Hodgson Law Scholarships

Hodgson Law Scholarships 2018 © Copyright

Michelle Waite

Course: PhD Law

University: University of Liverpool

Nationality: United Kingdom

Current place of residence: Bolton

Scholarship Year: 2013 - 2016

Michelle graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA Applied Social Studies (1st class honours) in 1996. From 1997 until 2005 she worked in social housing in both housing management and policy development roles. Having developed a keen interest in the legal aspects of housing Michelle decided to undertake legal training and completed both the academic and vocational stages of training at the College of Law, London. In 2002 she was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (pass with commendation) and she completed the Legal Practice Course in 2004.

Michelle secured a training contract at Fieldings Porter in Bolton and was admitted as a solicitor in September 2007. In 2009 she moved to Rochdale Law Centre where she remained in practise as a specialist housing solicitor, also working in related areas such as community care and welfare benefits, until commencing her PhD in December 2013. Michelle returned to Fieldings Porter in 2013 where she continues to practise as a solicitor in their Manchester office, one day per week, whilst working on her doctoral research.


Michelle’s research centres on the exceptional case funding scheme (ECF) for legal aid created by s.10 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The problem under investigation is whether the scheme is lawful, that is to say, can the UK Government rely upon it in order to fulfil the obligations to provide legal aid arising from the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 6 in particular) and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU? Michelle’s research will seek to answer this question through a legal analysis of the ECF scheme and an empirical study of determinations made by the Legal Aid Agency in response to applications for ECF. It is hoped that the research will be of interest to lawyers, their clients, anyone concerned with access to justice and policy makers.