Richard Whitecross
Richard Whitecross

Prof Richard Whitecross MA (Hons), LLB, LLM, MSc, MSc (Research), PhD, FRAI, FRAS, PFHEA, NTF



Professor Richard W Whitecross MA(Hons), LLB, Dip.LP, LLM, MSc (Taught), MSc (Research), PhD, FRAI, FRAS, NTF.

Richard is Professor of Law and Head of Law, at the Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, UK.

Career History
Richard was a practising commercial lawyer between 1989 and 1994 working in two leading law firms in Edinburgh. In 1993, he was invited to tutor on the Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh. Based on his positive experience of teaching, Richard left legal practice and undertook a LLM at the University of Edinburgh. He was invited to teach part-time at Napier and did so between 1994 – 1997. At this time, Richard was developing his doctoral research project. He undertook a MSc (Taught) in Social Anthropology (1997) and was awarded ESRC funding by the University of Edinburgh to complete MSc (Research) (Distinction) in 1998. In 1998, Richard won a fully funded ESRC Studentship to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Bhutan.

Richard graduated with a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2002 with a groundbreaking ethnography of legal transformation in Bhutan for which he received the Royal Anthropological Institute Sutasoma Award.

In 2003, he won an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship held at the University of Edinburgh where he worked with Professor Thomas Hansen (now Stanford University). He was appointed a fixed term lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh in 2004.

In 2005, he was appointed as ESRC Research Fellow in Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Recognised as a emerging legal scholar on law and religion, he was an invited participant in a Rockefeller Institute Workshop at Bellagio in March 2006. Richard has presented his research internationally, including at Yale University (May 2006).

Richard became interested in the legal policy and law-making, which led him to move in 2007 as a Senior Researcher to Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government. At the Scottish Government, Richard led on socio-legal research on civil justice, family and child law, and latterly supervised a range of cross justice research initiatives working with the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, Scottish Prisons Service and Police Scotland.

In July 2012, Richard took up the post of Lecturer in Law at Edinburgh Napier University. In 2014, he became DBA lead in the Business School. In August 2017 he was awarded the title of Associate Professor and promoted to Professor in August 2020.

Richard became head of Law in June 2019 and has led the growth and development of the Law Subject Group at Napier. He was awarded Principal Fellow of Advanced HE in 2021, and in 2023 gained recognition as a National Teaching Fellow.




Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Invited Expert Witness - Global Electoral Integrity Project
  • Invited Academic Member - Scottish Government Future of the Legal Profession - Data Analysis Working Group
  • Invited member of Advanced HE De-colonising the Curriculum Working Group
  • Invited Academic Member of Scottish Parliament Cross Party Working on Male Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Academic Lead for Edinburgh Napier - Law Catalyst - Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, Doctoral Training Programme
  • Law Society of Scotland Nominated Member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Working Group on Racial Equality
  • Expert Witness to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee - Children (Scotland) Bill
  • Academic Lead of Working Group preparing Trauma informed training for the judiciary and legal profession
  • Invited Academic Member of the Scottish Government Child and Family Law Review Working Group
  • Expert Contributor - Varieties of Democracy Project, Kellog Institute of Governance, USA and Gothenburg University, Sweden
  • Invited Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Working Group on BA Skills Consultation
  • Invited Academic Adviser to World Bank Project on migration, refugees and the law
  • Expert Witness - Asylum and Refugee Applications UK and International
  • Invited Academic Member of the Scottish Government Working Group - Administrative Justice Reform
  • Invited Academic Member of the Immigration and Asylum Committee, Law Society of Scotland
  • Vice-Convenor Administrative Justice and Tribunals Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland
  • Expert Contributor on Civil Justice in Scotland - World Rule of Law Project, American Bar Foundation, Chicago, USA.
  • Expert witness on Review of administrative justice - Scottish Government
  • Invited Member of Research Advisory Board for Nuffield funded research on Matrimonial Agreements
  • Invited Member of Advisory Board for Scottish Legal Aid Board funded research on Civil Court Users Experiences - a Qualitative study, Scottish Legal Aid Board


Conference Organising Activity

  • Co-organiser, Committee of the Heads of UK Law Schools Annual Residential Conference, 22 - 23 February
  • Co-organiser, Devolution and Indy Ref 2 - an international discussion, 15 June 2023
  • Co-organiser, Committee of the Heads of UK Law Schools Residential Conference, 23 - 24 February
  • Conference Organiser: RSE Conference on Children and Families
  • Co-organiser, chair and presenter, RSE Twenty Years of the Scottish Parliament: Child and Family Law
  • Invited Panel Chair and Presenter, 13th International Association for Tibetan Studies, Paris, July 2019.
  • Panel Chair and Presenter - Third Sector Research Conference, CoSLA, October 2019
  • Conference Convener, Chair and Discussant - RSE Unaccompanied Minors Workshops Series
  • Panel Chair and Presenter, European Operations Management Association, Trondheim, Norway, June 2016
  • Panel Organiser, Chair, and Presenter, Conference Panel (Full Day), Challenges to Development, European Association for South Asian Studies, Zurich, Switzerland, July 2014.
  • Invited Chair and Discussant, Conference Panel: Politics and Violence, European Association for South Asian Studies, Zurich, Switzerland, July 2014.
  • Invited Chair and Discussant, Resettled Refugees, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, June 2013.
  • Conference Organiser, Scottish Civil Court Reform, Scottish Civil Justice Network, March 2010
  • Programme Committee Chair, Public Legal Capacity Scotland, March 2009
  • Programme Chair and Convenor, Administrative Justice in Scotland, December 2008
  • Conference Chair, Presenter and Discussant. Family Law in Scotland: Issues and Challenges, January 2008
  • Prorgamme Chair, and Presenter, European Asian Studies Association Conference, University of Edinburgh, September 2000.


Editorial Activity

  • Asian Survey (Special Issue)
  • Editorial Board Member Buddhism, Law and Society
  • Editorial Board member Scottish Parliamentary Review


External Examining/Validations

  • University of Dundee Diploma of Legal Practice
  • Convener of the Law Society of Scotland Board of Examiners
  • Appointed as Law Society of Scotland Examiner - Scots Private Law and Obligations, December 2017.
  • External Programme Examiner - DBA and Professional Doctorates, Northampton University


Fellowships and Awards

  • Principal Fellow - Advanced HE
  • Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
  • Recipient of the Above & Beyond Inclusivity Award
  • 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
  • ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • Recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute Sutasoma Prize 2001
  • Associate Member of Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique (Paris) Research Team "Equipe sur l'aire et l'environment tibetain"
  • Fellow of Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Grant Reviewer

  • MRUK/ESRC Peer Reviewer
  • Peer Reviewer UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Peer Reviewer
  • ESRC Peer Review College Member
  • Peer Reviewer - The British Academy
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council - Peer reviewer


Invited Speaker

  • Invited Keynote - International Women's Day - Daisy Project, Castlemilk, Glasgow
  • Invited Keynote - Domestic Abuse and Child Contact - North Lanarkshire Domestic Abuse Forum
  • Co-presenter, European Conference on Domestic Violence, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Joint Standing Committee on Legal Education in Scotland - invited presentation on legal education and AI
  • Invited Discussant, University of Edinburgh Law School PhD conference - Legal Theory and Legal History
  • Invited Speaker - National Teaching Fellowship Advanced HE
  • Invited Discussant, Constitutions in a Changing World - Implications for Theory and Practice, University of Edinburgh, 2 - 4 March
  • Invited Workshop Presentation, American Bar Foundation, Buddhism and Constitutional Law, 11 February 2021
  • Invited Keynote Speaker - Edinburgh Interfaith Annual Lecture - 30 September 2021
  • Invited Presenter, 4th European Conference on Domestic Violence, Ljubljana, Slovenia 13 September 2021
  • Invited Speaker - Race and the legal profession, Fair Justice System for Scotland
  • Invited Colloquium Presenter, Law, Buddhism and Constitutions, American Bar Foundation - Chicago, USA.
  • Invited Keynote speaker: Himalayan Law, University of Vienna online, 18 January 2021
  • Keynote Speaker, Trauma and Domestic Abuse, Scottish Government and Law Society of Scotland, February 2019.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker, Law and Buddhism Conference, Department of Legal Philosophy, University of Seville, Spain, March 2019
  • Invited Panel Chair and Presenter, European Conference on Domestic Violence, Oslo, Norway, September 2019
  • Invited Presenter, Second Conference on Buddhism and Law, SUNY (Buffalo) USA, September 2019
  • Invited Presenter, Inaugural Edinburgh Buddhist Studies Workshop, October 2019
  • Invited Speaker to Scottish Government, Civil and Family Law Policy, October 2019
  • Invited Presenter, with Professor J Mair, Children (Scotland) Bill and Contact , Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, October 2019.
  • Invited Speaker, Female Victims of Domestic Abuse and Contract Cases, Rape Crisis Scotland, November 2018
  • Invited Presenter, Scottish Government, June 2018
  • Invited contributor Domestic Violence Symposium, Inns of Court, Temple Bar, London, May 2017
  • Invited Speaker - Queen Margaret University, Dispute Resolution, May 2017
  • Invited Participant, Tibetan Legal History Colloquium, Wolfson College, Oxford, January
  • Invited Contributor, UK Council for Graduate Education Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 2016
  • Invited Participant and Chair, Law and Buddhism, SUNY(Buffalo) Law School
  • Invited Speaker, Chair and Discussant - Religion, Environment and Global Conservation in South Asia Colloquium, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, February 2015.
  • Invited Participant, UNCRC Article 3 Implementation Workshop, University of Stirling, June 2015
  • Invited Seminar , Legal Education and Judicial Education - St Anthony's College, Oxford
  • Invited Speaker, University of Stirling - Family Law, April 2010
  • Invited discussant Insurance, Road maintenance and Local Authority Liability, University of Strathclyde Law,June 2010
  • Invited Speaker, Social Research and Public Policy - University of Glasgow, October 2010
  • Invited Seminar presentation, Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies, University of Cambridge, February 2007.
  • Invited Seminar, Administrative Justice, Strathclyde Law School, February 2007.
  • Invited Colloquium Participant and Discussant, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA May 2006
  • Invited Presenter and Discussion Panellist, Law, Buddhism and Social Change: A Conversation with the 14th Dalai Lama, SUNY (Buffalo) Law School, USA, September 2006.
  • Invited Colloquium Presenter, Law and Buddhism Workshop, The Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy, March 2006.
  • Invited Presenter, Comparative Constitutionalism in South Asia, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Baltimore, USA, November 2006
  • Invited Presenter, Discussant and Panel Chair, Migrants and Refugees, Spatializing Law Symposium,University of Edinburgh, June 2005.
  • Invited Seminar Presentation, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford, March 2005.
  • Invited Seminar Presentation, University of Edinburgh, March 2004.
  • Invited Speaker, Centre de Recherche Scientifque (Paris), May 2004.
  • Invited Presenter, Law in a Transnational World, University of Edinburgh, June 2004.
  • Invited Seminar Presentation, University of Florence, Department of Comparative Law.
  • Invited Presenter and discussant with HRH Princess Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, 1st International Conference for Bhutanese Studies, Thimphu, August 2003.
  • Invited Presenter, 10th International Association for Tibetan Studies, St Hugh's College, Oxford, September 2003
  • Invited speaker - Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique, Paris, April 2002.
  • Invited Presenter, Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Doctoral Conference, SOAS, London, September 2001.


Media Activity

  • RSE awards over 617 k
  • Invited Expert Interview - Xinhua Press
  • Experts and campaigners warn plight of domestic abuse victims and their children ignored in Scottish courts
  • Holyrood’s focus on the family is an important facet of its 20-year work, The Scotsman, 2 October 2019
  • Bhutan: A rock and a hard place. Policy Forum, 2 December 2018
  • Lessons from the Doklam Pass: how little Bhutan faced down China over a border dispute, The Conversation, 25 September 2017


Membership of Professional Body

  • Member of the Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars
  • Elected - Convener of the Committee of Heads of Scottish Law Schools
  • Elected Board Member - Committee of Heads of UK Law Schools
  • Appointed to the Joint Standing Committee for Legal Education Scotland
  • Appointed Convener, Law Society of Scotland Board of Examiners
  • Elected Vice Convener of Committee of Heads of Scottish Law Schools
  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Member of the Equalities Committee, Law Society of Scotland
  • Member of Legal Education and Development Scotland
  • Member of UK Legal Education Research Network
  • Socio-legal Studies Association
  • Law and Society Association (USA)
  • Member of Law Society of Scotland


Public/Community Engagement

  • Invited Speaker - Domestic Abuse: Lesson Learned
  • Domestic Abuse and Child Contact
  • Invited Academic contributor to Scottish Women's Right Centre video - Coercive Control and the Law: A Trauma Informed Approach
  • Academic Partner on two projects (edible estates and urban planning) "Seven Kingdoms Project; Wester Hailes".
  • Research Presentation to invited audience of victims of domestic abuse, Scottish Women's Aid, September 2018
  • Organiser and presenter, Age Assessment and Unaccompanied Minors, Social Workers, September 2017
  • Adviser and presenter, Daisy Project - Support for Female Victims of Domestic Abuse, Castlemilk, Glasgow, June 2017 - October 2019
  • Academic Lead - Edinburgh Napier Law Clinic - a free student run community focused legal advice centre


Research Degree External Examining

  • PhD Examiner, T C Beirne School of Law, University of Brisbane
  • PhD Examiner - Aalborg University, Denmark
  • PhD Panel Member - Stanford University



  • Immigration and Asylum Law Monograph Peer Reviewer - Bloomsbury Publications
  • Peer Reviewer, Contemporary Buddhism
  • Academic Peer reviewer Journal of Social Identities
  • Academic Peer Reviewer - East Asian Forum
  • Asian Law Journal- Journal article review
  • Journal of Asian Law - Journal article review
  • Asian Survey - Journal article review
  • University of Edinburgh Press - Book proposal review
  • Berghahn Press - Book Proposal Review
  • Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education - Journal article review
  • Cambridge University Press -Book review
  • Law and Social Inquiry - Journal article review
  • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute - Journal article review
  • Oxford University Press - Book proposal review
  • Law and Social Inquiry -Journal article review



40 results

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Mapping the Landscape of Administrative Justice in Scotland Dr Richard Whitecross (PI) (£10,000)
  • University of Edinburgh Research Award - Constitution making in Bhutan (£2,000)
  • Frederick Williamson Trust, University of Cambridge Research Award, (£1,500)
  • Society of South Asian Studies (£1,000)
  • ESRC Postdoctoral Competition Award
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Research Award (£2,500)
  • ESRC PhD Studentship R00429824743
  • ESRC MSc (Research) K00429713351

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