Richard Whitecross

Richard Whitecross

Dr Richard Whitecross

Associate Professor in Law


I am an Associate Professor in Law, based within the Accounting, Finance and Law Subject Group in the Business School. I am a qualified solicitor and member of the Law Society of Scotland (admitted 1992). I teach a range of modules on delict, dispute resolution, ethics and the legal profession. In addition, I am an experienced doctoral supervisor both in law and beyond reflecting my broad academic and professional experience.

I studied Medieval History before undertaking my law degree at the University of Edinburgh. During my law studies, I worked for a number of law firms in Edinburgh and London. I undertook my legal traineeship in a niche civil court firm before becoming an Assistant in W&J Burness, W.S. I was invited to teach on the Diploma at Edinburgh and found that I really enjoyed working with students. In turn, I chose to leave legal practice and completed an LLM (1995). Following up an interest in comparative law, I developed a proposal for doctoral research which led me to study social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.

With ESRC funding awards, I conducted the first ethnographic study of law and legal change in Bhutan. In 2001 I was awarded the RAI/Sutasoma Award. After completing my PhD, I won an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003) and conducted further fieldwork in Bhutan. Appointed as a fixed term lecturer in Social Anthropology (2004), I taught a range of courses on South Asia and political anthropology. In 2005, I was appointed as ESRC Research Fellow in Socio-Legal Studies and joined the Scottish Government in 2007.

At present, my research is focussed on domestic abuse and in particular, how the law and court system take domestic abuse in to account when making decisions about children. In October 2018, in collaboration with ProfessorJane Mair and Professor Michele Burman (University of Glasgow), we will begin a new study funded by the Scottish Government.


Conference Activity

  • Tibetan Legal History Colloquium Wolfson College Oxford
  • EurOMA 2016 Trondheim, Norway
  • Signs of the Degenerate Age - European Asian Studies Association Conference
  • The Jabmi Act and the emergence of a legal profession. Oxford University
  • Trangression the Law: Karma and Theft. The Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio
  • Law, Buddhism and Social Change: A Conversation with the 14th Dalai Lama, SUNY (Buffalo) Law School
  • Law, Law Texts and Emerging Legal Codes, SOAS, London
  • Keeping the Stream of Justice Pure and Clear, Law in a Transnational World, University of Edinburgh
  • Migrants and Refugees, Spatializing Law Syposium,University of Edinburgh
  • Scottish Civil Court Reform, Scottish Civil Justice Network
  • Public Legal Capacity Scotland, Consumer Scotland
  • Family Law in Scotland: Issues and Challenges
  • Of Texts and Drama: Images of court procedure, Law and Buddhism, SUNY(Buffalo) Law School
  • Separating Religion and Politics? Buddhism and the Bhutanese Constitution, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
  • The Thrimszhung Chenmo and Law making in Bhutan, Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu
  • Adoption from and in India and Nepal - Article 3 (3) of the UNCRC, University of Stirling


Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • Fellow of Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Royal Anthropological Institute/Sutasoma Award
  • Associate Member CNRS
  • Honorary Fellow, College of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Dr Hans Prize (Germany) awarded to Dr T Knuth for his doctoral thesis


Membership of Professional Body

  • Member of Law Society of Scotland
  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Law and Society Association (USA)
  • Socio-legal Studies Association


External Examining/Validations

  • External Programme Examiner - DBA and Professional Doctorates, Northampton University
  • PhD Panel - Stanford University
  • Law Society of Scotland Examiner
  • PhD Examiner - Aalborg University, Denmark


Invited Speaker

  • Invited speaker - CNRS Paris
  • Legal Education and Judicial Education - St Anthony's College, Oxford
  • Justice and its Performance - CNRS (Paris)
  • The King's Gift: Constitution, Law and Democratisation in Bhutan. University of Cambridge
  • In the hands of the children: the UNCRC and Bhutan. Yale University
  • Navigating the Political: Legal Research in Bhutan, University of Florence, Department of Comparative Law.
  • Migrants, Settlers and Refugees, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford
  • In the Court of Justice: Ritual and Notions of Justice, University of Edinburgh
  • Social Research and Public Policy - University of Glasgow
  • Scottish Government
  • University of Stirling - Family Law


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Scottish Government Working Group - Administrative Justice Reform
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Working Group
  • Expert Witness - Asylum and Refugee Applications UK and International
  • Review of administrative justice - Scottish Government
  • Vice-Convenor Administrative Justice and Tribunals Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland
  • Equalities Committee, Law Society of Scotland
  • Immigration and Asylum Committee, Law Society of Scotland
  • Matrimonial Agreements
  • Civil Court Users Experiences - a Qualitative study, Scottish Legal Aid Board
  • Insurance, Road maintenance and Local Authority Liability - Invited Discussant
  • Appointment as an expert to a World Bank Project on migration, refugees and the law
  • Expert Contributor - Varieties of Democracy Kellog Institute of Governance and Gothenburg University
  • Scottish Government Child Law Review


Editorial Activity

  • Buddhism, Law and Society
  • Scottish Parliamentary Review



  • Law and Social Inquiry
  • Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Oxford University Press
  • Berghahn Press
  • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • University of Edinburgh Press Reviewer
  • Law and Social Inquiry


Grant Reviewer

  • ESRC Peer Review College Member
  • AHRC
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Peer Reviewer


Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Scottish Executive - Mapping the Landscape of Administrative Justice in Scotland
  • ESRC MSc (Research)
  • ESRC PhD Studentship
  • Frederick Williamson Trust, University of Cambridge
  • Society of South Asian Studies - Conference Grant
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  • University of Edinburgh Research Award - Constitution making in Bhutan
  • ESRC Administrative Justice and Tribunal Research

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Dr Yu Shan Liu A minority within a minority - Being Bonpo in the Tibetan Community in Exile