Socio-Legal Studies Association

Where law meets social sciences & the humanities

About the SLSA

Aims of the SLSA

'for the public benefit to advance education and learning in the field of socio legal studies and to promote research, the useful results of which shall be published for the public benefit, teaching and the dissemination of knowledge in the field'.

The SLSA achieves these aims in a number of different ways:

  • meetings, conferences, seminars
  • research grants
  • prizes
  • publications
  • liaison with policy-makers and research funders
  • supporting students
  • and many other activities

Please browse the menu on the left to find out more. Details of the SLSA's aims and objectives can be found in our Constitution and you can also download our poster and share it with colleagues.

History and background

The Socio-Legal Studies Association was formed in 1990 in the UK. It grew out of the Socio-Legal Group which for some years had provided an annual forum for socio-legal scholars to meet and disseminate their work. However, it was felt that there was a need for a more permanent organisational structure which would help to keep scholars in touch with each other, providing regular channels of communication and promoting and supporting the work of socio-legal academics. In 2019, the SLSA registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (registered in England and Wales, number 1186333).

The new society held its first AGM in Bristol in the spring of 1990 attended by 75 people. An Executive Committee was elected and the new organisation's aims and objectives were outlined including: continuing to run the popular annual socio-legal conference; the publication of a research directory; support for students through postgraduate conferences, a reduced membership fee and dissemination of information about socio-legal courses; liaison with policy-makers and funders with the aim of representing the views and interests of the socio-legal community; and the adoption of a code of practice for the ethical conduct of research.

The first chair was Martin Partington and the first vice chair was Nancy Drucker. The SLSA's launch was supported with a £4000 loan from the Nuffield Foundation, administrative and financial support from the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford, and seedcorn funding from academic insitutions across the UK. The Journal of Law and Society also provided support (and still does) by distributing the Socio-Legal Newsletter to its mailing list. The SLSA has always welcomed members from around the world and the initial list of 100 included individuals from the UK, Europe, USA, Singapore, Japan and Australia.

The Socio-Legal Newsletter, edited by Nancy Drucker, was launched in the spring of 1989 and for many years was the SLSA's main vehicle for communicating with members and non-members. It continues to be a keystone of the SLSA's publishing news about all the SLSA's activities and also features and reports about events, publications and research of interest to socio-legal scholars worldwide. The first SLSA Research Directory followed in the spring of 1991. Later, an e-bulletin was established to provide members with more regular socio-legal news, and finally the website and Weekly ebulletin were launched to give members immediate access to the latest news and developments. 

Over the years the SLSA has grown and developed. The annual conference is hosted each year by a different UK university. It has been to all four corners of the UK, visiting institutions in major cities — for instance, Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool – and smaller urban settings – Aberystwyth, Stirling, Keele.

In November 2019 the SLSA became a registered charity and the Executive Committee became the Board of Trustees. Elected members of the Board are also the charity trustees of the CIO. SLSA Board meetings are usually held in London, although they occasionally move around the country. Online meetings were also introduced following the advent of the Covid pandemic. SLSA trusees are always happy to be contacted about the SLSA's activities.


SLSA officers

Many people have worked hard and given huge amounts of their time over the years to support the SLSA. This is a list of some of them, but there are many others.


Martin Partington (1990–91)

Hazel Genn (1991–93)

Martin Partington (1993–95)

Sally Wheeler (1995–99)

Linda Mulcahy (1999–2002)

Sally Wheeler (2002–11)

Rosemary Hunter (2011–17)

Rosie Harding (2017–2022)

John Harrington (2022–)

Vice chairs

Nancy Drucker (1990–92)*

Kim Economides (1992–93)

Fiona Cownie (1993–99)

Carl Stychin (1999–2002)

David Cowan (2002–04)

Anthony Bradney (2004–08)

David Cowan (2008–11)

Anne Barlow (2011–15)

Rosie Harding (2015–17)

Jen Hendry (2017–2019)

Antonia Layard (2019–2021)

Chris Ashford (2021–2023)

Smita Kheria (2023–) 


Cosmo Graham (1990–91)

Linda Mulcahy (1991–93)

Roy Sainsbury (1993–99)

Mary Seneviratne (1999–2005)

Daniel Monk (2005–10)

Linda Mulcahy (2010–13)

Mark O'Brien (2013–18)

Elen Stokes (2018–2019)

Vanessa Munro (2019–2022)

Philip Bremner (2022–)


Kim Economides (1990–92)

Neil Hutton (1992–93)

Richard Collier (1993–96)

Jeff Murray (1996–97)

Carl Stychin (1997–99)

Trevor Buck (1999–2002)

John Flood (2002–06)

Julian Webb (2006–07)

Morag McDermont (2007–10)

Amanda Perry-Kessaris (2010–13)

Chris Ashford (2013—15)

Kevin Brown (2015–17)

Neil Graffin (2017–2023)

Emma Milne (2023–)

Membership secretaries

Anthony Bradney and Fiona Cownie (1992–93)

Anthony Bradney (1993–96)

Emma Melville (1996–97)

Ann Mumford (1997–2002)

Steven Whittle (2001–03)

Mary Seneviratne (2003–04)

Lisa Glennon (2004–08)

Dermot Feenan (2008–10)

Julie McCandless (2010–13)

Sarah Blandy (2013—16)

Maebh Harding (2016–2020)

Colin Moore (2020–)

Recruitment secretaries

Lois Bibbings (2003–06)

Alison Dunn (2006–09)

Joanne Hunt (2009–11)

Marian Duggan (2011–15)

Lydia Hayes (2015–17)

Flora Renz (2018–2020)

Rebecca Moosavian (2020–)


*Development Officer (1990–92). The new post of Vice Chair was introduced in April 1992.


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