The following projects represent the range of research work carried out by Law staff.

Comparative Extradition - Law and Practice:

Extradition law and practice within multi-jurisdictional states can be complex and engender criticisms. This is the case in the United Kingdom/Scotland context. The investigation sought to discover and analyse the law and practice in the South African/Western Cape context. The analysis sought to discover if there were mechanisms to address criticisms whilst remaining the integrity of the federal extradition law, and fed into a more extensive research interest, which culminated in the publication of Law Across Borders: The Extraterritorial Application of United Kingdom Law, Routledge, 2012.

Dr Paul Arnell, funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

Bereaved relatives' experiences in relation to authorised and procurator fiscal postmortems: a qualitative study.

Concerns about post mortem practice in both the NHS and procurator fiscal setting arose in the wake of the so called ‘organ retention scandal’ in the late 1990s. This small scale qualitative study explored the experience of bereaved individuals in the Grampian area who had been asked to give consent for a post mortem to be conducted, or whose relative had undergone a post mortem as required by the procurator fiscal, after the introduction of the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act (2006). Capturing a range of experiences (‘expected’/sudden death, stillbirth and neonatal death, agreement and refusal to the postmortem request and involvement of the criminal justice system) semi structured interviews were conducted with thirteen participants. Utilising framework analysis, four significant themes emerged in the data. These were; the importance of understanding the post mortem process as being nestled within the narrative constructed by relatives around the death, the significance attached to saying goodbye to the deceased, the emphasis  on 'communicative relationship's rather than static information (e.g. information leaflets), and the significance of compassionate care for the bereavement experience. The elucidation of these themes will serve to highlight both aspects of best practice and where improvement may be beneficial.

Dr Sarah Christie, as part of a multi-disciplinary team from Health and Social Care, funded by NHS Grampian Endowment Fund.

Analysis of Complicity and Spheres of Influence:

The research was designed to identify the contemporary position in Europe as reflected in the relevant case law. What became increasingly evident was the lack of case law between private parties although complicity has been recognised at the state level, something which is currently being explored by the International Commission of Jurists. The primary finding was that the notions of complicity and spheres of influence within UK and European jurisdictions do not feature in the case law between private parties. Complicity, it is acknowledged, has been recognised at state level. The research indicates a paucity of case law but what there is may provide some assistance in clarifying complicity and spheres of influence, at an international level, reference will also have to be made to extra-judicial sources. An identification of these demands further research.

(This was a British Academy Grant award of £6586, for a three month period. The grant was made to support an attempt to clarify complicity and spheres of influence as relevant to corporations and the discharge of their human rights obligations in pursuance of their business activities. A clarification of the legal concept, complicity, is necessary so as to provide a guide as to when a corporation may be under a duty to act or not to act. A clarification of sphere of influence, a non-legal concept is necessary to determine the boundaries of a corporation’s responsibilities vis a vis other entities in the supply chain.
Further information from Professor Rebecca Wallace on

Analysis of the application of UK Gender Guidelines within the UK determination process:

The Research project sought to analyse the impact of the IAA Gender Guidelines, issued in November 2000, on the UK asylum determination process.
The aims and objectives were to identify the instances in which the Gender Guidelines (the Guidelines) have been employed. The raison d'etre of the research was to determine whether the Guidelines have had an impact and if so whether that impact had been at the first level of decision making in the appeal process or whether it was more perceptible within the jurisprudence of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal. The research sought to determine, within a three-year time frame, namely January 2001 to December 2003, whether the Guidelines and their stated objectives had been realised in practice. The research methodology employed was two-fold, empirical research and traditional desk-based research. The conclusion as to how the Guidelines are applied was disappointing with the Guidelines being regarded as something specific rather than part of the mainstream asylum decision-making process. The overriding conclusion was that the Guidelines’ application was the exception rather than the norm. (A Nuffield Research Grant of £5000 for a period of three months.
Further information from Professor Rebecca Wallace on

Corporate Social Responsibility resources for business:

This project, funded by the European Social Fund, was designed to provide an overview of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the contemporary business environment with particular emphasis on the tools required to introduce and to implement CSR into business. It was designed primarily for small to medium size businesses, to provide a resource to support them in introducing and implementing CSR. The module introduces the language of CSR and addresses issues such as human rights, the environment, the various approaches to CSR (e.g. EU and UN) as well as management systems, the concept of accountability and measures of performance.

Consultation on Civil Partnership Registration:

This project was carried out by the Centre for Public Policy and Management and involved analysing responses to questions put to a cross-section of the public on issues surrounding the registration of civil partnerships. To view the paper go to:

Characteristics of Divorce in Scotland:

This Scottish Executive-funded research is being carried out in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh. The project centres on the examination of court records on divorce in Scotland for the 3 year period 1999-2001 and updates a 1992 Central Research Unit report on the topic.

Research into Stalking and Harassment in Scotland:

This project was undertaken in collaboration with NFO System 3 Research. The research was commissioned by the Scottish Executive and was reported in Summer 2002. The project explores the nature and extent of stalking, public and professional attitudes to the issue and the scope for change in the law to address the problems associated with stalking behaviour. For further details link to:

Consultation on Charity Law Reform:

This project was undertaken by the Centre for Public Policy and Management team for the Scottish Executive. This project involves analysing the responses from a wide range of interested parties to the McFadden recommendations on charity law reform in Scotland. Further details from or link to:

Human rights: a comparison of the position of extradition in death penalty cases in South Africa with that of Canada and Western European states.

Collaboration here is with Mr Gerhard Kemp in the Faculty of Law, University of Stellenbosch. Contact Paul Arnell at