Instead of practising law, why not make it?

Every year, the Law Commission recruits a number of research assistants to help make the law simple, modern and fair.

We look for exceptional candidates from all backgrounds, all of whom have a passion for law reform.

The role is fixed-term for 51 weeks, with the possibility of renewal for a further year upon application.

How to apply

The recruitment round is now open. It closes 1 February 2018.

Details of the role are set out in the Guide for Applicants.

You can apply via the Civil Service Jobs and the Ministry of Justice websites.

Please note, we only accept applications during our recruitment round.

Find out about some of the current research assistants.

Why apply?

As a research assistant at the Law Commission, you’ll master complex areas of law and help shape UK legal reform as part of an expert team. You will develop a range of skills and gain professional experience that is hard to obtain anywhere else.

You’ll be part of an organisation which makes a real difference to people’s lives – the work you contribute to won’t just sit on the shelf. Over the past 50 years, more than two-thirds of our recommendations have been accepted or implemented.

At a central London location, in the heart of Whitehall, you’ll be working shoulder to shoulder with a Court of Appeal Judge, QCs, professors, barristers and solicitors – all at the top of their game. You’ll also gain insight into the inner workings of government, working with different departments and policy officials.

As a civil servant, you’ll also be able to access training and benefits to help you progress in your career. Time at the Law Commission is regarded extremely highly by employers – our research assistants typically go onto successful careers at the bar, top law firms, academia and in policy.

What do research assistants do?

Research assistants apply and are assigned to one of five teams:

  • Commercial and Common Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Property, Family and Trust Law
  • Public Law

Within those teams, a research assistant will mainly work on one project supporting the lead lawyer – normally a solicitor, barrister or academic.

This work involves a mix of legal research and writing, policy analysis, and administrative work.

Depending on the stage of a project you could be looking at how the present law operates in practice and considering how it should be reformed, helping to run large-scale open public consultations, or finalising recommendations to Government and instructing Parliamentary Counsel to draft a Bill implementing those recommendations.

What are we looking for?

There is no model candidate that we look for – often research assistants join us following postgraduate studies, professional qualification or later in their career, and sometimes straight after completing their undergraduate degree.

Competition for the role is extremely high. We look for exceptional candidates and select them based on the following criteria:

  • You must have completed a course or courses involving two years’ full-time substantive legal studies or the equivalent in part-time studies.
  • You must have first class or good 2.1 standard undergraduate degree.
  • You must be able to demonstrate our essential competencies.


If you do not satisfy the minimum academic requirements on the basis of your undergraduate degree you can demonstrate the academic standard through one or more of the following completed qualifications:

  • A GDL (or CPE) at distinction, or at commendation with at least one mark at distinction.
  • A completed Masters Degree in law (LLM, BCL, MA or M Phil) at 2.1 (merit) or above.
  • A completed PhD in law.