Law PhD: The lived legal experiences of those impacted by gambling harms: understanding encounters with law and regulation

Level of study
Doctoral research
Subject area
EU, Overseas (Non-EU), UK
Type of Award
Deadline for applying
Closed 14/07/2023 (Note: competition closed for this year)

Award Description

The Project
To deploy law and regulation effectively to address gambling harm, we need to understand how those harmed by gambling experience law and regulation. This requires investment in socio-legal research on gambling, to explore the potentials, and limits, of law and regulation as a strategy of social and behavioural change (Bedford 2019). There are also reasons to suspect that severe gambling harm may result in legal encounters, including “being charged with criminal offences” (Dinos et al 2020, 37).

This project will ascertain how those with lived experience of gambling harm encounter law and regulation. It will ask how law and regulation feature in narratives of gambling harm, to learn more about what is working in the current approach to using law and regulation to prevent harm, and what needs to change.

The project will use analysis of relevant case law, in-depth interviews with people with lived experiences of gambling harms, and close reading of public accounts of gambling harm (e.g. testimonies in parliamentary committees; accounts on You Tube). As Fiona Nicoll (2019, 208) argues, such accounts are crucial resources for researchers interested in how gambling harm is narrated, enabling us to learn more about how law and policy measures are experienced in practice. Particular attention will be given to comparing the experiences of law and regulation between men and women; between lower and higher income people; between Black, Asian, and White people; and between older and younger people.

Works Cited
Bedford, Kate. 2019. Bingo Capitalism: The Law and Political Economy of Everyday Gambling (Oxford University Press).

Nicoll, Fiona. 2019. Gambling in Everyday Life. 2019. Routledge. London.
Sokratis, Dinos et al. 2020 (May). Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis in Great Britain: Synthesis of findings.


Lead Supervisor
The lead supervisor, Professor Kate Bedford, is an expert on law and political economy, including in relation to gambling. She has a track record of successfully delivering funded research from UKRI, and other academic funders (details of grants available on request). As Principal Investigator on The Bingo Project (an ESRC-funded project on the socio-legal regulation of gambling), she managed a diverse, 16 member international Advisory Group. Members included experts from legal practice, the third sector, the UK’s Gambling Commission, and five academic disciplines (law, history, sociology, criminology, and business/management studies).

Who we are and what we can offer
Birmingham Law School is a friendly, diverse, civic, and globally-oriented law school, located in a vibrant part of the UK’s second city. We are consistently named as one of the UK’s best law schools. We are committed to the pursuit of excellence in research and teaching, and to supporting academic work that is influential in and beyond the university. Our scholarly community includes post-graduate students pursuing doctrinal, comparative, critical, socio-legal, post-colonial, interdisciplinary, and empirical work, and all methodological approaches are welcomed and supported.

We are proud of the diversity and excellence of our post-graduate student body, and we are committed to enabling students to develop into independent researchers and thinkers throughout their time with us. We welcome applications from candidates of all genders, backgrounds, and identities who wish to become part of our scholarly community.

Funding notes:
Funding for this studentship is provided by Gamble Aware, a grant-making charity that operates in England, Scotland, and Wales. Gamble Aware is funded by money from gambling companies who are fulfilling a licensing condition from the UK’s Gambling Commission to direct an annual financial contribution to approved organisations working on gambling research, harm prevention, and treatment (see Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice Social Responsibility code 3.1.1). It also receives money from regulatory settlements. It is an approved National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial partner and a delivery partner in the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. Information on its governance arrangements are available at

Value of Award

This scholarship covers the cost of current home-rate tuition fees (currently £4596), and an annual stipend of £17,186. This stipend will increase each year by 7%. The successful candidate will also have access to additional research funds via a research allowance of £750/year, and a fieldwork allowance of £450/year. PLEASE NOTE that funding is only available to cover fees at the home rate. 

Eligibility Criteria

This project is open to UK and international PhD students starting in September 2023. However funding is only available to cover fees at the home rate.

Key requirements
• A 2.1 degree (or non-UK equivalent as defined by University of Birmingham), or higher, in Law, or a relevant discipline (e.g. social policy; public health), and an LLM, MA, or MSc with Distinction (or non-UK equivalent), in hand or expected by Oct 2023.
• A first class undergraduate degree is desirable but not required. Applicants with a 2.1 in their first degree, and/or a merit grade (or projected grade) in a taught post-graduate degree, along with experience relevant to the area of research, are welcome.
• Evidence of relevant research skills. We expect that the successful candidate will have either an LLM with evidence of socio-legal research skills, or a Masters’ degree in humanities, social sciences, or public health with evidence of legal research skills.
• A strong interest in pursuing research in this field.
• Excellent written communication.
• Ability to work to deadlines, prioritise tasks, and balance competing demands.
• English language requirements: IELTS Academic 7 or above, with 6.5 in each individual category, or equivalent.
• Self-motivated

How to Apply

Prospective applicants are required to apply by sending in:

• A cover letter (this should set out your reasons for applying for the scholarship and why you are suited to the research proposed)
• A CV (please include the names and contact details of two referees at the end of the CV)
• Transcript of grades

These documents should be sent to: by 14 July 2023. Shortlisted candidates wiIl be notified shortly thereafter; interviews will be held (remotely) by the end of July. At this stage we will ask for references from the referees nominated by shortlisted candidates.


Professor Kate Bedford