Biography

Joanna is an Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in Law at St Edmund Hall. She teaches Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Tort for the college, as well as Environmental Law for the Faculty. 

Joanna's main research interest is Administrative Law and its areas of overlap with other fields such as Planning Law and Environmental Law. She has written on an array of topics within the area including legitimate expectations, reason-giving, tribunals, review of statutory construction and standing. In 2020 she will publish a monograph entitled The Anatomy of Administrative Law which explores the legal structures which are in play in adjudication. Joanna's research has been cited in the UK Supreme Court a number of times. (See Dover DC v  CPRE Kent [2017] UKSC 79; Finucane's Application for Judicial Review  [2019] UKSC 7; Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22). 

Prior to taking up the post of Associate Professor, Joanna spent a number of years as a College Associate Lecturer at St John's College, University of Cambridge and Affiliated Lecturer at the Cambridge Law Faculty. In earlier years, she was a student at the University of Oxford. Joanna graduated from the BA in Law from Keble College sharing the Wronker Prize for best overall performance in FHS examinations. She then read for the BCL (obtaining a distinction) and the DPhil in Administrative Law. During her time at Oxford Joanna also held a series of lecturerships, including a stipendiary post at Lady Margaret Hall. 

Publications

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17. Sorted by year, then title.
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  • JR Bell, 'Common Law Constitutional Rights & Judicial Review of Executive Action' in Mark Elliott& Kirsty Hughes (ed), Common Law Constitutional Rights (Hart 2020) (forthcoming)
  • JR Bell, The Anatomy of Administrative Law (Hart 2020) (forthcoming)
  • JR Bell, 'Reason-Giving in Administrative Law: Where Are We and Why Have the Courts Not Embraced the General Common Law Duty to Give Reasons?' (2019) MLR
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12457
    This article has two aims. Firstly, it explores a body of modern challenges to administrative reason‐giving, decided in the five‐year period 2014–2018. Three main themes are drawn out: outright failures to give reasons now seem to be a rare occurrence; a number of considerations help to ensure that at least an outline of reasons is usually offered by decision‐makers; common law fairness plays a limited role in testing the adequacy of reasons. Secondly, it addresses the question of why the courts have not embraced a ‘general common law duty to give reasons.’ Four factors are discussed: doubts that introducing a general duty would add something of substance to the law; difficulties inherent in developing a general formulation of the reasons required; weaknesses in the ‘hortatory’ case for a general duty and weaker commitment on the part of judges than academics to generality as a central feature of administrative law doctrine.
  • JR Bell, 'Rethinking the Story of Cart v Upper Tribunal & Its Implications for Administrative Law' (2019) OJLS 74
    An influential set of narratives are beginning to emerge according to which the Supreme Court decision in Cart v Upper Tribunal marks a major departure from existing judicial approaches to administrative law. This article challenges these narratives, arguing that they overstate the sense of novelty inherent in Cart and overlook a number of important seams of continuity with the past inherent in the case. This analysis is important not only because it enhances understanding of a recent major case. Reflection on Cart and its relationship with the past brings to light three important, but sometimes overlooked, themes which have long characterised administrative law. These themes, in turn, both give rise to some important and challenging questions about how legal scholars ‘do’ administrative law and emphasise the importance for those working within the generalist administrative law tradition of ‘taking legislation seriously’.
  • JR Bell, 'Reflections on Open Justice and the Status of the General Common Law Duty to Give Reasons' (2018) CLJ 240 [Case Note]
  • JR Bell, 'The Relationship between Judicial Review and the Upper Tribunal: What Have the Courts Made of Cart?' (2018) PL 394
  • JR Bell, 'ClientEarth (No 2): A Case of Three Legal Dimensions' (2017) JEL 343
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jel/eqx013
    This analysis has two main aims. The first is to explore in some detail the recent decision of the Administrative Court in ClientEarth (No 2). Here the central focus will be on drawing out three legal dimensions which it is argued played a significant role in the court’s judgment: an environmental modelling, an EU law and a domestic judicial review dimension. The second aim is then to offer some reflections on the environmental and judicial review dimensions of the case. Here, two main arguments will be developed. Firstly, that while ClientEarth (No 2) does not mark a sea-change in the judicial approach to the scrutiny of environmental modelling processes, it does show that the courts are willing to engage in a higher degree of scrutiny when the legislative background requires it. Secondly, that there are important insights to be gained, both from an administrative and an environmental law perspective, from reflecting on the role that domestic grounds of judicial review played in the court’s legal reasoning this case.
  • JR Bell, 'The Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations: Power-Constraining or Right-Conferring Legal Standard?' (2016) PL 437
  • JR Bell, 'The Privy Council and the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations Meet Again' (2016) CLJ 449 [Case Note]

Research Interests

Joanna's primary research area is doctrinal administrative law. She is also interested in the overlaps between administrative law doctrine and related fields such as Planning Law, Environmental Law and Tort. 

Options taught

Administrative Law, Tort, Environmental Law, Legal Concepts in Environmental Law, Constitutional Law (Mods)

Research projects