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh; and Sharon Cowan, Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

2020 – “Law and the New World Order” 

This conference examined how the law responds to the multiplicity of issues and challenges created by increasing political uncertainty. The keynote speaker was Professor Andrew Lang, Professor of International Law and Global Governance at the University of Edinburgh.

2018 – “The law as it should be” 

This conference explored the various political and social issues that necessitate legal change, the law’s responses to these issues, and the notion of legal change itself. The keynote speaker was Doctor Rumiana Yotova, Lecturer in International Law, Fellow and Director of Studies in Law at the University of Cambridge.

2017 – “Law and its Boundaries” 

This conference considered the role of legal regulation at a pivotal point in our history when it seemed that many legal, political, and technological boundaries were coming under unprecedented strain. The keynote speaker was Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Anniversary Chair in Law at Queen Mary, University of London.

2016 – “Law in an age of Technological Management” 

This conference considered the impact of various technological developments on the law. The keynote speaker was Professor Roger Brownsword, Professor of Law at King’s College London.

2014 – “Innovation in the law: New challenges, New perspectives”

This conference examined how the law could be reconceptualised in new and innovative ways to meet emerging global challenges and included presentations on rethinking international law, states’ rights, secession and self-determination and theories of justice and the judicial role. The keynote speakers were Dr Shawn Harmon, Reader at the University of Edinburgh; Professor Lesley Mcara, Professor of Penology at the University of Edinburgh; and Professor Burkhard Schaffer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory at the University of Edinburgh.

2013 – “Law, Individual, Community” 

This conference explored the various ways the law interacts with both individuals and communities and included presentations on liberalism versus communitarianism and community interests and the protection of the environment. The keynote speakers were Martin Loughlin, Professor of Public Law at LSE; and John Harris, Sir David Alliance Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester.

EPLC 2024

Gokce Kolukisa

Gokce Kolukisa

As the chairperson of the conference organizing committee, Gokce Kolukisa is a PhD candidate in law at the University of Edinburgh. Her main research interests are public international law, human rights, bioethics, genetics, biotechnology law.

Jin Wang

Jin Wang

Jin Wang is a PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She attained her LLM degree in commercial law from the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include international commercial law and international arbitration.

Muhammet Dervis METE

Muhammet Dervis METE

Muhammet is currently a third-year doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh. His project focuses on constitutional referendums in competitive authoritarian regimes in Latin America. After completing his LLM at Durham University in 2018, Muhammet pursued another master's degree in the field of Public International Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2019. This endeavor was funded by the prestigious and merit-based Jean Monnet Scholarship provided by the European Commission. His primary areas of interest include Constitutional Law, Constitutional Referendums, Constitutional Crises, Democracy Theories, Populism and Authoritarianism, Parliamentary and Presidential Elections, Election Law, and Human Rights Law.

Xinyu Lyu

Xinyu Lyu

Xinyu Lyu, currently pursuing her PhD in competition law at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to this, she specialized in International Commercial Law, earning her LLM from the University of Limerick. Her research is focused on exploring the legal challenges and opportunities within the digital economy, particularly in the realms of technology, market dynamics, and legal frameworks. She holds a keen interest in emerging technologies, digital markets, data monopoly, and fair competition.

EPLC 2023

Aziz Öztürk, Chenghuai Xu, Eric Chang, Ammar Tanhan, Claudia Paduano, Annalisa Battista

EPLC 2022

Martina Cerna, Matthew Cleary, Lisa Cowan, Tahir Erdogan, Aziz Ozturk, Pravar Petkar

EPLC 2021

Mirjana Gavrilović Nilsson, Zahra Jaffer, Alice Krzanich, Hashim Mude, Shona Warwick

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