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MA in Law by Research Scholarship and Research Assistant Position: The Law Against Public Data Gaps

Posted on 14 July 2022

York Law School is delighted to offer a unique opportunity –between the University of York’s new Administrative Fairness Lab and the leading NGO Public Law Project—to complete an MA by Research (a masters-level research degree) as part of an ESRC IAA project on how public law regulates the failure of public bodies to collect valuable data.

What is the “Law Against Public Data Gaps” project about?

Research has shown there is clear evidence of public officials not collecting valuable data on the operation of government systems, even though such collection would involve minimal burden. Legal research at the University of York has also developed a legal theory that, in certain circumstances, such failures may represent a breach of duties in public law and equality law. The problem identified is that these duties are routinely not given sufficient consideration by officials and are under-utilised in the courts.

The ‘Law Against Data Gaps’ project aims to:

  • Create a database of case studies of government failures to collect valuable data that are arguably unlawful;
  • Establish clearer recognition of the legal duties of the government to collect valuable data through public interest litigation; and
  • Raise awareness of the relevant legal principles so that they are used more widely in litigation.

To achieve these aims over the next 12 months, a team working within the Administrative Fairness Lab at the University of York (Professor Joe Tomlinson and Dr Jed Meers) is working closely with the research and casework teams team at the Public Law Project (Ariane Adams and Arabella Lang).

What is offered as part of this opportunity?

The successful applicant will undertake an MA by Law by Research at York Law School by writing a thesis relating to the ‘The Law Against Data Gaps’ project, which contributes to the fulfilment of the project’s aims. Full details on the MA in Law by Research, including entry requirements, can be found here. A scholarship will be provided that covers the cost of tuition fees (up to the home student fee).

The successful applicant will also be appointed as a Research Assistant, working between the Administrative Fairness Lab and in close partnership with the Public Law Project. This work will include work on public interest litigation related to the project aims. There will be a guaranteed 20 hrs per week of Research Assistant work from 19/09/2022 to 17/03/2023, which will be renumerated at a rate of £15.85 per hour.

The MA in Law research project will be supervised by Professor Joe Tomlinson and Dr Jed Meers, and the successful applicant will also be working closely with the team at Public Law Project.

The candidate will leave the project with a masters-level research degree from the University of York, the experience of undertaking research in a policy/litigation context, and likely work of publishable quality.

How do I apply?

This opportunity is open to all those who are eligible for the MA in Law by Research degree at the University of York.

To apply for this opportunity, please send a cover letter (max. two pages) and CV to Professor Joe Tomlinson ( by 5pm on Thursday 18 August 2022. The cover letter should set out why you are interested in the role, what experience you have, and, if relevant, how it fits into your career plans. Please attach both the CV and cover letter as attachments. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on zoom Thursday 25 August 2022.

We particularly encourage applications from people who identify as Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic background, who are underrepresented at the University.

Any queries about this opportunity should be directed to Professor Joe Tomlinson (