Co-ordinators of the Law Lab @ Cardiff

Professor Nicky Priaulx, Cardiff School of Law & Politics

Nicky completed the LLB (2000) and her doctorate at the University of Kent (2004). She took up a Lectureship at Keele University in 2004 and joined Cardiff Law School in 2007.  Nicky’s work illustrates a keen and active engagement with actors from other disciplines and fields such as economics, the health sciences, science communication, bioethics and the behavioural and social sciences. What binds together her work is an enduring fascination around the relationship between knowledge and the development of social and public policy.

Nicky’s interest is in what we know, what we don’t know and how different institutions/fields manage (and acknowledge) this latter category in particular. Her work operationalizes these concerns by exploring how various disciplines typify social actors/society as expressed within disciplinary discourse/founding assumptions and the challenges involved in embracing insights from science to inform, among other fields, the legal project. As law emerges within this narrative, it can be implicated both as a specific case study in examining the formation and use of knowledge within different bodies of law, or as an example of a social institution whereby law is instrumentally engaged as a technology to manage a range of socio-political problems. Earlier work was more preoccupied with knowledge within law as a foundation for Nicky gaining technical and analytical abilities in legal epistemology. As such, that body of work explored the characterisations of harm in tort and the stories told by jurists about women, reproductivity and the family (see for example, The Harm Paradox: Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice  (Routledge-Cavendish, 2007)). That work has now developed to focus on broader institutional questions, in exploring the role of knowledge, assumption and myth in fields like economics and bioethics, within abortion policy-making, the law of negligence, as well in addressing the broader question of how we view and think about the legal project itself. Greater immersion into non-legal fields including the health and social sciences, has also led to fruitful collaborations. The research agenda that emerges out of this reflects a broad range of activities, consisting of focused publishing targets and more experimental collaborative work.

Find out more about Nicky Priaulx


Lydia Hayes, Cardiff School of Law & Politics

Dr Lydia Hayes is a Reader in Law and author of the award winning monograph, Stories of Care: A Labour of Law. Gender and Class at Work (Palgrave, 2017). Due to the ground-breaking way that it combines ethnographic data with doctrinal analysis it is the first work to win book prizes from both of the UK’s learned academic societies in law – the Socio-Legal Studies Association Hart Early Career Book Prize and the Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks’ 2nd Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.

Lydia’s research engages with rapidly unfolding debates on the future of work, minimum labour standards and inequalities of gender and class. She takes doctrinal, empirical and historical approaches to analyse the formulation, impact, enforcement and violation of the basic rights which regulate conditions of work.

Her research in 2017/2018 has highlighted connections between falling labour standards and rising problems of violence in care-settings, including elder abuse in both the UK and Australia.  In 2018/2019 Lydia is writing a second monograph: One Hundred Years of Equal Pay Law: A struggle for democracy beyond the vote.

Her recommendations for legal reform have been debated in the UK House of Lords and taken up as government policy in Wales. As well as being co-director of the LAWLAB Research Centre, Lydia is an editor of the Journal of Law and Society, executive board member of the Institute of Employment Rights and co-founder of the Cardiff University Law and Gender research group. She is a board member of the Centre for Law and Society and on the editorial board of the new Transforming Legal History book series with Routledge.

Lydia has a strong track record of project management and has worked on research funded by the European Commission, Oxfam UK and British Academy/Leverhulme.  Lydia is Principal Investigator for the Wellcome Trust research project: The Legal and Social Life of Care Standards Regulation in England, Scotland and Wales (2019-2020).

Before joining the team at Cardiff, Lydia completed her PhD at Bristol University, where she taught public law.  Her PhD thesis won the 2014 Faculty of social science Research Excellence prize.  Prior to that she worked as a researcher for the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, via the University of Wismar for a European Commission funded research about free movement, as lead researcher on an Oxfam UK project about precarious work, and as a UK trade union official with Unite.

Find out more about Lydia Hayes.