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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, where he is also Director of the Administrative Fairness Lab. His current research focuses on public perceptions of fairness in frontline government decision-making, and the impacts of such perceptions on the effectiveness of public policy responses to complex challenges such as poverty, climate change, and migration. He is also researching the evolving relationship between law, public administration, and autonomous technologies. In past work, Joe focused on advancing empirical analysis of judicial review litigation, and remains interested in this field of research. During the pandemic, he led a major study of the public’s perception of and response to lockdown laws.

Joe has written and edited numerous books on these themes, including The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice (OUP, 2021), and his writing has appeared in leading journals, including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Legal Studies, Modern Law Review, and Public Law. 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.

Outside of the University, Joe is Co-Chair of the Academic Panel of the Administrative Justice Council, a member of the Academic Panel at Blackstone Chambers, and an Associate Fellow of the Public Law Project. His research has been cited by the UK Supreme Court and widely relied upon in significant public law 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 collaborated with government bodies, including the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Work and Pensions, 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 completed his LLB (Dean’s Award) and PhD (President’s Medal) at the University of Manchester. 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—where he oversaw a rapid expansion of the organisation’s research team. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2022, and was a Queen Mother’s Scholar at Middle Temple.


Selected publications

An updated list of Joe’s publications is maintained on the University of York’s PURE database. Selected recent publications are listed below.


  • Facts in Public Law Adjudication (Hart Bloomsbury, 2023), ed. with A. Carter
  • Researching Public Law in Common Law Systems (Edward Elgar, 2023), ed. with P. Daly
  • Experiments in Automating Immigration Systems (BUP, 2022), with J. Maxwell   
  • The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice (OUP, 2022), ed. with R. Thomas, M. Hertogh, & R. Kirkham
  • Immigration Judicial Reviews (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), with R. Thomas
  • Justice in the Digital State (BUP, 2019)

Journal articles

  • ‘Why the UK Complied with COVID-19 Lockdown Law’ (2022) King’s Law Journal, with S. Halliday, N. Finch, J. Meers & M. Wilberforce 
  • ‘Undermining loyalty to legality?’ (2022) Modern Law Review, with S. Halliday, N. Finch & J. Meers
  • ‘Bureaucratic warfare’ (2022) 36 Journal of Immigration, Asylum, and Nationality Law 178
  • ‘Creative non-compliance’ (2021) Deviant Behaviour, with S. Halliday & J. Meers
  • ‘Discrimination in digital immigration status’ (2021) 42(2) Legal Studies 315, with J. Maxwell & A. Welsh
  • ‘Justice in Automated Administration’ (2020) 40(4) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 708
  • ‘Judicial Review Evidence in the Era of the Digital State’ [2020] Public Law 740, with K. Sheridan & A. Harkens
  • ‘Do we need a theory of legitimate expectations?’ (2020) 40(2) Legal Studies 28
  • ‘Panel Size Determination in the UK Supreme Court’ (2020) 39(2) Civil Justice Quarterly 144, with D. Fairgrieve KC and J. Rylatt
  • ‘A Different Tale of Judicial Power’ [2019] Public Law 537, with R. Thomas
  • ‘Crowdfunding Public Interest Judicial Reviews’ [2019] Public Law 166
  • ‘Stumbling Towards the UK’s New Administrative Settlement’ (2018) 20 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 233, with L. Lovdahl Gormsen
  • ‘The Grammar of Administrative Justice Values’ (2017) 39(4) Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law 524
  • ‘Mapping current issues in administrative justice’ (2017) 39(3) Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law 380, with R. Thomas

Chapter in books

  • ‘Missing evidence?’ in J. Tomlinson & A. Carter (eds), Facts in Public Law Adjudication (Hart Bloomsbury, 2023), with C. Somers-Joce
  • ‘Administrative Law in the Digital World’ in C. Harlow (ed.), A Research Agenda for Administrative Law (Edward Elgar, 2023), with P. Daly & J. Raso
  • ‘Studying the Administrative State’ in J. Tomlinson & P. Daly (eds) Researching Public Law in Common Law Systems (Edward Elgar, 2022), with P. Daly
  • ‘COVID-19 and Lockdown Compliance: A Gender Analysis’ in A. Yong & S. Germain (eds), Beyond the Virus (BUP, 2022), with N. Finch, J. Meers, S. Halliday & M. Wilberforce
  • ‘New Labour’s Administrative Justice Legacy’ in A. Tucker & M. Gordon (eds.), The New Labour Constitution (Hart Bloomsbury, 2022), with R. Kirkham
  • ‘Rights and Solidarity during COVID-19’ in D. Cowan & A. Mumford (eds.), Pandemic Legalities (Bristol University Press, 2021), with S. Halliday & J. Meers
  • ‘Beyond the end of ouster clause history?’ in L. Stirton, T.T. Arvind, R. Kirkham, & D. Mac Síthigh (eds), Executive Decision-making and the Courts (Hart Bloomsbury, 2021)
  • ‘Reforming Judicial Review Costs Rules in an Age of Austerity in. A. Higgins (ed.), The Civil Procedure Rules Twenty Years On (Oxford University Press, 2020), with A. Pickup

Short articles and case notes

  • ‘Who builds digital government?’ [2022] Public Law, with V. Adelmant 
  • ‘How Public is Public Law?’ [2022] Judicial Review, with D. Hoadley, E. Nemsic & C. Somers-Joce
  • ‘For the record’ [2022] Public Law 368, with C. Somers-Joce
  • ‘Certainty at all costs?’ [2022] Judicial Review 255, with R. Thomas  
  • ‘Holes in the Digital Parachute’ (2021) 35(1) Journal of Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Law, with J. Hynes et al
  • ‘Government Models, Decision-Making, and the Public Law Presumption of Disclosure’ [2021] Judicial Review, with J. Maxwell
  • ‘Empowering Tribunals to Enforce the Human Rights Act 1998’ (2020) 83(3) Modern Law Review 652, with A. Sinclair
  • ‘In Defence of the Court?’ (2020) 14(9) Geography Compass e12499, with N. Gill & J. Hynes
  • ‘Judicial Review during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ [2020] Public Law 9, with J. Hynes, E. Marshall, & J. Maxwell
  • ‘Will Digital Immigration Status Work?’ (2020) 34(4) Journal of Immigration, Asylum, and Nationality Law 306, with A. Welsh
  • ‘Foundations for a ‘secret history’ of judicial review’ (2019) 41(2) Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law 252
  •  ‘Administrative Inconsistency in the Courts’ [2018] Judicial Review 190, with S. Daly
  • ‘The Narrow Approach to Substantive Legitimate Expectations and the Trend of Modern Authority’ (2017) 17(1) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 75



Joe is largely focused on research and his UG teaching principally relates to an advanced optional module on Public Interest Litigation.

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 supervise research within his current research areas (see “Research” tab). He is currently supervising a number of research students, including:

  • Sam Guy (crowdfunding and judicial review)
  • Naoise Coakley (the law of data gaps)
  • Aysha Alsheri (automation, redress, and administrative justice)
  • Aparna Ashok (the conceptualisation of legal risk in policymaking)

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