Private law: theory and practice

Private law: theory and practice (PLTP) is an emerging area of research strength at the Law School. Benefiting from and utilising inter-disciplinary methodologies (including sociological, economics, psychological and philosophical), researchers in this field have produced prominent theoretical work that has led to direct engagement with policy-makers, such as the Law Commission. 

PLTP researchers continue to exert a strong influence on legal practice through editing the digest section of the Property, Planning & Compensation Law Reports and authoring Sweet & Maxwell’s Equity & Trusts Textbook (currently in its 4th edition). Combining leading doctrinal analysis with forefront theoretical inquiries, PLTP researchers cover core private law areas such as the law of obligations, property and equity, as well as labour law and family law. Michael Haley's work on business tenancies was recently cited (by both sides) before the Supreme Court in S Franses Ltd v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Ltd (2018).

Current work includes disability, equality and contract law (Eliza Varney), public benefit in charity law and the regulation of mortgage enforcement (Lara McMurtry), business leases, landlord and tenant law and trustees’ liability (Michael Haley), nondisclosure of genetic information, public interests in sharing genetic information, liability of genetic counsellors, and psychiatric injury (Michael Fay), patents and access to vaccines (Mark Eccleston Turner), access to courts and collaborative justice (Jane Krishnadas) and child care and safeguarding adults (Alison Brammer).

Alison Brammer was awarded an ESRC Seminar series grant: ‘The Care Act 2014: a new legal framework for Safeguarding Adults in Civil Society' 2015-2018.

PLTP events include hosting the prestigious Modern Studies in Property Law one day event (April 2019), which was organised by Lara McMurtry and featured the current Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law and leading property law academics from Uk and beyond. There were also Professor Papayannis’s guest lecture: ‘On the continuity thesis: primary and secondary duties in tort law’, and Lord Justice Ryder’s lecture: ‘Family Justice Reform in England and Wales: Collaborative Inquisitors or case Management Referees?’ which ended the Social Work Law Research Seminar Series and Professor Gregory Keating’s guest lecture on May 3 2017 ‘The Priority of Avoiding Harm’.

PLTP provides postgraduate education and research training through PhD supervision, the MA in Medical Ethics and Law, and contributions to other PGT programmes.

  • Servitudinal rights (Sally Whelan) supervised by Michael Haley and Lara McMurtry;
  • Privacy and Defamation Overlap (Haider Jinana) supervised by Maria Tzanou.