Socio-Legal Studies Association

Where law meets social sciences & the humanities

Statement of Principles of Ethical Research Practice

The latest version of the Statement was approved by the SLSA Board in October 2021. The key changes to the Statement relate to consenting participants and their right to withdraw; the vulnerability of participants; and obligations on the researcher when collecting and storing data.

SLSA Board members who contributed to this as members of the SLSA Ethics Sub-committee were:

  • Daniel Bedford, University of Portsmouth
  • Roxanna Dehaghani, Cardiff University
  • Sabrina Germain, City University of London
  • Emma Milne, Durham University
  • Colin Moore, University of Essex
  • Mitchell Travis, University of Leeds


The original Statement of Principles of Ethical Research Practice was published in April 1993 and produced by the Ethics Sub-committee, convened by Professor Kim Economides. The members of the sub-committee were:

  • Michael Adler, University of Edinburgh
  • Mel Cabaniuk, University of Lancaster (SLSA student representative)
  • Kim Economides, University of Exeter (SLSA vice-chair)
  • Hazel Genn, QMWC University of London (SLSA chair)
  • Neil Hutton, Strathclyde University (SLSA secretary)
  • Mavis Maclean, CSLS, University of Oxford.

The Statement was published as an appendix to the conference programme of the SLSA 1993 Exeter conference and signed on 2 April 1993. 

The statement was always intended to be a 'living' document and, in 2000, the then SLSA Executive Committee (now SLSA Board) reconvened the Ethics Sub-committee to review the Statement. The first draft of the revised version was produced by Professor Andy Boon, chair of the sub-committee, and approved by the sub-committee, comprising:

  • Andy Boon, University of Westminster (chair)
  • Linda Mulcahy, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Ann Mumford, Cardiff University

A consultation with the membership was held during November and December 2000. The new version of the code was published in the SLSA Directory 2001.

The document was subsequently reviewed by a sub-committee of the SLSA Executive Committee in 2008 comprising: 

  • Anne Barlow, University of Exeter
  • Dave Cowan, University of Bristol
  • Dermot Feenan, University of Ulster
  • Bettina Lange, University of Oxford (chair)
  • Vanessa Munro, University of Nottingham
  • Julian Webb, University of Warwick

The revised version was published in January 2009.

'During this process, the SLSA ethics sub-committee sought to steer a middle course between taking into account changes to ethics governance introduced by the ESRC research ethics framework and supporting the professional autonomy of socio-legal researchers. The ethics sub-committee also did not seek to express in the statement detailed opinions on legal obligations which can arise for socio-legal researchers. Instead, we have included reference to some key legal issues which may arise in socio-legal research projects. How these may be relevant and how any legal or ethical issues arising in socio-legal research should be resolved needs to be analysed and addressed in the context of the specific circumstances of particular research projects.'

Bettina Lange



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