Empirical Legal Research and Policy-making

Martin Partington

in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542475
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Empirical Legal Research and Policy-making


Empirical legal research (ELR) seeks to understand and explain how law works in the real world. Empirical research on law has become a recognized part of the social science research environment and the results of empirical research are central to an academic analysis of law. This article begins by offering some reflections on the relationship between research and government. It considers examples of empirical research on law influencing policy-making and reflects briefly on what these case studies suggest about the relationship between empirical research on law and the policy-making process. Following this, it seeks to identify the factors that need to be addressed to ensure that the research and policy-making process is as strong and integrated as possible. In the end, the article argues that researchers and policy-makers should consciously work toward the development of a strategic program of empirical research on law, justified for its wider potential impact on society.

Keywords: empirical legal research; academic analysis of law; social science research environment; policy-making; relationship between research and government; policy-making

Article.  9184 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law

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