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Neville Harris

Visiting Professor of Law from
University of Manchester, UK

Laws which determine citizens’ social rights need to be placed under the microscopeProfessional biography
Research interests
Influence beyond the academy
Teaching
Inspiring passions and concerns
Most significant publications
Hopes for the Visiting Professor Programme

Professional biography
Neville Harris holds a Chair in the School of Law at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and he is a member of ManReg (the Manchester Centre for Regulation and Governance). He is the editor of the Journal of Social Security Law and the Education Law Reports. He specialises in the field of public law, with a particular emphasis on the areas of social security, education and administrative justice. His work also engages closely with issues of children’s rights and human rights more broadly. Neville has held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for work on complexity in the law and structure of welfare which fed into his most recent book, Law in a Complex State (Hart, 2013). Other books by him include Resolving Disputes about Educational Provision (co-authored) (Ashgate, 2011), Education, Law and Diversity (Hart, 2007), Challenges to School Exclusion (Routledge/Falmer, 2000) and Social Security Law in Context (Oxford University Press, 2000) – also published in a Mandarin edition by Peking University Press (2006). He is also on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including the international advisory board of Education, Citizenship and Social Justice.

What are your main research interests?
I am interested in the legal relationship between citizen and state, particularly in relation to the area of welfare. My research focuses on not only what entitlements the state provides but also how they are legally defined and how effectively citizens are able to gain access to them. This also includes research into the processes by which administrative decisions can be challenged. I am particularly concerned with the social impact of welfare legislation in the key areas of education and social security, such as how people with disabilities are affected.

How does your research have influence beyond the academic world? Does this include any roles you have beyond the academy?
My research into dispute resolution has led to an advisory role with the Department for Education in the UK in its development of a new legal and policy framework on the education of children with special educational needs. I have also been involved in a number of international projects seeking to inform or influence policy in specific areas, such as law and policy on school choice (a Brookings Institution project) and the governance of education (a European Commission project). At national level, my work has included research into social security and drug dependency, for the UK’s Drugs Policy Commission.

Is teaching still a significant part of your working life? What particular method or approach would you say characterises your teaching?
I enjoy teaching and have taught Education Law and Family Law for many years. I also have significant experience of teaching Administative Law, Welfare Law and Legal Skills. At my home university, teaching is based on lecture and small group seminar formats. I believe in guiding students towards the acquisition of a good framework of knowledge while also encouraging a critical perspective on the law and its underlying policy. My teaching covers a wide range of controvesial subject areas, so it is important to channel debate effectively.

What specific passions or concerns particularly inspire you in your work?
I have always been drawn to areas of the law affecting the basic welfare rights of citizens. When I first embarked on my legal studies many years ago these areas were largely overlooked by lawyers and scholars. This has, thankfully, changed, but there is still a need to throw light on these areas to increase general awareness of the implications of legal changes for people affected. I am still committed to playing a part in this. More generally, I really enjoy venturing into unexplored knowledge areas with a view to making new discoveries.

Which of your publications would you regard as the most significant and why?
In the area of welfare law I would say that my book Social Security Law in Context, published by Oxford University Press, has had the greatest impact. For example, the Academy of Social Sciences at Beijing University commissioned a Chinese translation of the book, published by Peking Press in 2006, and the UK’s highest court cited the book in an important judgment in 2008. In the field of education, Education, Law and Diversity was the first book to assess the role of the law in responding to social diversity in the context of access to education.

What are you particularly hoping to achieve during your time as a Visiting Professor in Gothenburg?
As a Visiting Professor I greatly wish to make a useful contribution to the university. I hope to gain new perspectives on my areas of interest through exchanges of ideas with academic colleagues and research students in Gothenburg. To those who are interested, I will be able to provide a UK perspective on various legal and policy issues. Ultimately, an aim is that a lasting collaborative relationship with some of the colleagues will be established. I also hope to benefit from the cultural experience of spending time in Gothenburg.

Neville Harris

Contact

Would you like to meet Neville and/or have an idea for future cooperation?

Send an email to his contact person at the School:
Sara Stendahl

Or visit his home university website!

Focus areas:

  • Regulation of education
  • Social security law and policy
  • Social rights
  • Dispute resolution

The VPP Brochure

Page Manager: Karin Jansson|Last update: 2/8/2016
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