Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes Law Student achieves international recognition

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Craig Allen (Law)

In October, Craig Allen (left) was invited to Washington DC to a gathering of esteemed scholars and legal professionals from around the world.

Craig, who graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a First Class honours degree having studied the LLB Law and is currently studying law at doctoral level here, specialises in the interplay of the law and religion, and was invited to the International Religious Liberty Award Dinner in Washington, D.C. to receive a prize for the ‘Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition’, in recognition of his exceptional essay on practical and theoretical justifications for criminalising incitement to religious hatred.

Craig’s interest in Law and Religion was fostered during his undergraduate study at Brookes, particularly in the ‘Law and Religion in the 21st Century’ module. He was further able to explore this area of interest in modules, such as ‘Equality Law’, and through an independent research essay on minority rights as part of the ‘International Human Rights Law’ curriculum.  When given the flexibility to choose specific modules and therefore to study his fascinations, Craig was able to flourish. As he states:

“It was only during this time [undergraduate study] where I was exposed to an area of law that fascinated me that I began to excel in and enjoy my studies in whole (including Equity and Trusts, which no one ever believes!). As a result, I obtained a First-Class honours degree and was awarded the Eric Kemp Prize by the Ecclesiastical law Society for an essay on why religion should impact on the criminal law.”

Craig also discussed the importance of the support of his academic tutors. He had this to say about Professor Peter Edge, one of his lecturers and his academic advisor at Oxford Brookes:

“Studying Law at Brookes over four years now has provided me with an unforgettable bank of memories. The supervision offered by Peter at any level of study at Brookes has inspired and maintained my passion for law and religion. Further, any guidance offered has been carefully tailored to my interests and career plan. Brookes is a special place to study law, especially if you focus on any areas linked to religion.”

Professor Peter Edge is delighted with Craig’s success and international recognition:

“As his supervisors, we are tremendously proud that the quality of Craig's work has been recognised at this international level. He was recognised alongside exceptional students from the US, South America, and Europe. His doctoral project has a strong comparative aspect, and will have an impact well beyond the UK.”

Craig’s academic and professional development have seen his ideas, regarding the interplay of Religion and Law, travel from an Oxford Brookes seminar room to Washington, D.C., where he met with the world’s leading scholars, and the likeminded next generation of PhD and JD students, working in the field. He had this to say on his experience in the USA:

“Most recently, Brookes financially supported my trip to Washington, D.C. There I attended the International Centre for Law and Religion Religious Liberty Essay Awards dinner. The support allowed me to attend the ceremony and accept my award for an essay I had written on the practical and normative justifications for criminalising religious incitement under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. Additionally, it gave me the chance to discuss my paper and PhD topic with leading international scholars and senior officials from the US government specialising in law and religion. During the awards, I was also able to talk generally about current topics in law and religion with other PhD students from all over the world. We now keep in touch and discuss international developments and challenges within the field.”

Craig’s story exemplifies the career and academic possibilities available to Oxford Brookes students. His prize winning essay will be published by International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) in 2019.