Dr Joe Atkinson

School of Law

Lecturer in Law

Joe Atkinson
+44 114 222 6826

Full contact details

Dr Joe Atkinson
School of Law
Bartolomé House
Winter Street
S3 7ND

I joined the University of Sheffield as a Lecturer in 2019. Before joining Sheffield, I taught at University College London (2016-18), Queen Mary University of London (2017-18), and the University of Oxford (2018).

My main areas of research are labour and employment law and human rights, and I have a strong interest in philosophical and theoretical approaches to these subjects. Current research projects include work on philosophical and legal aspects of the relationship between human rights and labour law, and the regulation of artificial intelligence and 'algorithmic management' in the workplace.

I hold a PhD in law from University College London, and law degrees from the University of Oxford and London School of Economics. I was a visiting researcher at New York University School of Law, and am an Associate Fellow of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute

Before academia I worked in Parliament as a Senior Researcher and Political Advisor, where I was responsible for speech writing, and policy and legislative analysis in the shadow Treasury and Justice teams.

  • LLM, London School of Economics
  • BA Jurisprudence, University of Oxford
  • PhD, University College London
Research interests
  • Employment and Labour Law
  • Public Law and Human Rights
  • Legal and Constitutional Theory

Journal articles


Book reviews

  • Atkinson JR (2017) Book Review: Michael Boylan, Natural Human Rights: A Theory. Political Studies Review. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

I largely teach in my own areas of research, those related to human rights and employment law, which means I am able to deliver research-led teaching that gives students an insight into the new ideas and emerging trends in these fields.

I encourage students to reflect critically on the areas of law that I teach; what are they trying to achieve, and does the current law fulfil these aspirations? I also believe that it is important to understand the social and policy context within which the law operates.

This is not only far more interesting than merely learning a set of rules, it also develops students’ ability to think deeply and make coherent arguments about complicated legal issues. As a result, I expect my students to not just be able to understand the law, but also to engage with it normatively; what’s good about the law, what reforms are desirable?

Teaching activities


  • Employment Law
  • Public Law
  • Contemporary Issues in Law


  • Discrimination in Employment Law
Professional activities

I am a member of the Society of Legal Scholars, the Institute of Employment Rights, and the Industrial Law Society.

Recent invited papers and keynote lectures

  • J. Atkinson, 'Human Rights and the Scope of Employment Law', presented at the Labour Law Research Network Conference in Valperaiso (2019)
  • Invited participant at Modern Law Review seminar on 'The Future of Human Rights at Work' at the University of Essex (2019)  
  • J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights at Work and Implied Terms in the Contract of Employment’, presented at the London Labour Law Discussion Group (2018).
  • J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights at Work and Implied Terms in the Contract of Employment’ presented at the Oxford Labour Law Discussion Group (2017).
  • J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights as Foundations for Labour Law’ presented at the Labour Law Research Network Conference in Toronto (Jule 2017).
  • J. Atkinson, ‘Human Rights and Labour Law’, presented at RemarkLab Workshop at Stockholm University (2016).