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Elaine Sutherland

Legal Research Center

Professor Sutherland began her career in academia at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1980, subsequently moving to the University of Glasgow. In 2006, she took up her current appointment as Professor of Child and Family Law in the Law School at the University of Stirling. Her relationship with Lewis and Clark Law School began in 1984 and, since 1999, she has spent six months of the year (July thru December) teaching, researching and writing here, returning to the University of Stirling to do much the same there for the other half of the year.

She has lectured and presented papers on child and family law around the world and, in addition to her work in the US and Scottish domestic contexts, has long pursued her interest in the comparative and international dimensions of the subject. Sutherland is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters, many reflecting her comparative and international interests. That focus is reflected in two volumes published recently by Cambridge University Press, The Future of Child and Family Law: International Predictions (2012) and Implementing Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Best Interests, Welfare and Well-being (2016).  Other publications concentrate on Scots child and family law and, most recently, they have addressed reform of the law on adult relationships, child-parent relationships, child protection and juvenile justice (see, Bibliography, below). Yet other publications are concerned with more general developments in contemporary Scots law and its history.  

In 2012, she founded the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Implementing Project (CRC-IP) to explore implementation of the UNCRC in the international and comparative contexts.  To date, the CRC-IP has organized three international colloquia, examining article 12 (participation rights of the child: University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2013), article 6 (child’s right to life, survival and development: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2014) and article 3 (primacy of the child’s best interests: Edinburgh, Scotland, 2015). Sutherland will give a keynote address at the next CRC-IP colloquium which will take place in Bergen, Norway, in April 2017 and will examine article 2 (prohibition on discrimination).

Sutherland is consulted regularly by government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the media, in Scotland, on child and family law and reform thereof, and attends, and presents papers at, national and international conferences. She regards academic life as offering the best of all worlds – opportunities to teach, research, write and travel. 

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Elaine Sutherland’s office is located in room 221 of Legal Research Center.


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Elaine Sutherland Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus

Lewis & Clark Law School 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard MSC 51 Portland OR 97219 USA