The School of Law at Middlesex has a vibrant and diverse MPhil/PhD programme with some 70 students engaged in research on a variety of topics spanning law, politics, international relations, criminology and sociology. Students are based either at our campus in London or overseas, including at our campuses in Mauritius and Dubai. Within the School, you will benefit from supervision by world-leading academics and a multidisciplinary research environment, bringing together doctoral students, researchers, practitioners and professionals from both within and outside the academy. Middlesex is home to outstanding centres of research and practice, such as the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre.
A graduate from the Middlesex PhD programme will have developed advanced skills in research, analysis and writing, public presentations and, in many cases, teaching at university level. A hallmark of the doctoral programme at Middlesex is that students are encouraged and supported to publish their research, whether as a monograph, as journal articles or in academic blogs. Our graduates are strongly placed to pursue careers in the global academic world, as well as high level work in international institutions, governments, non-governmental organisations and the commercial sector.
Doctoral students based in London benefit from proximity to the city’s vast cultural resources and world-class libraries, such as the British Library and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
In choosing which degree to apply for, please note that the difference between an MPhil and a PhD relates to the contribution you make to existing knowledge on the research topic that you have selected. A PhD contributes new knowledge beyond what is currently available, whereas an MPhil contributes new understanding of existing knowledge, by way of a critical review or evaluation. All of our doctoral students initially enrol on an MPhil and then transfer to a PhD degree.
Please see the How to Apply tab under Entry Requirements for a list of disciplines and subject areas in which we welcome applications.
Our Doctoral students are automatically members of the School of Law's Doctoral Institute, an academic unit within the School of Law whose objective is to enhance and enrich the doctoral experience by encouraging intellectual exchange, interdisciplinary debate and professional development.
The Institute organises regular activities that are designed to build a thriving and supportive research community, with opportunities both to exchange ideas and to socialise:
Twice a year, students and colleagues in the Doctoral Institute spend two days together. These intensive seminars include sessions led by senior scholars from Middlesex and other leading universities, student presentations, and workshops on matters of practical importance. For students, they provide an opportunity to test ideas and modes of presentation, something of value in their preparation for the final oral examination. The practical sessions provide guidance on matters such as publishing, research and writing skills, and job interviews.
The seminars are of special interest to non-resident students who can greatly benefit from this intensive session. They also involve informal social gatherings. In the past, this has included a night at the theatre and a walking tour of London with an emphasis on the city's connection with slavery.
The International Law Study Group meets approximately every month during term. The sessions focus on recent, notable judicial decisions from an international court or tribunal (such as the International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights or International Criminal Court).
The study group is chaired by Professor William Schabas.
The International Law Blog was launched in 2014 by a group of scholars whose paths first crossed at Middlesex University. The Blog aims to provide students, junior lawyers and scholars at different stages of their professional and academic careers with a platform to discuss issues related to international, transnational, European and comparative law. Posts are peer-reviewed by current and former PhD students at Middlesex.
The School of Law offers various forms of support for writing at doctoral level. This may be provided one-to-one, or in the form of practical sessions during the twice-yearly doctoral seminars, or during regular writing retreats. Students also benefit from the Learning Enhancement Team at Middlesex, a team of specialists who offer support with Academic Writing and Language and Maths, Statistics and Numeracy.
Students and academic colleagues meet regularly in an informal setting to discuss books of interest. Books discussed during previous meetings have included:
Ian Cobain, Cruel Britannia
Stephen Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature
Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks
Research students in the School of Law organise regular, free screenings of films which broadly relate to themes of law and justice. Films that we have watched and discussed together include Shepherds and Butchers (Oliver Schmitz, 2016) and Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015).
Research degrees are quite different from undergraduate or taught Masters degree programmes. Under the guidance of your Director of Studies and supervisor(s), you will conduct empirical or theoretical research that will lead to new knowledge in your chosen field and write a thesis of around 80,000 words (excluding footnotes and bibliography).
Our diverse range of programmes – including traditional PhD programmes provided full-time, part-time and via distance learning, and PhD by Public Works - provide different pathways to doctoral study to suit your prior experience and commitments
The route to a PhD at Middlesex University takes a minimum of three years for full-time students and six years for part-time students. This includes taking a structured PhD training and development programme at University-level and having access to a wide-range of activities to build our doctoral student community within the School of Law.
There are three stages of the PhD: the first stage is registration, which for full-time students takes place within six months of enrolment. The second stage, is the transfer from the MPhil to the PhD programme. The transfer panel assesses whether sufficient progress has been made to progress to the PhD and takes place within 18 months of the start date for full-time students. The final stage of the programme is the writing up and submission of the final thesis at the end of the third year. This involves the production of a final draft of your thesis and its submission for examination (the viva). Timescales are extended commensurately for part-time students.
A Director of Studies and at least one supervisor from the University will conduct your research supervision.
Your supervisors will act as personal tutors, helping you to clarify your initial objectives, structure your research and develop supplementary skills. They also advise on subject reading, relevant taught courses, research seminars and workshops.
Academic support and guidance is constantly available, whether you work individually or as part of a team. There are regular research tutorials, plus seminars and meetings with research students, staff and guest speakers.
If you're working in partnership with an external organisation, you may be jointly supervised by academics from Middlesex University and the collaborating partner.
Where collaboration is involved, you should ensure that from the outset the responsibilities for provision of fees, equipment and any other resources are fully understood and accepted by the partners.
Abu Zaman is researching Restorative Approaches in Further Education Colleges in England. Educational institutions regularly deal with crime, conflicts and other challenging behaviours; thus, Restorative Approaches are adopted to attempt to manage such challenges better. However, in education, research on Restorative approaches is predominantly in Primary and Secondary Schools.
In England, research focus on Restorative Approaches in the Further Education sector is underdeveloped. Further, there is a lack of literature, research, guidance and support for Further Education institutions and staff when dealing with crime, conflicts and other challenging behaviours. His research will elucidate these gaps in research and literature.
To possess an in-depth understanding of how Restorative Approaches are utilised in practice, Abu underwent training and obtained a qualification in ‘Level 5 Restorative Approaches – Theory and Practice’. He is also the founder of Restorative Approaches in Further Education (RAFE).
Aytekin Kaan Kurtulis a jurist and writer who is undertaking his doctoral research on the criminal defamation of heads of state at Middlesex University. His main research interests are freedom of political expression and freedom of scientific research as he has written extensively on topics including genocide denial, historical revisionism and blasphemy.
Aside from his main interests, he has given lectures on peoples’ right to economic self-determination, Westphalian sovereignty, investor-state dispute settlement and peace treaties in international law. His publications include a book chapter on lèse-majesté laws in Turkey and Europe and articles on children’s right to free speech and the impact of genocide denial laws on historical research.
Besides English, Kaan is fluent in Turkish and Italian, has a grasp of French and Spanish as well as basic Russian skills. He is interested in literature, history and geopolitics and has non-academic publications in those fields.
Ezequiel Jimenez’s research focuses on understanding the conceptual and functional role the Assembly of States Parties has in the architecture of the International Criminal Court and seeks to analyze how through direct and indirect statutory provisions the nature of its governance requirements influences the practice of the Court. His research is part of the Hybrid Justice Project (London School of Economics, Wayamo Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation).
Ezequiel currently works at Amnesty International, is part of the Editorial Board of En Letra Penal (University of Buenos Aires) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (London United Kingdom).
Ezequiel has a double summa cum laude BA in Political Science and International Relations from Macalester College (United States), and an MA (with distinction) in Human Rights Policy as an Erasmus Mundus Scholar (European Union) at the University of Roehampton (UK), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Tromsø (Norway). He is a graduate of the United World Colleges (Red Cross Nordic).
Dissertation: A Balancing Act: The Practice and Contemporary Issues of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court
Francesca Braga is a lawyer who specialises in international law, international criminal law and human rights. Her research and writing focus on gender issues within international criminal law especially crimes and human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Since 2015, she has worked for the Permanent Mission of the Republic of San Marino to the United Nations (New York City), UN Women (Bangkok) and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Phnom Penh). She also practiced as a criminal lawyer in Italy and she worked alongside the Public Prosecutor on numerous matters including several trials where the charge were murders and white collar crimes.
She has published in NGO reports and international journals on crimes and human rights violations perpetrated against women, girls and minorities. She has taken part as a speaker in conferences and round tables talking about gender issues and their impacts on
Francesca holds a Law Degree and two Master of Laws (LLM), one in International Crime and Justice (United Nations, 2016) and the second one in International Law and Justice (Fordham University Schools of Law, 2018).
Itaf AlAwawdeh started her PhD in February 2018 and received her LL.B. from the University of Jordan, an LL.M. from the University of Essex in 2006 in International Human Rights Law and an LL.M. from the University of Jordan in Intellectual Property law in 2008.
She was admitted to the Jordan Bar Association and worked with UNICEF and several INGOs, including the American Bar Association, Save the Children and International Rescue Committee.
As a practitioner, she has developed a research interest in international development and human rights, children’s rights, education, gender equality, the rule of law and economic, social and cultural rights and justice.
Thesis: The Right to Quality Education for Children in International Human Rights Law
The purpose of her thesis is to examine and evaluate the content and scope of the right to quality education for children, especially refugee children in crises context. The research also seeks to provide a legal analysis of states’ obligations to support the provision of quality education for children.
Joshua Hepple is researching the relationship between decriminalisation of same sex activity and neo-colonialism. He is exploring the reluctance of many states to decriminalise and hopes to examine why. He is particularly interested in the conflation between sexual activity and identity and what this means under human rights law and wider geopolitical tensions.
Joshua is looking at the current campaigning for ‘Gay Rights’ and whether there could be a more neutral strategy which could focus on reducing harm for men who have sex with men.
Joshua is also heavily involved in mental health and enjoys disability and LGBT activism. He enjoys writing on these issues for many different publications. He delivers disability equality training to many different organisations including Shakespeare’s Globe and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, his training focuses on language and confidence surrounding communication.
Nicola Coleman is engaging in research with young people who have offended, to explore how they conceptualise and define the term ‘family’ in everyday life.
Following the guiding principles of the ‘Child First’ movement that is currently developing within the field of Youth Justice, she engaged this specific participant group in her predominantly qualitative research; placing children and young people at the centre.
A considerable amount of previous research into the risk factors associated with youth (re)offending behaviour, have identified ‘the family’ as a major source of risk; with little in the way of a definition of who, or what, ‘family’ may refer to in these young people’s lives.
Nicola was recently appointed module leader for the Youth and Crime module on the BA Criminal Justice and Criminology programme at University of Hertfordshire.
Previous educational attainments: BA in Criminology and Applied Psychology (University of Brighton), MSc in Criminology with Forensic Psychology (Middlesex University).
Paula Bradbury is a published author and researcher in the field of online sexual offending by adults and adolescents, online sexual behaviour, sexual grooming, and police practice.
She is currently working as a contract lecturer at the University and is working with faculty to apply for research grants focusing on reactionary COVID-19 studies to explore the impact of the pandemic lockdown on online child abuse, and self-generated sexual images by teens for money. She has also worked for the police as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst specialising in crimes relating to sexual offences and fatalities.
Paula has an MSc Child Forensic Studies: Psychology & Law (Merit), and a BSc (Hons) Criminology & Sociology (2:1)
Thesis: ‘Outcome 21’: Exploring the Criminalisation of Adolescent Sexual Behaviour in a Digital Age’ Child Sexual Abuse, Cyber Sexual Offending, Female & Adolescent Sexual Offending and Policing.
Natasia Kalajdziovski was awarded a fully-funded research studentship at Middlesex University to complete her studies. She holds a first-class MA from the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and an Honours BA from the Department of History at the University of Toronto.
Broadly speaking, her research examines the role and conduct of intelligence practice in counter terrorism in the national security context, using historical case studies as the foundation of her research. Global pandemic-pending, she intends to defend her thesis in autumn 2020.
Outside of academia, Natasia frequently contributes to publications in the counter terrorism field, and she consults with various organisations as a subject-matter expert in her areas of research expertise.
Most recently, her work can be found in the Georgetown Security Studies Review, the British Council’s “Extremism Research Forum” and the Berghof Foundation’s “Community Perspectives on Violent Extremism” project. She is also a junior research affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS) and an elected postgraduate member of the Royal Historical Society (RHS).
Elena Borsacchi is an Italian Qualified Criminal Lawyer. She conducts her research in the field of international justice, with particular attention to the subject of the effectivity of defence and the fair trial related procedural guarantees in counterbalance with ‘other interests’.
The protection of fundamental rights, with particular attention to the issues linked to migration and the European Union approach, together with the international criminal justice may be enlisted among her areas of interests.
She is author of some publications and is one of the co-founders and active members of the International Law Blog, a project created by a group of friends and colleagues mainly from Middlesex University. She is junior partner of the law firm Barbieri Borsacchi of Pisa, where she now deals mainly with criminal matters, criminal family law and several specific aspects of civil liability.
In 2018, she was admitted as a Registered European Lawyer at the Bar of England and Wales and since March 2019 she is a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, waiting for the issuing of her ‘Certificate of Practice ‘ which will allow her to practice in English jurisdiction under some limitations.
In 2019/2020 she conducted a teaching experience as Hourly Paid Lecturer at Middlesex University for the Foundation Year in World Literature for Social Sciences and Law (she was in charge of two seminar groups).
Elena is fluent in English (IELTS) and French (DELF), and she has a good knowledge of Spanish and basic knowledge of German. She is an active member of the UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats), of the Italian Criminal Bar Association and of the Mindfulness in Law Society.
Thesis: In the interests of justice? The interests of justice in International Courts and Tribunals.
Raphael Ejime has teaching experience and a number of peer reviewed publications. He assists with lecturing modules on International Relations in the University’s Department of Law.
Raphael’s research investigates the influence and communicable effects of terrorism and terrorist activities by two terrorist groups – the Islamic State (ISIS) on Boko Haram (BH) operating from one geographical area Syria and Iraq (ISIS) to the other, Nigeria (BH) within the years of focus.
Raphael has also worked for several international organisations and think tanks, such as the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Whitehall, London, the Protection Group International (PGI) in Farringdon, London and the Building and Wood Workers’ International in Geneva, Switzerland.
During his time with these institutions, he worked, on wide ranging issues such as migration, counter-terrorism and insurgency, social media reporting, and intelligence research. He also worked on labour laws and workers’ rights, especially in relation to working conditions for stadium workers for football events such as Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups.
Raphael has an interest in Counter-terrorism, Human security - Migration, War and Conflict Studies, Globalisation and Third World dependency. His publications include Countering Terrorism: Military and Other Options, published in 2017 in the European Scientific Journal.
Raphael holds a BA (honours) in Political Science (Madonna University, 2011) and an MA in International Relations (Middlesex University, 2014).
Dissertation: Terrorism and Contagion Theory: Examining the Influence of ISIS on Boko Haram (2012 - 2014)
Suranga Jayalath holds LLB (Sri Lanka) and Master of Business Law (Monash University, Australia) degrees and is an Attorney- at-Law.
Thesis: Towards the Reform of 1961 Rome Convention: Regulating Unauthorised Use of Broadcast Signals
His research reviews the laws and international treaties that are aimed at protecting broadcasting and regulating unauthorized use of broadcast signals in this modern digital era. He stats that unauthorised use of broadcast signals or signal piracy in the broadcast industry causes severe financial losses and the revenue loss in Asia from pay TV has been estimated at US$2 billion. The protection granted to broadcasters by Rome Convention of 1961 does not cover the infringements that take place in current digital age.
This thesis investigates the current problem of use of broadcast signals for commercial purposes and without permission, and proposes reforms based on improving the rights granted to broadcasters under the Rome Convention. It examines relevant legal frameworks, including prevailing copyright regimes and international treaties relevant to broadcasting, the criticism prevailing on the draft treaty and reviews the two bodies of surveys and other quantitative data gathered by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and the European Broadcasting Union.
In conclusion, it is argued a new or revised international treaty granting enhanced protection to broadcasting organisations as a uniform standard to regulate re-transmission, fixation, reproduction and communication to the public of their
broadcasts are required in this digital era.
Currently, he serves on the main Board Directors of the Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited, one of the largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka. He is the current Chairperson of Intellectual Property and Legal Committee of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU which is head quartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2019 to 2021).
He was a visiting lecturer in Law at the Open University of Sri Lanka for the LLB Degree Programme and was also a visiting lecturer for the LLM Programme of the University of West London run in Colombo. He has participated actively in many SCCR sessions of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva and is a member of London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and Dubai International Arbitration Center.
Stephen Owusu-Addo is a legal practitioner with extensive experience in the UK immigration and asylum law, and human rights law.
He recived an LLB and LLM in Human Rights from University of East London and an LPC from the University of Westminster.
Thesis: Determination of Refugees Status by State’s in the context of conflict and/or violence and disaster and/or the adverse effects of climate change (nexus dynamics). Human Rights Approach
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