Law PhD

Our academic research is respected internationally for its rigour and significance. We are committed to contributing, through the excellence of our research and policy work, to critical exploration of the role of law in promoting (or inhibiting) social justice. We take as the inspiration for our legal investigations core values such as equality and citizenship, participation and exclusion, vulnerability and social responsibility – whilst also reflecting upon how such values are themselves constructed and critiqued.

Why study with us?

My time at the University of Liverpool has been amazing! I have had the chance to work with knowledgeable academics who are leaders in their field, but I have also had access to resources and opportunities which have allowed me to develop as a researcher. The Law School has continually helped me to push my boundaries and grow into a successful academic.

Ruari McAlister - Law PhD student
  • 10th

    in the sector for research impact classified as 'outstanding' (4*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 14th

    in the sector for research power in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 100

    years Liverpool Law School have taught Law and remains a leader in helping students to reach their full potential.


Our Department hosts eleven Research Clusters, which are crucial in supporting the building of external partnerships, providing a platform for knowledge exchange, and coordinating timely responses to current legal and policy developments.


The Charity Law and Policy Unit (CLPU) carries out research into the legal issues facing charities and third sector organisations, often with a strong empirical element and leading to proposals for legal and regulatory reform, which have made important contributions to policy change in this field. Examples are the unit's path-breaking work on charity mergers, disputes in the charitable sector, the legal structure of charities, housing the mentally vulnerable, and charities and equality legislation.

Corporations, Law, and Society (CLAS) research unit brings together academics, researchers, policy-shapers, and corporate experts to rethink the key legal principles and assumptions governing the relationship between corporations and society.

Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law (CAICL) focusses on international criminal law, as the subject has become one of the most prominent aspects of international law. The International Criminal Court and other tribunals have captured the imagination of the public, and international criminal justice has become a much commented-upon scholarly topic.

EU Law at Liverpool is committed to driving forward a critical understanding of the European Union. The research cluster offers a broad range of expertise across diverse areas of EU law and policy alongside significant impact, knowledge exchange, and public engagement activity as regards EU constitutional and institutional law.

The European Children's Rights Unit (ECRU) works alongside many external members from a range of academic, non-governmental and other research-driven organisations, to pursue a participatory, interdisciplinary research ethos into children's rights. Its focus is on the European (including comparative) dimension and is particularly distinctive in exploring the interplay between different levels of governance and the impact of those interactions on children's rights.

European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN) coordinates with the Université de Bruxelles and the University of Luxembourg. The network brings together academics from 32 countries from Europe and beyond.

Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (FRAN) builds on the history of the Feminist Legal Research Unit at the University of Liverpool, as a group of legal scholars who take an intersectional approach to feminist research, teaching, and scholarship.

The Health Law and Regulation Unit (HLRU) brings together a range of experts pursuing impactful research into current legal, regulatory and policy dilemmas in healthcare, including areas such as medical malpractice, patient capacity and consent, reproduction, research ethics, and mental health.

International Law and Human Rights Unit (ILHRU) provides a hub for researchers who coalesce around a number of themes including European System of Human Rights Protection; Conflict, Post-Conflict and Security; International Courts and Tribunals; Law of the Global Economy; Migration; Minority Protection; Self-Determination and Natural Resources.

Law and Non-Communicable Disease Unit conducts research into how legal instruments can be used as tools for the prevention of NCDs, and how robust evidence-based policy interventions can be designed to support effective prevention of NCD risk factors including unhealthy diets, alcohol, and tobacco.

Liverpool Public Law Unit (LPLU) draws together wide-ranging expertise in public law, in and between global, European and UK contexts. This unit focusses on analyses on analyses of institutional power, theory, and multi-level governance. It covers traditional realms of public law, but also explores how other areas of law can regulate public life, and what constitutes public law and why, exploring Marxist, critical, and feminist perspectives.

Study options and fees

PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applicants for the Law PhD programme should normally hold a minimum of a 2:1 class Honours Degree in a relevant subject (BA or LLB), in addition to a Masters in Law (LLM).

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 6.5 no band below 6.0
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 19 W 19 R 19 and S 20
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 169 in any paper
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 169 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

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