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Cambridge ESRC DTP Knowledge Exchange Studentship 2022: How is technology reconfiguring what we understand by access to justice?

The University of Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership [DTP], in collaboration with UK Ministry of Justice is pleased to offer a studentship available for admission in October 2023 in the Department of Geography.

The studentship is open as either a one-year masters followed by three-year doctoral programme or a three-year doctoral programme and will be co-supervised by Prof. Alex Jeffrey in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and Alexy Buck at the UK Ministry of Justice.

ESRC DTP students will acquire a unique set of skills that will equip them for high-profile careers as leading social scientists, in academia or in other government, industrial, commercial and third sector organisations, either in the UK or elsewhere.

The project background: The geography of the criminal justice system is transforming in England and Wales. In late 2023, His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) comes to the end of a £1.5bn Reform Programme, a seven-year initiative that has seen a reconfiguration of the court estate, focusing trial processes on a smaller number of courts, and using digital technologies to provide access to civil and criminal justice proceedings. Even within this period of court consolidation, the Covid-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for the use of remote proceedings. Considering this period of policy reform and adaptation, this doctoral project will use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the implications of the reconfiguration of the justice system, advancing academic debates concerning the role of place and presence in judicial processes while also feeding into the ongoing design of the Reform 2.0 programme within the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS.

The use of technology in court spaces has been an emerging area of interest for legal scholars, criminologists and legal geographers. There is a broad consensus that the enactment of law has historically occupied symbolic sites to convey its legitimacy as a source of authority. From the medieval legal proceedings under a prominent oak tree, through to the grandeur of Victorian judicial sites such as the Royal Courts of Justice in London, there is a shared emphasis on the significance of justice being seen to be done. In this respect the dematerialisation of law through remote technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the metaverse could be assumed to be reducing the significance of place-based law and perhaps undermining the cherished principal of public scrutiny and participation in the resolution of legal dispute. But this project is starting from an alternative premise: that the geography of access to justice is being transformed as opposed to erased as new forms of participation, visibility and access are produced through adoption of digital judicial processes.

Applications: Cambridge ESRC DTP studentships are open to all students, both Home and International who demonstrate the required academic pot.

An ESRC DTP studentship will cover fees at the Home rate and provide £15,609 p.a. in living costs (current rates). DTP students also receive a personal allowance for additional training costs, and can apply for further funding to pursue fieldwork, academic exchange, and collaboration with non-academic partner organisations.

What to do next: You can find out more about the Cambridge ESRC DTP at: https://www.esrcdtp.group.cam.ac.uk/about/onoffer and read about some of the opportunities that will be available to you.

You can find out more about the Department of Geography at https://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/.

Please address any questions about this studentship to Alex Jeffrey at asj38@cam.ac.uk

Applications for this studentship should be made to the Department of Geography

.

Please quote reference LC34319 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Key Information

Department of Geography

Reference: LC34319

Dates and deadlines:

Published
Tuesday, 22 November, 2022
Closing Date
Monday, 2 January, 2023