News and Events

PhD students flying the flag for UCC School of Law at global conferences

20 Sep 2021
UCC School of Law PhD candidates Aisling Ryan (l) and Deirdre Leahy (r)

This month, PhD candidates at the UCC School of Law presented their research at prestigious conferences in Europe and the USA.

Aisling Ryan, a PhD researcher in the School of Law’s Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, presented at the European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) PhD Symposium on Tuesday 7th September. The theme of the conference was “Resilience and Agility of Public Institutions in Times of Crises”. Aisling presented her paper, “The Form of Forms: Everyday Enablers of Access to Justice” via Zoom with participants attending virtually and in person at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.

Speaking after the symposium, Aisling Ryan said:

I was delighted my paper was accepted for the PhD symposium and grateful to the Head of Law Strategic Fund for funding my place at the conference. I am starting the third year of my PhD and it is exciting to see the different sections of my thesis taking on a more concrete shape. The PhD symposium was particularly helpful in carving out time to focus on and justify methodological choices and research design. It was also useful to present to researchers working in different areas of public administration and try to find a shared dialogue on the form of bureaucratic forms.

Aisling’s PhD research, supervised by Dr Fiona Donson and Professor Mark Poustie, is a socio-legal study of the control of discretionary power in Irish administrative law. Aisling also presented her research on bureaucratic forms at the Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference in January 2021. Aisling’s PhD research is funded by a UCC School of Law Scholarship.

The following week, on Tuesday 14th September, Deirdre Leahy presented her research at the International Association of Gaming Regulators Conference, Boston. The theme of the conference was “Disrupting the Regulator: Sparking Innovation in Regulatory Practice”. Deirdre presented her paper, “Rocking the Boat: Loot-boxes, Law and Regulation of Gam(bl)ing”. Participants attended virtually and in person, and Deirdre’s presentation was followed by a live Q and A, conducted virtually.

Speaking following the conference, Deirdre Leahy said:

The pace of change in online gambling and monetised virtual gaming presents converging legal challenges for regulators. So far, discussions around regulation of online gambling and near-gambling formats appear to agree only in this respect: a complex, interdisciplinary approach is essential if the interests of all stakeholders are to be met. I was delighted to have the opportunity to present my research to this distinguished audience, and to have their views and feedback. The conference was invaluable as a means of testing aspects of the research hypothesis, and helpful towards refining the final stages of the overall PhD project.

Deirdre’s PhD research, supervised by Dr Fidelma White, examines the legal and policy frameworks for regulation of online gambling in the EU. She also presented her research to the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Conference in 2020, to the SLS Postgraduate Conference 2019 and at the Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference, 2020. Deirdre’s PhD research is funded by the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme.

UCC School of Law PhD programme

With easy access to supervisors who are internationally recognised experts in their fields and a suite of tailored supports, facilities, and activities, PhD students at the UCC School of Law are afforded a top-class research experience. Our students frequently present and participate in national and international conferences and discuss their research in the media. Graduates from UCC School of Law have gone on to take up academic posts in Law Schools across the world.

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in Law at UCC, visit  to find out more.

School of Law

Scoil an Dlí

Room 1.63, Aras na Laoi, T12 T656