1.0 Introduction
Any issue tackled in a law dissertation should be framed carefully. Facts have to be examined meticulously before any dissertation question can be framed. It is of utmost importance in a law dissertation to locate sources for relevant cases, statutes and regulations in order to carefully scrutinize the issue. A law dissertation is challenging, as it is important to select appropriate legal authorities and appropriate legal terms, whether in print or online. There are rules to follow in creating and deciphering legal citations. All this makes it difficult to know where to begin. To give you an idea for a brilliantly accomplished law dissertation, this article suggests some topics for you, based in the areas of criminal law, commercial law, company law, tort law, employment law, EU law, intellectual property, constitutional law, administrative law and family law.

Criminal Law Dissertation Topics

Criminal law covers a wide range of areas and is an interesting and often topical area. It can be difficult to grasp some of the principles and subject areas and topics should be chosen very carefully. To help you to narrow down your area of research into criminal law, here are some suggestions on topics for your law dissertation.

  • Critically discuss homicide reform, the Law Commission’s reports, principles and proposals.
  • The impact of the “war on terror” on international criminal law.
  • Constructing the crime of rape and the boundaries of consent: the law, reform and development a critical analysis.
  • Complainants in the criminal justice system: investigation and evidence.
  • Problematising public order, State interests and the threat of groups.
  • Critically discuss the Government’s proposals on the amendments to the law on provocation.
  • Assess problems in identifying the nature, extent and distribution of crime.
  • Critically discuss the law of omissions liability and ‘Bad Samaritan’ laws.
  • Character, capacity, and choice conceptions of culpability.
  • Types of theoretical analysis and the need for criminal theory; the concept of a crime, and the place of morality in criminal law.

Commercial Law Dissertation Topics

Commercial law is a wide area and cannot really be dealt with in isolation. More often than not it will necessarily involve some kind of comparison with other countries. That said, there is a lot of focus on the UK as the commercial centre of choice, especially in relation to arbitration. This can provide an interesting focus for any law dissertation proposal. Some suggestions for commercial law topics are made below.

  • The fundamental purpose of commercial law is the facilitation of commercial transactions. Discuss. How does commercial law attempt to meet the needs of the commercial community?
  • Is the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) better suited to international contracts than existing English sales law?
  • Critically analyse the international commercial arbitration system.
  • Principles of English commercial contracts, international commercial contracts and European contract law – a comparative analysis.
  • Lex Marcatoria in England and Wales as choice of law for commercial arbitration proceedings.
  • Security over personal property: possessory and non-possessory forms of security and other legal devices, which effectively create a security interest.
  • The emergence of a new international commercial law.
  • Critically discuss the creation of a tripartite financial system in the UK and its role, if any, in the credit crunch,
  • A discussion of European Union Sale of Goods legislation and its place within the UK.
  • Critically analyse the international law on the passing of risk.

Company Law Dissertation Topics

There are numerous areas of interest in company law and topics can include, the effectiveness of the Companies Act, the benefits of incorporation, limited liability, lifting the veil of incorporation, the raising of capital and the payment of dividends to shareholders. In addition, topics like acquisitions, mergers and takeovers and aspects of insolvency such as administration, winding up and the emergence of rescue culture, are also topics for consideration. Potentially a very wide area, it is also useful to consider international aspects. If you are interested in company law as a subject for your law dissertation, some topics are listed below as a guide:

  • An examination of shareholder verses stakeholder argument in relation to corporate governance.
  • Non-executive director is an important element in the Anglo-American corporate legal system.
  • Transplantation of corporate legal regimes: Does it promote better corporate governance?
  • The protection of minority shareholders’ rights: Remedies to unfair prejudice and premises for bringing proceedings
  • What are the arguments for and against ‘stakeholder theory’? Examine several arguments for and against the theory.
  • Critically examine the legal and governance restrains on excessive executive director remuneration from the perspective of corporate governance.
  • Critically assess the law on corporate manslaughter.
  • UK Insolvency law and corporate rescue.
  • A Critical analysis of the regulation of the UK public company.
  • Protection of the minority shareholder.

Tort Law Dissertation Topics

The concept of Tort law effectively defines what is considered a legal injury, and establishes the circumstances whereby an individual may be held liable for another’s injury resulting from either intentional acts or accidents. It is potentially a wide area and includes areas such as professional negligence, misrepresentation and trespass both to land and the person. It is a complex area to study, so here are some suggestions to help you with your law dissertation on Tort Law.

  • Critically analyse the issues of foresee ability and causation in relation to the duty to take care.
  • A Critical analysis of economic loss.
  • Where there is blame there is a claim – An analysis of the growing compensation culture in the UK.
  • Gregg v Scott – Where does it leave loss of a chance?
  • Is Bolam still the reasonable man? An analysis of the standard of care.
  • Occupiers liability – When is a trespasser not a trespasser?
  • Psychiatric injury – An impossible claim?
  • The impact of Chester v Afshar on the law of Informed Consent.
  • The duty of care owed to children – A step too far?
  • The end of the road for loss of a chance?

Employment Law Dissertation Topics

Employment law seems unduly concerned with the area of unfair dismissal and would include topics such as unfair dismissal at common law, the Employment Rights Act 1996, the exclusions from unfair dismissal, termination of a contract at common law, the acquiring of employment rights including analysing calculation of continuous employment and interruptions in work, and employment tribunals. There are, however, some other very interesting areas which can be considered such as discrimination, TUPE and the Contract of Employment. An important subject for many employees within the UK, this would make for a well-read law dissertation. Suggested topics hereby follow:

  • Critically review the UK’s discrimination policies
  • Wrongful v Unfair – Which provides the greatest protection?
  • Employment and disabled people: A comparative and critical review of the literature and the law in the UK and US.
  • Legal aspects of the employee and employer relationship.
  • The legal position of casual and agency workers in the UK and in Europe.
  • Legal issues of the Contract of Employment.
  • TUPE – Does it adequately protect the rights of employees?
  • Do trade unions still have a role to play in English employment law?
  • Has the Employment Tribunal improved the position of employees and employers respectively?
  • Critically analyse the role of indirect discrimination in discrimination law.

EU Law Dissertation Topics

EU Law is an ever-expanding area and one that is quite interesting. There is growing interest on the effect EU law has on the UK constitution and therefore some overlap with constitutional and administration Law. EU law affects every area of UK life now and therefore it is a subject with a wide interest. A good area to base your law dissertation on – examples of specified research areas are below:

  • Critically assess the freedoms and their impact on the UK economy.
  • The effectiveness of EC law contribution of direct effect and state liability. Is there a need for an EU Constitution?
  • How important are enforcement actions against member states in the European law-making process?
  • Is integration in the European Union best explained by Federalism or Neo-Functionalism
  • EU political or economic: Tensions between social policy and trade.
  • How has the European Convention on Human Rights contributed to international human rights law?
  • To what extent does the European Union regulation of transport overlap with the regulation of state aid in the European Union?
  • How have Articles 81 (1) and (3) improved international trade and competition within the EC?
  • The effect of the European Union on Parliamentary Sovereignty.

Intellectual Property Dissertation Topics

Intellectual property covers trademark, patents and copyright, together with other ancillary rights. Trademark dissertations can included the absolute grounds for refusal of registration under section 3 of the Trade Marks Act, the Trade Marks directive, relative grounds for refusal of registering under section 5 of the Trade Marks Act, infringement of trademarks such as the use of similar or identical marks, invalidity, revocation, incensing and assignments of trademarks. Copyright includes the authorship, ownership and duration of copyright, copyright in film and sound recordings, literary, dramatic musical or artistic works, computers and copyright infringement, the need for originality, copyright and databases, works of architecture, adaptations, parallel imports, EC competition and copyright law, and primary and secondary infringement of copyrighted works. As you can see there are many topics that you could cover in your law dissertation, and here are suggestions of some of them.

  • The economical impact of intellectual property rights.
  • How is intellectual property protected on the Internet
  • Passing off and trademark law – Do they provide adequate protection in the UK?
  • Is the UK creating a right of confidence?
  • Innovation and the patent system. Can the current, overly stringent patent system still be an incentive for innovation?
  • Does UK copyright law provide an adequate balance between the needs of rights holders and users?
  • Does the Fair Use principle provide an effective exemption to UK copyright law?
  • How has European law effected intellectual property rights in the UK?
  • P2P File Sharing – How far does the law protect the holders of the intellectual property rights?
  • Does the UK intellectual property regime provide adequate protection? Compare and contrast with the position in the United States.

Constitutional and administrative law and the English Legal System Dissertation Topics

This topic can be divided into three areas essentially. The nature of the constitution which covers areas such as conventions and the rule of law, and secondly the area of executive and parliament, may be considered, which could include areas such the passage of legislation through Parliament, delegation of legislation, deregulation and issues such as the relationship between parliament, the crown and the prerogative, and the relationship between the executive, legislative and judicial functions of the state. Judicial Review is another area of interest and can include the basis for intervention by judicial review, such as ultra vires and illegality, procedural irregularity, irrationality, proportionality, and the nemo judex rule. If this area interests you when it comes to writing your law dissertation, you could research one of the following areas:

  • Should the legal system in the UK be fused, i.e. Is there a case for one legal profession?
  • To what extent do the different conceptualisations of Parliamentary Sovereignty affect the relationship between the courts and Parliament?
  • Does the UK need a constitution?
  • Discuss miscarriages of justice in the UK? Has the introduction of the Criminal Cases Review Commission improved the position?
  • Critically analyse the UK’s system of Judicial Review – Does it go far enough?
  • The legitimacy of the law is based upon its effectiveness- do you agree?
  • Are select committees a useful and helpful check on government activities?
  • What role does natural justice play in the UK Constitution?
  • Are conventions still a valid part of the UK Constitution?
  • Does the UK’s participation in the EU necessarily mean the end of Parliamentary Sovereignty?

Family Law Dissertation Topics

Family and the Law of Child covers a wide range of topics regarding the family and marriage including moves to harmonise the legal position of married and unmarried couples, the influence of the Human Rights Act, nullity, void and voidable marriages, the effects of a decree, statutory rights relating to marriage, the registration of marriages, and the case for reform of UK family law. Other topics of interest are the Child Support Act, financial orders for children, the enforcement of financial obligation to a child or children, the award of maintenance and the enforcement of the arrears of maintenance payments and enforcement of financial obligations in the Magistrates court. An area of law that is becoming more prominent in modern society, specific topics for your law dissertation could be one of the following:

  • Following the UK’s Government’s current research on domestic violence consider in detail theoretical and therapeutic approaches to spouse abuse
  • The Civil Partnership Act 2004. Have we felt the impact?
  • Social and legal foundations of marriage, civil partnership and parenting.
  • Is the “Best Interest” test outdated?
  • Has the Child Support Act improved the position regarding child maintenance? If not, why not?
  • Critically analyse the development of the law on divorce? Is it a product of the increased divorce rate or has it caused it?
  • Critically analyse the role of the local authority in child welfare.
  • Discuss the development of married women’s rights in property.
  • Discuss the role of the various orders (i.e. contact, prohibited steps orders) in relation to the concept that the interest of the child is paramount.
  • Family law – Is it time for reform?

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