Prof Doherty was invited to present a paper at a panel on Research Methodology at the Labour Law Research Network Conference in Toronto, Canada. His paper, ‘On the factory floor: the case for empirical labour law scholarship’ was an update on his chapter ‘Getting Down and Dirty: The Case for Empirical Legal Research’ published in: Cahillane, L and Schweppe, J (eds), Legal Research Methods: Principles and Practicalities (Clarus Press, 2016)
The paper considered the role of empirical research in labour law, and examined why the conduct, and publication, of empirically-grounded labour law research remains relatively limited in the UK and Ireland. The paper argued that the failure by higher education institutes, including, but not limited to, failings on the part of law schools, to develop a more significant research capacity in empirical legal research could have very negative impacts on the next generation of legal scholars. In this regard, the paper considered the increasing centrality of empirical and cross-disciplinary methods of research to accessing funding and publishing in top-ranked academic publications. It also argued for the inherent intellectual and ‘employability’ benefits to legal academics and aspirant practitioners of expanding their skill-sets beyond ‘traditional’ means of legal inquiry. The paper illustrated these arguments by using practical examples of good empirical labour law research.
Professor Doherty teaches Employment Law on the LLB and BCL courses at Maynooth University Department of Law.