Property, Bodies & Environment

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The Property research group at Birmingham Law School provides an opportunity for staff and research students to share ideas, present research in progress, and discuss recent developments in all aspects of property law.

Members of the group are active researchers in these fields, taking a broad approach to property, including land, intellectual and cultural property as well as human bodies, animals and landscape in our understandings of what property is or might be. Our research integrates theoretical perspectives on property, ecology and philosophy to understand how property and environmental law practices impact on ‘the real world’.

Intellectual Property

Kim Barker researches areas of digital property and digital property rights, exploring the intersection between user generated content and contractual allocation of intellectual properties. Her particular interests rest in intellectual property broadly, focussing on elements of copyright and emerging online environments.

From September 2013, Tania Phipps-Rufus will be studying for her PhD on Intellectual Property & Cultural Intermediation. This work is part of a larger AHRC funded project on Cultural Intermediation and the Creative Economy at the University of Birmingham.

Environmental Law

Aleksandra Cavoski’s principal research interests include environmental and property issues in national, EU and international contexts. She is particularly interested in the comparative research of environmental and property issues in civil law systems and common law. She also examines the impact of EU and international law on national law and policy. One of her most recent publications explored the question of nuclear damage as a result of civilian use of nuclear energy as well as the need to revisit the international and national laws on nuclear energy.

Human and Animal Bodies

Marie Fox researches into the regulation of human and animal bodies and is interested in the legal designation of animals as property and in feminist attempt to revision property in human bodies and how this relates to embodied approaches to law. With Michael Thomson, Marie was awarded the 2012 SLSA Best Article Prize for their article ‘The new politics of male circumcision: HIV/AIDS, health law and social justice’.

One dimension of Jean McHale's work concerning the human regulation of human materials relates to the question of property in the body and its parts and commercial dealing in organs and tissue both in domestic law and through the evolving EU law and policy in the area of health

Land Law

Martin George researches in property law and, within that, on questions of how 'property' interacts with other species of interests and law. He has written on adverse possession, the choice of law rules relating to land situated in a foreign country, and is currently looking at the criminalisation of squatting in the new Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Trusts and Private Law

James Lee's research addresses various themes within the field of property law. The current major seam within his research is a study of the role of statute in private law. The project will culminate in a book for Hart Publishing entitled Legislation and Reform in the Law of Obligations. His writings within this topic of legislation and private law have included work on equitable wrongdoing. More recently, he has been working on current developments in the law of constructive trusts in the domestic and commercial contexts.

Property and Place

Antonia Layard researches in law and geography to explore how law, legality and maps construct space, place and 'the local'. She has particular interests in the legal provisions and practices involved in regeneration and infrastructure projects. She is an ESRC Fellow researching Localism, Law and Governance until December 2013. She was awarded the SLSA Best Article Prize in 2010 for her article ‘Shopping in the Public Realm: the Law of Place’.