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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.

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EPLC 2023

Law in the 21st Century: Challenges and Adaptations

The 9th Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference will take place on 30-31 May 2023. 

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View the EPLC 2023 Conference Guide

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About the conference

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 welcomes 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 is deliberately broad and open to interpretation, and proposals of any legal research areas are welcome. 

EPLC 2023 will take a hybrid form. Speakers can either present in person at the Edinburgh Law School or participate online via video meeting platforms.  Sessions will be 25 minutes consisting of up to 15 minutes for presentations and up to 10 minutes for Q&A/discussion.

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 2022

Aziz Öztürk


As the chairman of the organising committee of the conference, Aziz is a PhD Candidate in Corporate Law at the University of Edinburgh. He is also an undergraduate law tutor for Business Entities Law course at the Edinburgh Law School. His research interests include comparative corporate law, corporate governance, corporate takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets.

Chenghuai Xu


Chenghuai Xu is a PhD candidate in law at the University of Edinburgh. He obtained his LLM degree from Boston University. His research has been presented at various research institutions including University of Cambridge and McGill University. His research interests include climate change, corporate law and securities law

Eric Chang


Zekun (Eric) Chang is a second-year PhD Student. His research interests include law and economics, corporation law, corporate governance and security law.

Ammar Tanhan


Ammar Tanhan is a third-year PhD student in International Economic Law. He graduated from Marmara University with first-class honours and attained his LLM degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, from which he graduated with distinction. His research interests include International Trade Law, International Investment Law and International Arbitration.

Claudia Paduano


Claudia Paduano is a second-year PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Her main research interests are in the areas of company law, law and economics, and financial law.

Annalisa Battista

Annalisa Battista

Annalisa Battista is a second year PhD Candidate in Criminology. She is also a member of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and undergraduate tutor in the course Introduction to Global Crime and Justice within the Edinburgh Law School. She graduated First class in Criminology (BA Hons) at the University of Westminster and graduated with distinction in Criminology (MPhil) at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are in atrocity crimes, state crimes, CRSV and feminist criminology.

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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