Academic placements

We are open to suggestions from academics and PhD students for an attachment to the Law Commission, to work on projects relevant to their research interests. Details of our current projects are available here on our website.

The position would be unpaid, since the expectation would be that the candidate had funding from their academic institution or elsewhere – for example, by grant or on paid sabbatical. However, it may be possible to pay reasonable travel expenses where these would not otherwise be met by a grant (but not accommodation or subsistence). The skills/expertise offered by the candidate need not be solely legal. The Commission would be interested in approaches, for example, from sociologists or criminologists.

We cannot accommodate more than a few placements at any one time and the arrangements would be tailored on an individual basis. This would include details of length of attachment, expectations on contributions to the project in question, attendance and involvement at the Commission, liaison, facilities, arrangements for disclosure/publication/attribution of work undertaken.

Anyone interested in working at the Law Commission on this basis will be asked to demonstrate that they have a specific contribution to make to a current project, for example, on the basis of their expertise, previous work or field of academic work. Those interested should contact our Enquiries mailbox.

Mutually beneficial research

Occasionally, the Commission will be contacted by an academic undertaking research in an area which is of interest to the Commission. Contact is often made when the academic is preparing an application for funding for research, and wishes to maximise the possibility that the research might further our law reform aims, for example, by setting out the case for future reform in a given area, or the academic may already have secured funding at the time of contact (one academic worked with us to analyse the case for reform of public footpaths, a potential project at the Law Commission). Project teams will sometimes contact researchers in an area to encourage academics to undertake research relevant to a project where the benefit of (for example) an empirical study has been identified. These are not to be viewed as a placement or internship because, under such arrangements, the norm will be that the academic works remotely and under their own direction, albeit that the Law Commission will provide guidance to ensure any output is mutually beneficial. Those considering applications will wish to consider the likelihood of the work helping to support Law Commission aims, for example contributing to an existing or potential future project.

In general, such arrangements are to be encouraged as they can make a positive contribution to law reform, benefit the academic, and require little input from us. Law Commission input may be limited to discussing the application with the academic, commenting on a draft, and providing a letter of support to the funding body. To maintain the Commission’s independence, and the independence of the research, we generally decline invitations to sit on Advisory Boards that academics will often establish in connection with the project.