Section: Research


Research Interests

The research interests of ECPL members cover all the main areas of private law including contract, delict, unjustified enrichment, agency, property, succession, trusts, insolvency, labour law and family law. A number of different approaches are employed, so that the work of the Centre may emphasise, for example, comparative law or doctrinal history or legal theory or wider issues of policy. Law reform is also strongly represented, with seven members of the Centre being current or former Law Commissioners: Eric Clive, George Gretton, Hector MacQueen, Gerry Maher, Kenneth Reid, Andrew Steven and Niall Whitty.

The ECPL has close links with the legal profession, and publications by its members are widely used by practitioners and frequently cited in the courts at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court. Members of the Centre also play a key role in editing the 25-volume The Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia and Gloag and Henderson: The Law of Scotland, now in its 13th edition.

'Mixed' Legal System

Working in a 'mixed' legal system (i.e. one which combines elements of the common law and the civilian tradition), ECPL members are well placed to conduct research on European private law, and they have been prominent in projects such as the Draft Common Frame of Reference, the Principles of European Contract Law, the Principles of European Trust Law, and the Trento Project. In the absence of a civil code, the study of private law often involves a consideration of Scotland’s rich and diverse legal history, and much of the writing of the Centre is historically informed.

Another major research interest is the comparative study of mixed legal systems. In recent years members of the Centre have collaborated with colleagues in other mixed jurisdictions, most notably South Africa and Louisiana, to produce a series of comparative studies.

Ius Commune Research School

The Edinburgh Law School is an associate partner of the Ius Commune Research School, a joint collaboration of the Universities of Amsterdam, Leuven, Maastricht and Utrecht. In 2014 the Law School hosted its 19th annual conference

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