Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Elaine Sutherland

Prof. Elaine E. Sutherland

Professor II


Elaine is a Professor II at the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, and professor at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Elaine is an internationally renowned expert on Child and Family Law, as the author of well over 100 articles and book chapters and 6 books and the editor or co-editor of 9 other volumes.

In 2012, she founded the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Implementing Project (CRC-IP) to explore implementation of the CRC in the international and comparative contexts.

LL.M., University of British Columbia, Canada

LL.B.,University of Glasgow, UK

Get to know Elaine

What are you working on right now?

I am currently on research leave and writing the third edition of my treatise, Child and Family Law, which focusses on Scots law and sets it in its comparative and international contexts. It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to immerse myself in such fascinating material, although it is something of a mammoth task since so much has happened since the second edition was published in 2008.

Can you describe your office space?

At the moment, I am working from home (and trying hard not to let it become ‘living at work’), with all my books and papers to hand and, often, the company of Ariadne, an adorable 2 year-old tabby to whom we are guardians (see photo).

What is your background?

Law – pretty single track. I began teaching law 40 years ago, first at the University of Edinburgh, then at the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling. For 20 of those years, until 2018, I spent half of the year at my Scottish university and the other half at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Is there a book you’d recommend within your field?

Definitely Bill Eskridge’s latest, co-authored, with Christopher Riano, Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws, which has just been published by Yale University Press. It was clearly a labour of love and has rightly been hailed as the definitive history of marriage equality in the US. A complete tour de force.

What do you like most about your job? And what do you like the least?

Best things: teaching students and the opportunity to research and write. Worst things: let’s not go there.

Is there a TV-show you are binging?

Borgen has been a big hit in our home and we were thrilled when the third series was translated into English. We are looking forward to watching RBG and the new series of The Crown.

Place you’ve been where you never want to go back to?

Being a teenager (until I was 17 and went to law school).

And a place you’ve been where you’d like to go back?

The thought of return trips is limited by there being so many new places I would like to see. However, in terms of going back … there are many places … Bergen, of course … and Abu Simbel (approached by water on the Eugenie), Boston, NYC, Petra, the San Juan Islands … and another ‘of course’ … Paris.