BiographyI specialise in Law and Religion and Legal History. In recent years my research has focused on the relationship between religion and Family Law and upon interdisciplinary approaches to Law. I am a Cardiff graduate, obtaining First Class Honours in his LLB in Law and Sociology in 2005 and a doctorate examining the relationship between religion, law and society in 2010. I served as Head of the Law department between 2016 and 2019.
I am the author of Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Religion, Law and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2014). I am co-author of Religion and Law in the United Kingdom (Kluwer Law International, 2011; 2nd ed 2014) which forms part of the International Encyclopaedia of Laws Series.
I have edited or co-edited Law and Religion: New Horizons (Peeters, 2010), Religion and Legal Pluralism (Ashgate, 2015), The Confluence of Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Law and History: Critical Concepts in Law (Routledge, 2017), Law and Religion: Critical Concepts in Law (Routledge, 2017) and Leading Works in Law and Religion (Routledge, 2019). I am also the author or co-author of over 70 articles and book chapters addressed to legal, sociological and general readerships.
I am the editor or co-editor of three book series published by Routledge:
- Leading Works in Law examines how particular legal sub-disciplines have developed by exploring the leading works that have shaped, developed and on occasions confined fields of study.
- Transforming Legal Histories aims to place the historical study of law at the heart of the law curriculum using history to question and subvert assumptions and expectations of law.
- ICLARS Series on Law and Religion is designed to provide a forum for the innovative and internationally excellent rapidly research in law and religion.
I am a contributor to The Conversation and Westlaw UK Insight and was a specialist Contributing Editor for Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law (Sweet & Maxwell 2010). My research, which has been cited by the UK Supreme Court and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has included an empirical study, Social Cohesion and Civil Law, into the operation of religious tribunals in Britain funded by the AHRC / ESRC Religion and Society programme. I am actively involved in Cardiff’s Centre for Law and Religion and its Law and Religion Scholars Network. I am co-founder and co-coordinator of the Law and History Research Group.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
My research has four main directions:
1. Law and Religion
First, my research has focused upon the study of Law and Religion, working at Cardiff's Centre for Law and Religion. This has included exploring the emerging legal framework concerning religion examining how human rights, discrimination and criminal laws interact with religion. My work has also analysed how religion is defined legally and constitutional laws governing Church-State relations throughout Europe. My work has contended that the significant legal changes that have occurred in the twenty-first century means that Law and Religion now exists as as an academic sub-discipline like Family Law or Sports Law. This was the focus of my book Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011), the edited works Law and Religion: Critical Concepts in Law (Routledge, 2017) and Leading Works in Law and Religion. I am Managing Editor of the ICLARS Series on Law and Religion, published by Routledge.
R Sandberg and N Doe, 'The Strange Death of Blasphemy' (2008) Modern Law Review 71 (6) , pp. 971-986
R Sandberg, 'The Right to Discriminate' (2011) Ecclesiastical Law Journal 13 (2) , pp. 157-181
R Sandberg, 'The Failure of Legal Pluralism' (2016) Ecclesiastical Law Journal 18 (2) , pp. 137-157
2. Religion and Family Law
Second, the interaction between religion, law and the family has emerged as particular focus in my work. This has included research on the interaction between religion and marriage / divorce law particularly exploring the legal recognition of religious tribunals. Building upon the Social Cohesion and Civil Law empirical project funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, my recent work has included an edited work on Religion and Legal Pluralism (Ashgate, 2015) within the interdisciplinary Religion and Society series and a range of publications that have sought to understand the place of religious tribunals using a range of theoretical approaches including Ayelet Shachar's work on Joint Governance, Niklas Luhmann's Systems Theory and Sharon Thompson's Feminist Relational Contract Theory. Recent work has sought to place the Sharia debate within the wider Family Law context and has argued for Family Law reform. I am editing with Dr Sharon Thompson the forthcoming edited collection, ‘Leading Works in Family Law’.
R Sandberg and S Thompson, 'Relational Autonomy and Religious Tribunals' (2017) Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, pp. 137-161
R Sandberg and S Thompson, 'The Sharia Law Debate: The Missing Family Law Context' (2016) 177 Law and Justice 181-192
S Thompson and R Sandberg, 'Common defects of the Divorce Bill and Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill 2016-17' (2017) Family Law 425-451.
3. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Law
Third, my work has explored the relationship between the legal and sociological study of religion. This was the focus of my monograph Religion, Law and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2014) within the Cambridge Studies of Law and Society. This argued for increased collaboration between legal and sociological approaches to religion provided that the unique contributions of each discipline is preserved. Recent work has focused upon the merits and possibilities of interdisciplinary work generally in Law. This has included the edited work The Confluence of Law and Religion and publications on Law and Religion that focus on philosophical approaches and a forthcoming Handbook of the Interdisciplinary Study of Law and Religion which includes historical, sociological, political and theological perspectives. I am Series Editor of Leading Works in Law, published by Routledge. This book series will look at how particular legal sub-disciplines have developed by exploring the leading works that have shaped, developed and on occasions confined fields of study.
R Sandberg, 'Church-State Relations in Europe: From Legal Models to an Interdisciplinary Approach' (2008) Journal of Religion in Europe 1 (3) , pp. 329-352
R Sandberg and R Catto, 'Law and Sociology: Toward a Greater Understanding of Religion' (2010) In: Doe, C. N. and Sandberg, R. eds. Law and Religion: New Horizons. Law and Religion Studies, Vol. 7. Leuven: Peeters, pp. 275-298.
4. Law and History
Fourth, my interest in interdisciplinary approaches to Law has resulted in research on relationship between Law and History. This has included the edited work Law and History: Critical Concepts in Law which includes an introductory essay 'Textual and Contextual Legal History' which explores how divisions within Legal History has resulted in the marginalisation of historical approaches in UK Law Schools. With Dr Sharon Thompson, I am the Co-Founder and Co-Coordinator of the Law and History Research Group. This is the home of a new book series, published by Routledge: Transforming Legal Histories. This aims to place the historical study of law at the heart of the law curriculum. It is designed to showcase scholarship which uses historical theory, approaches or methods to analyse law and legal change and is aimed, not exclusively at legal historians but at a general legal readership, exploring and expanding the historical dimension of key fields of legal scholarship. The series editors are Dr Lydia Hayes, Dr Katie Richards, Dr Sharon Thompson and I.
R Sandberg, ‘The Time for Legal History: Some Reflections on Maitland and Milsom Fifty Years On’ (2018) 180 Law & Justice 21-37
R Sandberg, 'Women's Legal History: The Future of Legal History' (Conference Paper, 2016)
R Sandberg, 'F. W. Maitland: Faithful Dissenter'. In: Hill, Mark and Helmholz, R. H. eds. Great Christian Jurists in English History (Cambridge University Press, 2017) pp. 277-300.