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Dr Bela Bonita Chatterjee

Senior Lecturer

Bela Bonita Chatterjee

Bowland North



Tel: +44 1524 592461

Research overview

Dr Chatterjee’s work spans a wide range of academic subjects. She interrogates interdisciplinary aspects of cyberlaw. She has interests in cybercrime, AI, robotics, gender/sexuality. Her most recent scholarship is on widening participation in law, business attire and fashion.



Professional Role

Senior Lecturer in Law: Teaching and Scholarship contract (from 2020)



Additional Information

Blue Plaque Award: 2023 Inspirational Women+ At Lancaster

Highly Commended: 2022 Lancaster University Outstanding Contribution Awards

Winner: 2018 FASS Dean’s Senior Teaching Award

Nominee: 2016 HEA NTFS Scheme (Institutional nominee)

Nominee: 2014 HEA NTFS Scheme (Institutional nominee)

Finalist: 2013 OUP Law Teacher of the Year Award

Nominee: 2013 LawCareers.Net Law Lecturer of the Year Award

Winner: 2006 Lancaster University Sir Alistair Pilkington Prize

Research Interests


Conference Activities 

Keynote Speeches

B. Chatterjee (2004) '"Off the Map":Gender, Sexuality, Cartography and Law'

AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality Colloquium, 'Text and Terrain: Legal Studies in Gender and Sexuality', University of Kent, Canterbury


Conferences, Seminar Papers and Scholarly Activities.

B. Chatterjee (2023) (Invited discussant) 'Child sex dolls/robots and the criminal law framework in the UK' Robo-AI Con2023, Rome, Italy (Hybrid format, virtual presentation)

B. Chatterjee (2022) 'Writing Essay Question titles for assessments'; workshop for Law School Assessment Writing Retreat, Lancaster University  

B. Chatterjee (2022) (Invited discussant) Connecting Legal Education Network: Audio-Visual Feedback Session, in discussion with Alison Turnbull (BCU)

B. Chatterjee (2022) PETS (Pretty Excellent Teachers) Win Prizes: Developing a T&S portfolio and going for teaching awards (Workshop) Lancaster University 

B. Chatterjee (2022) Teaching and Scholarship Career Development Day (Workshop) Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2021) Masterclass Workshop on building a teaching and scholarship CV and going for Teaching Prizes (virtual Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference, Birmingham) 

B. Chatterjee (2020) 'Decolonising the Curriculum: Perspectives from the Law School (Invited speaker) FASS Decolonising Group Decolonising Panel (virtual conference, Lancaster) 

B. Chatterjee (2020) 'What's new, what's fun? The pleasures and pains of being a digital innovator' Guest interview with Dustin Hosseini, Digital Education Practices:What Works? Podcast (Dustin Hosseini) (Episode 13, 29:23)

B. Chatterjee (2020) 'Developing the use of Audio-Visual feedback using Planet Estream' (Invited Speaker) Sharing and creating confidence in teaching online: An online teaching and learning development event, Lancaster/Sunway Malaysia/Ghana/Blackburn College/UA92 see https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/oed/educational-development/sharing-practice/session-1-april-2020-recordings/ for full presentation

B. Chatterjee (2019) 'Experience of giving audio-visual feedback as a formative feedback tool: Insights from Law 264 Lawyers and Society' FASS Sharing Practise Day

B. Chatterjee (2019) 'Always the bridesbot? Alexa and Family Law in the 21st Century' Lancaster University Law School Work in Progress Series, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2019) 'Child sex dolls and robots: challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework' Security Lancaster Seminar Series, Infolab Lancaster

B. Chatterjee (2019) 'Lex Robotica: A book proposal in progress' Work in Progress seminar series, Lancaster University Law School 

B. Chatterjee (2018) 'Robots who rape: implications for criminal law and policy', GiKII Conference, Media Governance & Industries Research Lab, University of Vienna Austria

B. Chatterjee (2018) 'Robots who rape', Lancaster University Law School Work in Progress Seminar Series, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2017) Closing speech (Invited) Iredell PG Conference, 'Beyond the Horizon' Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2017) Gender and Cyberwarfare, FORGE (Forensic Linguistics Research Group) Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2016) Academic Smart Start Programme, for students with ASD/Aspergers, Lancaster University http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sbs/disabilities/SmartStart.htm

B. Chatterjee (2016) 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Encouraging undergraduates into academia'; Sharing Practice Day 2016: Where next? Transition into further study and employment, Organisation and Educational Development, Lancaster University http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/hr/OED/spevent/

B. Chatterjee (2016) (invited delegate/attendee) Oxford University Press, Inaugral Seminar on Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

B. Chatterjee (2016) 'Curriculum Review and Development: Insight from the 2016 revalidation in Law' Issues of Curriculum Design and Development - Sharing ideas and practices, Organisation and Educational Development, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2016) 'The future of stem cell patenting: Considering the import of the recent CJEU decision in the International Stem Cell Corporation Case (2015) Case C-264/13' Social and Legal Studies Conference, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2016) 'PETS (Pretty Excellent Teachers) Win Prizes : A Masterclass on developing and evidencing teaching excellence, applying for and winning teaching prizes'. Organisation and Educational Development, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2015) Academic Smart Start Programme, for students with ASD/Aspergers, Lancaster University http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sbs/disabilities/SmartStart.htm

B. Chatterjee (2015) 'Bela's Bibliography Boot Camp: Referencing for Rookies' Transition in Year 1 Opportunities and Challenges, Sharing Practice Day, Lancaster University https://modules.lancaster.ac.uk/mod/book/view.php?id=251861&chapterid=2865

B. Chatterjee (2015) 'Ephemeral Media, domestic violence and coercive control' University of Leicester Cybercrime Conference, University of Leicester Information Technology Law Society (Invited speaker)

B. Chatterjee (2014) 'The ENIGMA Project: Learning through decryption' Paper given at the Lancaster Sharing Practice Day #LUSPDAY f/SharingPractice2014 twitter @oedLancs g+http://tinyurl.com/SPDGP



B. Chatterjee (2014) 'Ephemeral Media - What are the legal problems?' Paper given at the Centre for Crime Law and Justice Launch Event, Lancaster University 

B. Chatterjee (2014) 'Response to Christiane Wilke's Paper, The Optics of Bombing: International Law and the Visibility of Civilians' Invited respondent, Security by Remote Control, Lancaster 23 May http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/securitybyremotecontrol/programme/

B. Chatterjee (2014) 'James Bond and the New Q: Gendering Cyberwarfare' speaker at 'Feminism and the Digital - researching spaces, communities and the media' Dukes Cinema, Lancaster January 2014 (Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Lancaster University)(Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2014) 'Digital Defusion: Cyber-Peacekeeping in a pre-war State?' CILHR Seminar Series, Lancaster University 

B. Chatterjee and A. Macculloch (2013) 'How Very Dare You! Should we regulate offensive speech?' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Sixth Form Conference, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2013) Project MAYHEM: Re-envisioning peer support for Law students, a paper given at the Role of Technology in Teaching and Learning Conference/Sharing Practice Day, Organisation and Educational Development, Lancaster University (see Projects).

B. Chatterjee (2013) 'Eyeballing Alcock', a paper/performance for Law and the Senses, University of Westminster, The Pavillion, London (see Projects).

B. Chatterjee (2012) 'Cyberwarfare: Challenges for International Law' International Law Group, Lancaster University (see Projects).

B. Chatterjee (2011) 'Briefing on Contemporary Encryption law and policy' (Invited Academic Speaker) #CSC2011 Cyber Security Conference 2011, School of Computing and Communications/Infolab 21/ICT KTN (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2011) 'Encryption and Child Protection: A 21st Century Dilemma' 9th International Cyberspace Conference, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

B. Chatterjee (2011) 'RIPA Remixed: The Curious Morphology of Encryption Provisions' Faculty of Science and Technology, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2011) 'More Makeovers than a 90s Boy Band: The ongoing transformation of RIPA encryption provisions' Lancaster University Law School Work in Progress Series, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2011) 'Unlocking Contemporary UK Encryption Law and Policy' BILETA Conference, Manchester Metropolitain University.

B. Chatterjee (2010) 'Sadomasochism, Law, Technology', Paper for the Centre for Gender and Womens' Studies Research Day, Lancaster University.

B. Chatterjee (2010) 'Sadomasochism, Law, Space and Technology', Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Bristol UWE

B. Chatterjee (2008) 's. 6 Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (Extreme Pornography) : A discussion', Lancaster University Law School Work in Progress Series, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2006) '(Gay) Pride and Prejudice: Sexuality and the law of Defamation' Instutite for Women's Studies, Lancaster University (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2006) 'Take a Letter, Miss Jones' - Gender, Sexuality and Virtual Learning Environments, Paper presented at Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Law, University of Kent

B. Chatterjee (2005) 'Ph.D students and Mental Health Issues' SLSA Postgraduate Conference, Lancaster University

B. Chatterjee (2005) 'Law and the Cybercity', University of Westminster (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2004) 'Sisters in Crime: A comparative analysis of Anglo-Canadian obscenity law' Anglo-Canadian Perspectives on Gender, Sexuality and Law Conference, British Association of Canadian Studies, Legal Studies Group, Canada House, London

B. Chatterjee (2003) 'Back(s)lash: Politicising Cyberlaw', Lancaster University (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2002) 'Obscene/Online - policing adult obscenity', Colloquium on Cybercrime, University of Leeds (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2002) 'In cyberspace nobody knows I'm a feminist', Gender, Sexuality and Law II Conference, Keele University

B. Chatterjee (2001) 'The League of Gentlemen: Thoughts on Feminism and Cyberlaw', Institute for Women's Studies, Lancaster University (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee & H. Quirk (2001) 'Motivation'- Socio-Legal Studies Annual Postgraduate Conference, Birkbeck (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2000) 'Excess Baggage? A response to Nina Wakeford's lecture Handbag.com and other sites of 'real' queerness on the Net' , Performing Virtualities Conference, Windsor (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2000) 'Uneasy Tensions: Critical Race theory and Female Genital Mutilation',Colloquium on religion, spirituality, corporeal change and the legal order, Oxford Brookes University (Invited Seminar Paper)

B. Chatterjee (2000) 'Razorgirls and Cyberdykes - Tracing Cyberfeminism' Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Queen's University Belfast

B. Chatterjee (1999) 'Future Flesh: Misshapen things to come' Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Loughborough University

B. Chatterjee (1999) 'Tertium Non Datur - Missing Thirds and the Alchemy of Utopias' Critical Legal Conference, Birkbeck,

Conference Administration and Visiting Fellowships

(2016) Social and Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Lancaster, Conference Committee

(2016) Social and Legal Studies Association Stream Convenor, Trans*/Law

(2009) Co-organiser, British Association for Canadian Studies Legal Studies Group annual conference, Oxford University (in association with BACS and BACS LSG executive committee, funded by a grant of      $(Can) 20,000, following an initial application for $(Can)25,000. This successful grant bid was a consortium bid put together by Dr Chatterjee in her capacity as Chair of the BACS/LSG in association, along with Ms Jodie Robson and Dr Susan Hodgett, Secretary and Chair of BACS.).

(2006) Visiting Fellow, Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Law, University of Kent

(2005) Conference Convenor (with Dr. Ann-Maree Farrell) Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Postgraduate Conference, Lancaster University

(2004) Conference Convenor (with BACS/LSG) British Association for Canadian Studies, Legal Studies Group, Annual Conference, Anglo-Canadian perspectives on Gender, Sexuality and Law, Canada House

(2001) Stream Convenor, Cyberlaw Stream, Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Bristol University

Esteem Indicators//Academic Review//Associations

Esteem Indicators:

  • CREST (Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats) Security Research Ethics Committee Member (2018-2020)
  • EPSRC Fellowship Advisory Board, Lancaster University School of Computing and Communications (from 2014)
  • Registered Expert for the European Commission's eContentplus and SaferInternet Plus Programmes (to 2009)
  • Former chair and webmistress of the British Association for Canadian Studies, Legal Studies Association (to 2009)
  • Former member of the Council of the British Association of Canadian Studies 2003-6.
  • Member of the management board of the Centre for Law and Society at Lancaster University
  • Interviewed as an expert for R. Attwood (2007) 'Taboos stymie a frank look at porn' Times Higher Education Supplement March 201th Issue 1, 787, pp1, 8-9.

Academic Review and Editorial Service:

Dr Chatterjee has been an ESRC and AHRC Peer Reviewer for proposals up to £1 Million. She is on the editorial board of the Canadian Peer Reviewed Journal Frontiers of Legal Research, Gender and Womens Studies and the Dutch Journal for Women's Studies (to 2020). She has peer-reviewed articles for the following journals:

Journal of Cultural Research

Discrimination and the Law

Studies in Law, Politics and Society

Law and Society

Modern Law Review

Information, Communication and Society

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

European Journal of Information Technology

Web Journal of Current Legal Issues

Feminist Legal Studies


International Journal of Law, Computers and Technology

Law and Society Review



Legal Education Research Network ('LERN')

Lancaster Lawyer's Aware Project (Advisor)

Lancaster Moot Team Essex Court Competition (Advisor)


Periodic Quality Review

Engineering, Lancaster (2016)

LEC, Lancaster (2009)


Current Teaching

At Undergraduate level, Dr Chatterjee currently convenes Law 264 Contemporary Issues in the Legal Profession (2nd year quasi foundational course), and contributes to various other courses including 313 Intellectual Property; Law 101xy English Legal System and Methods; Crim 102

At postgraduate level she convened LLM 5230 Introduction to English Legal System and Method (core subject on the MSc Cyber Security Degree) for 10 years. 

Her convenorship of the Law of Torts 103r from 2007 to 2014 formed the mainstay of her shortlisting to the OUP Law Teacher of the Year Awards 2013, nomination to the LawTeacher.Net Law Lecturer of the Year Awards 2013 and her institutional nomination for the HEA NTFS Scheme 2014 and 2016.

During her time at Lancaster she has also contributed to a wide range of courses, including:

LLB Law 103 Common Law

LLB Law 208 Jurisprudence

LLB Law 209 Legal Issues in Cybercrime

LLB Law 212 Dissertation

LLB Law 222 Film and Law

LLB Law 231 Business Law 1 (Convenor)

LLB Law 302 Sexualities (Convenor)

LLB Law 313 Intellectual Property

LLB Law 330 Crime and Criminal Justice

LLB Law 317 Legal Issues in Business

LLB Law 350 Gender and Law

CRIM 219 Issues in Cybercrime

IWS 101 Women's Studies

LLM 119 Intellectual Property

SOCL 491 Cybercrime (MSc/MA)

Former LLB Dissertation Supervision includes: 

Occupiers' Liability in Tort; Privacy and Tort; Comparative/Colonial legal perspectives on African LBGTQ laws; Privacy and Tort; Superinjunctions; Children who kill; Internet law and Piracy; Civil Partnership & Marriage; Gender and Law; Asbestos litigation; Stalking Law; Nigerian romance fraud/419 scams/'Rough Sex' defence in criminal law

Former LLM/MSc Dissertation Supervision includes: 

Cyberbullying; Harrassment and SNS; Cyberterrorism and hacking//electronic evidence; Cyberpornography/FGM/Copyright parody; copyright idea/expresssion dichotomy 

Current Research

Dr Chatterjee's current research investigates robots, AI and criminal law. 

PhD Supervisions Completed

Christiana Markou

Submitted: PhD: 04095684

Project title: Consumer Software Agents in the Online Buying Process: Risks, Issues and the EU Legal Response

Supervisor 45%

1/01/05 → 3/11/11

PhDs Examined

2021 Internal Examiner at Lancaster University Law School

2019 External Examiner at Leeds University, School of Law 

2013 External Examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University, School of Law

2013 Internal Examiner at Lancaster University, School of Law

Additional Information


Mentor for colleagues on T&S contracts (Law School 2020-) 

Registered mentor for BILETA mentoring programme (2019)

Mentor for junior law colleagues on the Lancaster CAP (Certificate in Academic Practice) and ATP (Associate Teacher Programme)

Registered mentor for Lancaster University Human Resources Mentor Match Scheme 2014


Registered mentor (2016) Teaching excellence programme initiated by Oxford University Press


(1997) LL.B (Hons), Leicester University (First Class)

(1998) LL.M Brunel University (Child Law and Policy)

(2002) Ph.D Brunel University (Cyberpornography, Cyberidentity and Law)

Thesis Title

Chatterjee, B. (2001) 'Screwing with Technology': A Thesis on Cyberpornography, Cyberidentity and Law. A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

This thesis is concerned with legal approaches to cyberspace and questions of identity. Whereas current legal approaches to cyberspace have been those of 'black-letter law', where cyberspace is conceived of as a 'neutral' tool, this thesis turns to the methodologies and approaches of the social sciences, where cyberspace is seen as an arena for social construction, and where questions of identity, particularly gender and sexual identity, are at the fore. Considering the question of how the cyberidentity might differ from the legal subject, this thesis draws on elements of various theories such as post/feminism, cyberfeminism and queer theory in order to expose the nature of the cyberidentity as postmodern, plural and fragmented. Such an approach highlights questions of identity and draws attention to the possible tensions between the potentially destabilising effects of the postmodern cyberidentity, and the legal subject as the modernist, binary subject. 

In order to more cleary illustrate the tension between the cyberidentity and the legal subject, this thesis looks to adult cyberpornography and obscenity law as an example of this tension. The area of obscenity and pornography lends istelf as an ideal example not only of an area of discrete legal practice/regulation, but also as an area where cyberspace, identity politics and critical theories can be seen to intersect and coalesce. Having arranged the various theoretical perspectives and turned them to the study of cyberspace and cyberidentity in the context of obscenity law, this thesis moves to conclude that there may be major tensions between identities in cyberspace and identities under the law, potentially resulting in violence to cyberidentities in their encounters with the law. Ultimately, this thesis contributes to the development of socio-legal studies on identity, and alternative legal approaches to cyberspace that are critical and theoretically informed - approaches that do not exist in the current legal discourse on cyberspace. 

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