Accessibility statement

Joe Tomlinson



Dr Joe Tomlinson
LL.B (Hons) (Manchester) (Dean’s Award), Ph.D (Manchester) (President’s Medal), BPTC (BPP Law School) (Queen Mother’s Scholar)

Professor of Public Law 

Joe is Professor of Public Law at the University of York. He is also a member of the Academic Panel at Blackstone Chambers, an Associate Fellow of the Public Law Project, and Co-Chair of the Academic Panel of the Administrative Justice Council.

His work focuses broadly on the law of public administration. He has written and edited numerous books in this field, including The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice, and his research has appeared in leading journals, including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Legal Studies, Public Law, and Modern Law Review. He has also been awarded grants by a range of bodies—including the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Australian Academy of Social Science.

Joe’s research has been cited by the UK Supreme Court and widely relied upon in significant public interest litigation, including R (on the application of Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry and others v Advocate General for Scotland [2019] UKSC 41, RR v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] UKSC 52, and JCWI v The President of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2020] EWHC 3103 (Admin). He is regularly invited to give evidence to committees in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and, in 2019, was an ESRC Parliamentary Academic Fellow, working with the Justice Committee in the House of Commons. Joe has worked with multiple government bodies, including the Ministry of Justice, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and the Open Innovation Team. He has also worked with many charity and private sector partners on research initiatives, including recent partnerships with Mishcon de Reya and Asylum Aid. His research has been covered widely in the press, including The Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Independent, Sky News, WIRED, The Huffington Post, and The Express.

Before joining the University of York as Senior Lecturer in 2019, Joe held lectureships at King’s College London and the University of Sheffield. He has also held visiting positions at Melbourne Law School, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Constitution Unit at UCL Department of Political Science. From 2017 to 2021, he was Research Director at the Public Law Project—a national legal charity.



Joe’s research focuses on the law of public administration—administrative decision-making about people’s rights and entitlements and how those decisions can be challenged. It explores how law operates in contemporary administrative systems, often with an emphasis on systemic issues. He is also interested in how these systems are perceived and experienced in everyday life.

Joe’s approach to administrative law broadly involves advancing data-driven and interdisciplinary approaches. It uses a combination of legal and empirical (quantitative and qualitative) research methods, and he often works with colleagues from other disciplines, including psychology, political science, computer science, and social policy, as well as partners outside of the university sector (including government, charities, and practitioners).

He is currently working across three main areas:

  • Administrative fairness. Joe is leading the development of the Administrative Fairness Lab at the University of York—an interdisciplinary research group that conducts empirical research on public perceptions of procedural fairness within frontline administrative decision-making. His current focus is a project on Administrative Fairness in the Digital Welfare State (funded by the Nuffield Foundation). He is conducting this work with Simon Halliday, Jed Meers, Mark Wilberforce and colleagues at the University of Kent Political Psychology Lab and the University of Oxford Department of Computer Science.
  • The law of data gaps. Joe leads the Law of Data Gaps Research Group, which explores important gaps in public data and the role of law in relation to these gaps. The group is investigating important data gaps and developing research on why these gaps arise, the problems they can cause, and how we can close them. Current funding for this work has come from the ESRC IAA and the research is in partnership with the Public Law Project. He is leading this work with Jed Meers and researcher Naoise Coakley. 
  • Judicial review and modern government. This is an ongoing stream of research that seeks to understand the relationship between modern administration and judicial review. He has recently published a study of immigration judicial reviews (with Robert Thomas, funded by the Nuffield Foundation) and is currently leading a project with Mishcon de Reya’s litigation data team (funded by the ESRC IAA) exploring the use of machine learning to automatically analyse judicial review judgments. He also currently working on: a paper on public perceptions of the limits of judicial authority (with Alan Renwick); an edited collection on Facts in Public Law Adjudication (with Anne Carter, contracted to Hart Bloombsury and funded by the Australian Academy of Social Science); and a paper on patterns in judicial review decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic (with Tom Hickman KC). 

Outside of these three areas, he is also currently: completing a project examining the public response to COVID-19 lockdown regulations (funded by the Nuffield Foundation); writing a practitioner text with Brendan McGurk on Artificial Intelligence and Public Law (contracted to Hart Bloomsbury); completing a short scoping project on migration administrative justice (with Robert Thomas, funded by Unbound Philanthropy); and writing up an experimental study on the impact of digital immigration status on access to housing (with Jed Meers and Alice Welsh).


Selected publications

An updated list of Joe’s publications is available via the PURE database. Selected recent publications are listed below.

  • ‘Why the UK Complied with COVID-19 Lockdown Law’ (2022) King’s Law Journal (forthcoming), with Simon Halliday, Naomi Finch, Jed Meers, and Mark Wilberforce
  • ‘Bureaucratic warfare’ (2022) Journal of Immigration, Asylum, and Nationality Law (forthcoming)
  • ‘Undermining loyalty to legality?’ (2022) Modern Law Review (forthcoming), with Simon Halliday, Naomi Finch, and Jed Meers
  • ‘Missing evidence?’ in J. Tomlinson and A. Carter (eds), Facts in Public Law Adjudication (Hart Bloomsbury, 2023), with Cassandra Somers-Joce (forthcoming)
  • Experiments in Automating Immigration Systems (Bristol University Press, 2022), with Jack Maxwell
  • The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice (Oxford University Press, 2022), ed. with Robert Thomas, Marc Hertogh, and Richard Kirkham 
  • Immigration Judicial Reviews (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), with Robert Thomas
  • ‘Creative non-compliance’ (2021) Deviant Behaviour, with Simon Halliday and Jed Meers (online pre-publication; in press)
  • ‘Discrimination in digital immigration status’ (2021) 42(2) Legal Studies 315, with Jack Maxwell and Alice Welsh
  • ‘Justice in Automated Administration’ (2020) 40(4) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 708
  • ‘Do we need a theory of legitimate expectations?’ (2020) 40(2) Legal Studies 28
  • ‘A Different Tale of Judicial Power’ [2019] Public Law 537, with Robert Thomas



Joe currently teaches on following modules:

  • Undergraduate Dissertation (module leader); and
  • Public Interest Litigation (module leader).


Joe is happy to speak to prospective postgraduate research students interested in pursuing research in the field of administrative law and is particularly keen to support research within his research areas (see “Research” tab).

Please note that, due to a research grant, Joe is on limited teaching duties in the academic years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024.

Other teaching

Joe is regularly invited to deliver guest lectures and has taught in this capacity at a number of institutions, including New York University, Melbourne University, and the London School of Economics. He has also been a part of delivering multiple Qualifying Sessions at Middle Temple.

Contact details

Professor Joe Tomlinson
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 6472