For its REF 2021 submission, the Law Research Centre submitted two Impact Case Studies, relating to the law and practice of Insolvency Litigation and Pre-Pack Administration. Both have had strong policy and practice impact and changes to Pre-Pack Administration are ongoing, both in the UK and overseas, where Australian law has also been influenced as a result. Work in this area is vital and forms a living component of the life of the Law Research Centre with evidence of succession for Early Career Researchers. The funded research carried out by Dr Lezelle Jacobs on behalf of INSOL International, has led to her being invited to present her research and recommendations on insolvency ethics to a combined audience of the Insolvency Bankruptcy Board of India, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and the three Indian Insolvency Professional Agencies.
The Impact Case Studies were selected as the strongest examples of our research engendering impact and they possess synergies with each other. Strong ongoing policy and practice impact with regard to the Pre-Pack Administration Case Study and a commercially funded 2020 Report on insolvency litigation funding underlines the sustainability of the Law Research Centre’s impact going forward. Funded research on Company Voluntary Arrangements conducted by Walton and Jacobs in 2018 will have fully evidenced impact in the next REF cycle as well as the effect of further Government funded research on corporate rescue.
In addition to our long-established expertise in insolvency law, we continue to target other areas of impactful research. We have identified and continue to identify areas of longstanding specialism and are ensuring they remain sustainable while encouraging new areas of expertise. Our collaborative work on protracted police disciplinary procedures is informing changes in the approach to such proceedings by West Midlands Police. We have a burgeoning expertise in legal pedagogy and many colleagues write research-informed textbooks used both by students and practitioners alike. Our research is designed to inform and to have educational impact, as well as to have direct impact outside academia. Walton’s findings on insolvency law have also impacted on law and practice nationally and attracted international attention, leading to his being commissioned to re-draft Kenya’s insolvency legislation.
Our expertise in intellectual property law is the basis for forging collaborations with the creative industries, nationally and internationally. Researchers in the Law Research Centre work closely with industry professionals from under-represented groups, to create inclusive and diverse spaces for artists of all genders, race, ages, disabilities and nationalities. This is indicative of the ability of our vibrant research community to have really strong impact globally.
What Impact We Have
In order to ensure vitality and secure sustainability, we have invested in a number of projects, intended to have long-term effects.
WMLDN is a research network designed to support research and knowledge exchange for PGR students at Wolverhampton Law School and across the region.
Cross Faculty Collaboration (CFC)
As mentioned above, cross-faculty cooperation started in 2018, between the Law School, the Business School, the School of Art and the School of Performing Arts. In addition to the lectures on Intellectual Property Law given to students in the Schools of Art and Performing Arts, students of the Law School are given a context in which creative talent drives its work. For example, law students being given the opportunity to work with artists and businesses from the region on issues in practice (CFC Live Cases). Law students are presented with contextual knowledge to support their studies of Intellectual Property Law. Additionally, researchers in the Law School are working with musical experts in the School of Performing Arts to create a non-profit publishing organisation. Furthermore, the Law School and the Business School have designed an interdisciplinary workshop, called “Build Your Brand Value with Trade Marks”, which was first offered to participants of the Black Country Business Festival in May 2019 (with over 7,500 in attendance) and is repeated on an annual basis. Law researchers are also collaborating with scholars in the Business School on employing multi-modal interdisciplinary studies into sustainable Foreign Direct Investment.
A series of events aimed at “Celebrating Women in Law”
Throughout 2019, there was a range of activities within the Law School to celebrate women in law, inspired by the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 and the First 100 Years project. As part of these celebrations and regarding our commitment to interdisciplinary cooperation, a student art competition led to the creation of six portraits of Law School alumnae being displayed in the Law School. These events have inspired annual conferences for International Women’s Day and projects, which represent and celebrate women’s achievements at the Law School. In 2021, the Law School unveiled Women in Law Artwork, by Wolverhampton School of Art’s alumna, Ms Michaela Gieston. The artwork is displayed in the School’s corridors.