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.


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

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


Conference Activity

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


Editorial Activity

  • Buddhism, Law and Society
  • Scottish Parliamentary Review


External Examining/Validations

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


Fellowships and Awards

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


Grant Reviewer

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


Invited Speaker

  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Women's Right Centre and Rape Crisis (Scotland)
  • Legal Education and Judicial Education - St Anthony's College, Oxford
  • Social Research and Public Policy - University of Glasgow
  • University of Stirling - Family Law
  • 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
  • Migrants, Settlers and Refugees, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford
  • Justice and its Performance - CNRS (Paris)
  • Navigating the Political: Legal Research in Bhutan, University of Florence, Department of Comparative Law.
  • In the Court of Justice: Ritual and Notions of Justice, University of Edinburgh
  • Invited speaker - CNRS Paris


Membership of Professional Body

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



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


Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Scottish Executive - Mapping the Landscape of Administrative Justice in Scotland
  • ESRC Administrative Justice and Tribunal Research
  • 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 PhD Studentship
  • ESRC MSc (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