Warwick Law School News
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New Collaborative Scholarship for Police Custody Project
We are delighted to announce the award of a new PhD studentship funded by the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, led by Professor Jackie Hodgson in the Law School.
Jackie has carried out a number of empirical studies into the provision of custodial legal advice across several jurisdictions, and this award will fund a researcher to investigate the provision of legal assistance to those detained in police custody in Scotland.
This is an empirical and interdisciplinary project, with a co-supervisor in Psychology and carried out in collaboration with the law-reform and human rights organisation JUSTICE. It seeks to understand the treatment of suspects in police custody in Scotland, especially those deemed most vulnerable. It will examine the extent to which recently-introduced procedural safeguards are able to protect the fair trial rights of suspects detained in police custody, looking at the legal, cultural and behavioural factors that affect the exercise and effectiveness of these rights in practice.
The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.
The University of Warwick as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner JUSTICE to commence in October 2022.
This project is an empirical and interdisciplinary study of the provision of legal advice for suspects held in police custody in Scotland. Custodial legal advice has been permitted in Scotland since 2010 but take-up is very low: 31% of suspects request telephone advice and 12% request in-person attendance by their solicitor. Although earlier research has looked at the police custody environment, there have been no research observations of the police interrogation of suspects – their nature and duration; the impact of having a lawyer or appropriate adult present; opportunities to reconsider waivers of in-person assistance; how and when officers invoke the exceptional statutory right to interview vulnerable persons without the permission or presence of a legal adviser; and whether silence adequately protects the suspect’s fair trial rights.
The study will explore the legal, cultural and behavioural factors that affect the exercise and effectiveness of procedural safeguards, including legal representation; how this affects the treatment of detainees, especially those who are classed as vulnerable (eg in the conduct of interrogations, investigative decisions and case outcomes); and the extent to which detainees’ fair trial rights under Article 6 ECHR are respected. Fieldwork will consist of observations of police custody (including police interviews with suspects), the analysis of police custody data, and interviews with key legal actors. In addition to understanding suspects’ treatment in custody and their decision-making around having a lawyer or an appropriate adult present during police questioning, and whether to exercise their right to silence, the study will also explore the psychological impact of the physical custody environment on suspects’ decision-making process and right to effective participation.
The student will be based in the School of Law, with co-supervision from the department of Psychology, and will benefit from collaboration with JUSTICE in gaining exposure to a practical policy environment and accessing key actors within Scotland’s legal and policy fields.
Application Process: To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available online here. Please upload an anonymised cv and cover letter as part of the online application process. Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide transcripts and two references.
Application deadline: Monday 28 February, 2022
Interviews will take place on: Monday 14 March, 2022
Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP: Our ESRC studentships cover fees at the home rate, a maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available to both home and international applicants. For further details, visit: www.mgsdtp.ac.uk/studentships/eligibility/.
Informal enquiries about the research or the School of Law prior to application can be directed to Professor Jackie Hodgson Jackie.Hodgson@warwick.ac.uk.