ESRC PhD studentship: Technical Justice: Examining Video-Linking in Immigration Courts

ESRC PhD studentship: Technical Justice: Examining Video-Linking in Immigration Courts

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter is pleased to offer a PhD studentship funded by the ESRC for entry in 2013/14. Successful applicants will be based within Geography (Streatham Campus, Exeter) at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.


Dr Nick Gill

Project Description

Video-linking was introduced in 2008 in the UK to allow for speedier determination of asylum appeals, as well as bail hearings for asylum seekers held in detention. According to the Ministry of Justice, video-linking works as follows: “If you are detained it may be possible that your case will be heard by video link. This means that you will remain in your place of detention and give any evidence that you have to give by video link. You will be able to see and hear the hearing room and all the parties on a television where you are detained, and everyone in the hearing room will be able to see and hear you on a television there” (Ministry of Justice webpage, October 2011).

The use of video-linking is justified partly in terms of the time saved: judges, representatives and applicants do not have to travel as far. There have been, however, a series of concerns raised by asylum support groups about the use of video-linking in courts including concerns relating to the adequacy of this form of presence in the courtroom.

This is a fully funded PhD position to run alongside the ESRC project ‘Examining Geographic Disparities in Asylum Appeal Success Rates at Different Hearing Centres Around the UK’. The PhD will explore video-linking in immigration courts from a variety of theoretical perspectives which might include, but are not limited to, socio-technical debates, mobilities, analyses of time, rhythmanalysis, virtuality, absences, synchronicity and simultaneity.

Practical questions that the student might explore include: how does video-linking impact upon the asylum appeal or bail hearing experience from the perspective of the applicant? How does video-linking impact upon the hearing from the perspective of others involved in the appeal process? What different experiences of asylum appeals via video-link do different types of applicant experience (e.g. by gender, nationality, age, language skill and case type)?

More conceptual questions might include: how can the case of video-linking within detention shed more light upon the relationship between virtuality and mobilities? How are different forms of presence distributed through the process of video-linking and what are the key political and social issues that arise as a result of this distribution? What are the implications of the virtualisation of legal processes?

The student will benefit from being part of a wider research team working on related issues, with input from a range of relevant charities and pressure groups. Alongside the standard thesis, the student will be expected to produce and widely disseminate a user-report of their findings.

Academic entry requirements:

Candidates must have (or expect to complete by September 2013) a Masters degree in a social science or relevant discipline with appropriate research training. In addition candidates must have obtained a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a social science or relevant discipline. Applicants with either an academic or personal knowledge of immigration law (especially asylum law) will be at an advantage.

Value of award and residency entry requirements:

The studentship will cover a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (currently £13,590 per annum for 2012-2013), a contribution towards research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by the ESRC (see for up to three years. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.

This position is advertised online at: and

Application procedures:

Please upload the following documents to the studentship application formClick here to apply

The preferred format for all uploaded files is .pdf and preferred filename should start with your last name.

  • CV
  • Covering letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • 2 references (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310.

The closing date for applications is midnight Thursday 7th March 2013.

Funded PhD studentship: The effectiveness of immigration detention centres in preparing detainees for removal

The Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford is offering one collaborative ESRC + 3 studentship to commence in October 2013 co-funded by Her Majesty’s Prison Inspectorate entitled, ‘The effectiveness of immigration detention centres in preparing detainees for removal: a study of detention centre conditions and outcomes’.

The +3 studentship covers the cost of fees and provides a stipend for three years of doctoral study. It is open to students with a good first degree and a Masters degree in any relevant social science. Students with a masters degree the curriculum of which does not meet the ESRC’s graduate training requirements will be required to take additional methods training during the first year of their doctoral study.

ESRC +3 Studentships are only available to UK (fees plus stipend) and EU (fees only) students.

Applications are invited for these studentships with a closing date of Friday 18th January 2013Interviews will be held on week of 11 February 2013.

To apply, please see the further details below.

Further information

All applicants should read the ESRC Guidance Notes for Applicants and eligibility criteria which can be found on the ESRC website at:

Informal enquiries about the studentships are welcome and can be made to Dr. Mary Bosworth; email; tel: +44 (0)1865 281927.

Enquiries about the application process should be addressed to Ms Tracy Kaye, Graduate Studies Administrator; email:; tel. + 44 (0)1865 274444.

Further information about the Centre, its staff, research and graduate programmes can be found on the Centre’s website:

Information about HM Inspectorate of Prisons can be found at:

Collaborative HMIP/ESRC ‘+3’ Studentship

‘The effectiveness of Immigration detention centres in preparing detainees for removal: A study of detention centre conditions and outcomes.’

Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford

Further Details

The +3 studentship is available to those who wish to study for a doctorate having already completed a Masters degree. Students with a masters degree whose curriculum does not meet the ESRC’s graduate training requirements will be required to take additional methods training during the first year of their doctoral study.

The studentship will examine the effectiveness of programs in British immigration removal centres.  It will be supervised by Dr Mary Bosworth, with staff at HMIP providing mentorship.  The project will be primarily qualitative, based on observation and interviews with detainees and staff.  The student may also use survey tools developed for understanding life in detention.  Strong methodological training will be essential.  Some knowledge of languages other than English would be helpful.

The project will be in line with HMIP’s statutory remit to inspect conditions of detention and treatment of detainees. It will help to develop HMIP’s effectiveness and impact in the agreed area of study.  As part of her or his induction and ongoing learning, the student will undergo induction and training at HMIP. He or she may be required to reasonably contribute to some aspects of HMIP’s work, for instance accompanying them on inspection.  This will not be such as to obstruct the student’s ability to pursue the project.  The student appointed to carry out the studentship will provide an interim and final report to HMIP on the progress of his or her research

How to Apply

Applications for the collaborative HMIP/ESRC +3 studentship are invited from those who i) have obtained a first class, or high upper second class degree, in a relevant subject, such as criminology, sociology, law, social policy, politics, and history, and ii) have completed, or by the end of September 2013 expect to have completed, a masters degree in a relevant subject with an average mark of 68% or above.

To apply you need to submit a full application to the University of Oxford for a DPhil in Criminology via Graduate Admissions:

  1. A completed application form, which can be downloaded from:  (Applicants must read the accompanying Notes of Guidance before completing this form);
  2. A letter of application, stating your reasons for wishing to pursue the programme;
  3. CV/Résumé;
  4. An official transcript of previous higher education results up to the present;
  5. Two samples of written work (each piece should be around 2,000 words in length; it may be a clearly defined extract from a longer piece of work if you prefer);
  6. A research proposal of 2,000 words, which should be the outline of a proposed doctoral study indicating your chosen topic; why you are interested in it; the research questions you want to ask, and how you propose to answer them;
  7. Three academic references;
  8. An application fee payment of £50.

Applicants should refer to the relevant studentship in Section I on the application form by using the appropriate code, either ‘CFC/1314/ESRC/HMIP+3’.

This should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday 18th January 2013.

A copy of all the application materials should also be sent by email to Ms Tracy Kaye on by 5:00 p.m. on Friday 18th January 2013

Interviews will be held on: the week of 11 February 2013