Our Bishop – Paul Colton – has successfully defended his PhD in Law at Cardiff University Law School. The oral examination (viva voce) was held yesterday, 21st May, in Cardiff University. Afterwards the examiners announced that they had awarded a category 1 pass – an outright award of the PhD with no corrections required.
Bishop Colton, now also Dr Colton, studied law in University College Cork as an undergraduate. In 2006 he was awarded the degree of Master of Laws at Cardiff University where he is also a research associate at the Centre for Law and Religion.
The area of research he undertook part-time in the course of the last six years relates to the sources of law – religion law (law the State makes governing religion) and religious law (the law religious entities make for themselves) – with, of course, particular reference to the Church of Ireland. The title of his doctoral thesis is Sources of Law of the Church of Ireland: Identification, Investigation and Reform. He wrote the doctorate under the supervision of the internationally renowned Professor Norman Doe at Cardiff University, specialist in Constitutional Law and Ecclesiastical Law.
Afterwards, the Bishop said:
I’m relieved. It was hard work and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wonderful family and also my supervisor, Norman Doe. Many in the Church of Ireland have also given me lots of encouragement. It has been a particular challenge undertaking a project like this on top of my core responsibilities in the Diocese, and, dare I say, at my age when the brain seems to be slowing down! As to what’s next? Well, the book about the law of the Church of Ireland is already well under way and I’ve just been asked this week to contribute the article on religion law in Ireland for a new German dictionary on law and religion. For now, I feel I’ve passed my driving test!