Staff profile

Joel Klaff

Assistant Head of Law Senior Lecturer in Law Programme Leader, Law Admissions Tutor LLM

Joel in a classroom.




College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Derby Law School

Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre


One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I graduated with an LLB (Hons) in 1986 (University of London), and an LLM in 1989 (University of Miami). Both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were heavily influenced by the contextual approach to law. In this capacity, I became interested in the social, economic and political application of law during my time as a student. In fact, as a student, the American Realist movement in jurisprudence had the most significant impact on the development of my approach to and application of law.

I have continued with this approach to law with respect to my teaching, scholarship and research. All the modules I teach have at their core the interrelationship between law and politics. This manifests itself in the politics of development, sustainability and human rights. With respect to the actual engagement with my students, I make as little distinction as I possibly can between the application of law and the use of politics to understand that application of law. In this respect, my teaching represents a fusion of the ideas of both legal and political scholars.

I have for many years been involved with matters relevant to learning, teaching and assessment across my School, College and University. I did this in my capacity as a Teaching Fellow and Senior Teaching Fellow. I sat on a range of university committees relevant to these matters but the areas I specialised in related to the student experience, student attainment and student retention. In addition, I have been actively engaged in Education for Sustainability and toward this end I have organised a conference on sustainability to promote these values within the University. I am still currently a member of the University committee on Student Attainment which has as its aim the reduction of the student attainment gap to zero. In addition I am a member of the University committee on the Environment and Sustainability. This committee has as its aim the ensuring that our University operates in accordance with sustainable values and produces graduates who are aware of the social, environmental and economic issues relevant to sustainability.

Most recently I have been actively involved in the developing of a Social Justice ethic within the college. The purpose of this is to ensure that our college becomes an active participant in our local community and thereby lending our resources to ensuring that we are engaged in developing of our communities as well as increasing the employability of our students. This process will be completed by holding a number of Social justice events, talks and conferences culminating in the creation of a Social Justice Hub. The aim of the SJB is to embed ourselves as a College and University to the development of the local community.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach a range of subjects across our undergraduate and postgraduate provision.

My undergraduate teaching is:

My postgraduate teaching is:

Professional interests

I engage in a number of events which enhance our professional relationships with a number of institutions and individuals. Examples of this include: participating in lectures to judges and local practitioners on recent updates to Commercial Law; and arranging a discussion series for our students on legal theory which are led by representatives from local organisations and law firms which allows students to network with the participants; arranging with organisations such as the British Institute of Human Rights and Rene Cassin to run events on campus which allow students to experience a 'taster' of the work and cases they deal with. I am currently involved in a project with the Derby and District Law Society evaluating EDI within the legal community in Derby.

Research interests

My current scholarship and research focuses on the creation of a ‘sustainable jurisprudence’ for the purposes of ensuring the fair and just application of law. In this capacity, I explain how the incidents of inequality which are manifested through acts of discrimination such as racial, sexual or gender discrimination will never be curbed or contained by our current jurisprudential approach to these matters.

I argue that the current jurisprudential approach focuses too significantly on the procedural application of law at the expense of the politics of the person, thereby rendering this traditional approach to jurisprudence unsustainable.

I adopt a similar analysis to incidents of genocide, human trafficking and sexual abuse and again argue that our current approach to jurisprudence is incapable of preventing these incidents, let alone regulating them. The more sustainable approach, I argue, is one which embraces the dignity of the individual and in this capacity, it is the politics of people which should decide the fairness of law.

My research therefore focuses heavily on the political relationships we have with each other and the political relationships we have with our governments.

Membership of professional bodies


Undergraduate qualifications

Postgraduate qualifications

Recent conferences

International experience

I am a member of the panel which evaluates the suitability of papers for the annual University of Zagreb Humanities Conference. The areas I deal with are those which are particular to the comparison of Common Law Legal Systems and Civil law Legal Systems.