Nuffield Inquiry on Empirical Legal Research - Law in the Real World

In 2004, the Nuffield Foundation funded a major Inquiry into the UK’s capacity to carry out empirical research on how law works in the real world. The central issue it sought to address was how the capacity to undertake empirical research in law could be expanded.

The Inquiry's report, published in 2006, concluded:

  • Empirical legal research is increasingly important to and valued by policy makers, law reformers, the judiciary, academics and practitioners.
  • There is clear evidence of a developing crisis in the capacity of UK universities to undertake empirical legal research.

The recommendations were:

  • Establishment of Empirical Legal Research Leave Bursaries
  • Provision of Undergraduate Empirical Legal Research Bursaries
  • Creation of a scheme of Post-Graduate Empirical Legal Research Studentships
  • Funding of Empirical Legal Research Post- Doctoral Fellowships
  • Establishment of Mid-Career Cross-Disciplinary Bursaries
  • Creation of Special Empirical Legal Research Fellowships
  • Funding of Career Change Studentships for practising lawyers
  • Creation of special Professorial Mentoring Fellowships.

The Foundation supported the implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations through a further grant to Professor Dame Hazel Genn.

Project details



Professor Dame Hazel Genn, UCL Faculty of Laws

Funding programme

Law in Society

Grant amount and duration

Nuffield Inquiry on Empirical Legal Research


July 2003 - February 2007

Law in the Real World implementation plan


January 2007 - November 2008



Law in the Real World: Improving our Understanding of How Law Works, Genn H, Partington M and Wheeler S, Nuffield Foundation 2006

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