The best — and the worst — university law schools for research have been revealed
King’s College has beaten off bitter London rivals UCL and LSE — not to mention Oxford and Cambridge — to top the official rankings of the best university law faculties for research.
LSE’s law school bags second place in the UK Research Excellence Framework list, which assesses the quality of research across all university departments in the UK to determine the allocation of around £2 billion in annual research funding.
Durham follows at third, with surprise strong-performer Ulster University coming in at fourth in a major boost to its prestige.
UCL, meanwhile, finds itself in fifth place for law, alongside York but above Cambridge, Leeds and Bristol. Oxford only manages tenth place, which it shares with Warwick and Sheffield.
Just outside the top ten comes a gaggle of big name university law schools including Cardiff, Edinburgh and Nottingham (see the rankings in full below).
However several prominent Russell Group players — which have traditionally prided themselves on their research capabilities — performed disappointingly. For example, Southampton and Newcastle could only manage 38th and 33rd place respectively. Liverpool (28th), Manchester (23rd) and Birmingham (21st) all probably should have done better too.
Given the poor performance of most of these outfits in the National Student Survey of teaching standards earlier this year, serious questions will now be asked about what exactly some of these Russell Groupers actually offer to students.
Still, it’s important to note that there have been questions raised about the research rankings’ methodology, with critics arguing that law schools’ strength in depth has not been properly rewarded. Ulster’s law faculty, for example, entered only 19 staff into its UK Research Excellence Framework submission, while Oxford entered 109 — yet the plucky Northern Irish upstart somehow managed to come out on top.
The top university law faculties for research: full list
1. King’s College London
15. Queen’s Belfast
18. Queen Mary
48. Liverpool John Moores
50. De Monfort
52. Edge Hill
52. Nottingham Trent
57. Oxford Brookes
58. Birmingham City
59. Robert Gordon
61. Anglia Ruskin
67. London Met
Rankings via the Times Higher Education Supplement.