Law Dissertation Topics
Completing a dissertation can be a daunting task for anyone. This is particularly true for law students – any issue tackled in a law dissertation should be framed carefully, and 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 statutes, cases and regulations in order to carefully scrutinise the issue. A law dissertation is also challenging as it is important to select appropriate legal authorities and legal terms, whether in print or online. There are also many rules to follow in creating and deciphering legal citations. All this can make it difficult to know where to begin. To give you an idea for a brilliantly accomplished law dissertation, this article suggests some law dissertation 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.
• A critical examination of the need for the reform of homicide offences in England and Wales in light of the Law Commission’s proposals.
• An investigation of the impact of the ‘war on terror’ on the construction and enforcement of international criminal law.
• An analysis of the ability of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to determine consent in the offence of rape.
• A critical discussion of complaints in the criminal justice system in England and Wales: investigation and evidence.
• A critical discussion on public order, state interests and the threat of gang criminality.
• An examination of the adequacy of the partial defences of diminished responsibility and loss of control to a murder charge.
• An investigation of problems in identifying the nature, extent and distribution of crime
• A critical discussion on the construction of the law on omissions liability and ‘Bad Samaritan’ laws.
• A theoretical assessment of criminal theory: the intersection between crime, criminality and morality in criminal law.
• An assessment of the ability of criminal law to deal with new manifestations of criminality: the case of the rise and prevalence of acid attacks.
• An evaluation of the offence of joint enterprise criminality in England and Wales: the evidence to support reform.
• An assessment of the need to protect anonymity of those accused of sexual offences: the balance between defendant and victim rights.
Commercial Law Dissertation Topics
Commercial law is often described as covering a wide area and cannot really be dealt with in isolation. Frequently, it will 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.
• A discussion on the ability of commercial law to support commercial transactions in the UK: the case for reform.
• Is the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) better suited to international contracts than existing English sales law?
• A critical assessment of the international commercial arbitration system as a cost effective and efficient means to administer justice in commercial disputes.
• A comparative analysis of the principles of English commercial contracts, international commercial contracts and European contract law.
• An evaluation of Lex Mercatoria in England and Wales as choice of law for commercial arbitration proceedings.
• An assessment of security over personal property: possessory and non-possessory forms of security and other legal devices.
• An investigation of the emergence of new manifestations of international commercial law.
• A critical discussion on 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 in the aftermath of Brexit.
• A critical assessment of the passing of risk in commercial law.
• A legal assessment of the role of commercial law in sustaining public private partnerships: the lessons from the Carillion Collapse.
• An investigation of the sufficiency of commercial insolvency laws in the UK.
• Consumer protection in the post Brexit era – opportunity or threat? An assessment of the future of consumer protection in the UK in the post Brexit era.
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. 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 the shareholder verses stakeholder argument in relation to corporate governance.
• An investigation of the importance of the non-executive director in the Anglo-American corporate legal system.
• An exploration of the 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’? An examination of several arguments for and against the theory.
• A critical study of the legal and governance restrains on excessive executive director remuneration from the perspective of corporate governance.
• A critical assessment of the law on corporate manslaughter: the perspective of victims’ families.
• As assessment of the ability of UK Insolvency law to promote and deliver corporate rescue.
• A critical analysis of the regulation of UK public companies.
• An assessment of the protection of the minority shareholder in UK company law.
• An assessment of the need for company law reform in the wake of the Carillion Collapse: the case for reviewing director duties.
• An assessment of the need for the reform of merger and acquisition law in the UK to support long term economic stability: the case for increased simplicity.
• A study on the need for reform of national and international taxation rules to ensure multinational organisations pay their fair share of tax.
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.
• A critical assessment of the importance of foreseeability and policy in establishing a duty of care.
• A critical analysis of the rules curtailing the recovery of economic losses in tortious actions.
• 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 person? An analysis of the standard of care in professional negligence cases.
• Occupiers’ liability: when is a trespasser not a trespasser?
• Psychiatric harm – an impossible claim? An investigation of English jurisprudence that limits the recovery of psychiatric harm.
• The impact of Chester v Afshar on the law of Informed Consent.
• The duty of care owed to children: a step too far?
• An investigation of the need for policy considerations in tortious claims.
• An assessment of the need for reform of the rules to determine causation: the case of multiple and consecutive causes of the claimant’s loss.
• A critical discussion of the need to reform the law on nuisance.
• An exploration of the need to reform the rules to establish a duty of care in relation to public body defendants.
Employment Law Dissertation Topics
Employment law seems to be unduly concerned with the area of unfair dismissal with topics including unfair dismissal at common law, unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996, exclusions from unfair dismissal, the common law termination of a contract, the acquiring of employment rights including analysing the calculation of continuous employment and interruptions in work, and, finally employment tribunals. The reality is that there is much more to employment law than merely topics that are understood to be associated with unfair dismissal. This is because there are, some other very interesting areas which can be considered in the context of employment law, including discrimination, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the contract of employment itself as is set out below:
• 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.
• The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 – 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.
• How will employment law in the UK being impacted upon by Brexit?
• When does a contractor become an employee?
• How could the law as it relates to ‘Zero Hour Contracts’ be improved upon
EU Law Dissertation Topics
The law of the EU has been recognised as an ever-expanding area with a considerable amount of account of academic interest. For example, a growing interest has developed with regard to the effect that the law of the EU has had upon the UK constitution. In addition, it has also been recognised that there has been some considerable overlap between the law of the EU and constitutional and administrative Law. Moreover, it understood that the law of the EU serves to impact every area of UK life which is reflected in the examples of potential areas of research that are set out 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 101(1) and (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union improved international trade and competition within the EC?
• The effect of the European Union on Parliamentary Sovereignty.
• What aspects of the law of the European Union should the UK look to retain in the wake of Brexit?
• Why is it important for rights of citizens from the European Union to be recognised in the UK once Brexit has been completed?
• What impact will the UK’s Brexit serve to have upon the ongoing development of the law of the European Union?
Intellectual Property Dissertation Topics
The law as it relates to intellectual property covers the creation, use and protection of trademark, patents and copyright, together with other ancillary rights. Trademark-related dissertation topics include the absolute grounds for refusal of registration under section 3 of the Trade Marks Act 1994, the EU’s Trade Marks Directive, relative grounds for refusal of registering a trade mark under section 5 of the Trade Marks Act 1994, the infringement of trademarks, such as the use of similar or identical marks, invalidity, revocation, licensing and assignments of trademarks. Copyright-related dissertation topics are recognised as including 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 from the points set out above, there are clearly many topics that you could potentially choose from regarding the law as it relates to intellectual property that you could potentially cover in your dissertation, including the following potential subject areas set out below:
• 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 affected 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.
• To what extent are indigenous people’s rights to intellectual property effectively protected?
• What more could be done to improve the law to provide those people from less developed countries with greater protection of their intellectual property right?
• How will Brexit serve to impact upon the protection of intellectual property rights in the UK?
The English Legal System and Constitutional and Administrative Law Dissertation Topics
Essentially, the topic of the English Legal System and Constitutional and Administrative Law may be divided into three key areas. First, there is a need to consider the nature of the constitution which covers areas including conventions and the rule of law. Second, it is necessary to evaluate the executive and parliament, which could include areas such as the passage of legislation through Parliament, the delegation of legislation, deregulation and issues such as the relationship between Parliament, the crown and the Royal Prerogative, and the relationship between the executive, legislative and judicial functions of the state. Finally, Judicial Review is another area of interest that should be considered since it could include the basis for intervention by judicial review, such as ultra vires and illegality, procedural irregularity, irrationality, proportionality, and the nemo judex rule. Therefore, if the topic of the English Legal System and Constitutional and Administrative Law is of particular interest to you, then it is pertinent to consider one of the following subject 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?
• How will Brexit serve to impact upon the development of the English Legal System?
• In what ways will the relationship between constitutional and administrative law in the UK be affected by Brexit?
• How will the recognition of Parliamentary Sovereignty in the UK be impacted upon by Brexit?
Family Law Dissertation Topics
Family and the Law of Child is considered to cover 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 1998, 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 that may be of interest include the Child Support Act 1991, 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. With this in mind, specific subject areas that you may like to include for your dissertation are recognised as including 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 1991 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?
• To what extent are the rights of children currently effectively protected under UK law?
• How could the recognition of the right to a family life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 be improved upon in the UK?
• What could be done with the law as it relates to adoption to effectively reform it in the best interests of all potential stakeholders?
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