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Whistleblower Protection

The project deals with whistleblower protection and explores ways to effectively encourage and motivate potential whistleblowers in order to speak up

There are different approaches adopted in different countries and different philosophies in relation to the optimal way to ensure that whistleblowers will step up and share their concerns. One of the most widely appreciated motivational tools is the provision of monetary rewards for whistleblowers, who are cooperating with the authorities and their assistance is fundamental for the positive resolution of a case. For example, according to the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC is offering 10-30% reward to individuals assisting the authorities to receive at least 1 million USD, but it is worth mentioning that this reward is applicable to the financial sector only and not to all employees of all sectors of the economy. On the other hand, the UK rejects the idea of monetary rewards and underlines the importance of 'doing the right thing' and supports the ethical stance of the whistleblowers.  The European Union in its recently published Directive does not prevent Member States from introducing monetary rewards but does not include any specific reference to this issue. The project focuses on the role of culture in whistleblower protection in general and encouragement in particular, as there is no 'one size fits all' solution and each country follow a different trajectory. Each country has dinstict socio-economic conditions and traditions and it is important that the governments use the right tools depending on their own circumstances. This is why it is essential to take into consideration the cultural element and consider the need for custom-made solutions, where necessary, as legal transplantation cannot guarantee neither uniform results nor compliance. Overall, whistleblower protection is of paramount importance in our society, and governments and authorities should work hard to develop tools to motivate and encourage whistleblowers. These tools will complement the regulatory framework adopted to protect whistleblowers against retaliation and mistreatment, because strong protection without encouragement is not complete and vice versa.

Any research proposal submitted on this area of law will be considered, even if it focuses on different aspects of the topic at question. Whistleblower protection is a very contemporary topic and there can be several different projects covering aspects of it with reference to issues of employment law, freedom of expression, corporate governance, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here

Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.