School of Law, Politics and Sociology

LPS PhD Scholarship Holders


Jack Hatton

Jack’s research lies in examining the relationship between human rights and law through a novel “constructo-positivist” framework. Specifically, Jack is challenging the historical and contemporary relationship provided by natural rights theory (namely, the notion that human rights pre-exist, supersede and control the scope of law) by combining a constructivist approach to the evolution of human rights norms with a definition of law grounded in legal positivism. By supplementing legal positivism with constructivist theory pertaining to the development of norms, Jack will also explore whether the concept of human rights is inherently legal. His research is supervised by Dr Amir Paz-Fuchs and Dr Tom Frost.

Jack’s dual interest in legal theory and human rights stems from his time at the University of Sussex, both as an undergraduate and postgraduate student. His research can be viewed as a furtherance of (as well as a change of direction to) the Master's thesis he completed at the University of Sussex in 2012. Under the supervision of Professor Craig Barker, Jack attained a distinction for his thesis entitled Human Rights as Legal Norms: Reconceptualising the Relationship between Human Rights and Law.

Prior to embarking on his doctoral studies, Jack worked in a highly practical role at Payne Hicks Beach – a leading family law firm. His duties included, inter alia, issuing applications at various courts and appearing before District Judges and Circuit Judges in ex parte matters.

Antiona Murillo

Antonia is a practicing solicitor with a strong background in local government having spent 6 years as a solicitor working for District and County Councils advising on all aspects of planning, highways, rights of way, town and village greens and compulsory purchase orders.  She has a particularly strong background in planning litigation having originally qualified as a litigation solicitor.

Her expertise includes Judicial Review and Statutory Challenges, compulsory purchase orders, rights of way, town and village greens and assets of community value.  She has advised public authorities and private clients on these matters and has successfully advised clients in Judicial Review matters in a number of reported cases.

Her PhD will explore the changes to the Judicial Review and Planning Statutory Review process and whether or not these changes will mean poorer decision making by public bodies.

Chosen Onyekachi Udorji

Chosen Onyekachi Udorji - LPS PhD Scholarship Holder

Chosen graduated in 2007 with a law degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. His dissertation which he completed with a distinction, focused on the role of the international community in enforcing human rights.

In 2008, Chosen was called to the Nigerian Bar as a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Chosen engaged in active practice as a lawyer for a period of two years before proceeding to pursue his LLM qualification in International Law and Globalization at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His LLM dissertation which he completed with a commendation (Merit), examined the use of force and non-state actors in International Law.

In 2011, Chosen was selected and offered an internship by the United Nations at its headquarters in New York, to work with the UN Charter Research section of the Department of Political Affairs.

After his LLM graduation in 2012, Chosen engaged in post-study research work as well as volunteering for different UK based charities. He recently organised an awareness-campaign tagged ‘walk for freedom’ on 18th October, 2014 in support of the A21 campaign against human trafficking. Chosen is currently a recipient of the LPS PhD Scholarship at the University of Sussex. 

Doctoral Study

Chosen’s doctoral research examines the concept of responsibility and how it relates to armed opposition groups in international law. In addition, his research studies the role of international norms and its effect on the behaviour of armed opposition groups. 

Research Interests

Chosen’s research interests includes: the concept of responsibility in international law; the use of force by armed opposition groups; the obligations of armed opposition groups in international law and general public international law. Other research interests outside the scope of his PhD study includes: Family (especially child) law; Child Rights (especially children in war-torn zones); and Access to Care for children with special needs and their families. 


LLM, (with Merit), University of Aberdeen (2012)

BL, Nigerian Law School (2008)

LLB, Ahmadu Bello University (2007)


STAR Award, University of Aberdeen

LPS PhD Scholarship, University of Sussex 


Student Representative, Post-Graduate Research Law at University of Sussex (2014/15)

Member, United Nations Association (Aberdeen Local Branch)

Former Committee Member and Coordinator for the U8 development project, United Nations Association (University of Aberdeen, 2011-2012)

Rita Griguolaite

Rita is pursuing a PhD in the field of EU energy policy regulation and national implementation under the supervision of Professor Erika Szyszczak and Dr Maria Frabboni. Rita is generally interested in EU competition law and regulation of network industries.

In 2011, Rita graduated from Utrecht University and was awarded an LLM in European Law. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Law and a Certificate in Transport Law from Mykolas Romeris University.

Prior to joining the University of Sussex in September 2014, Rita was an Associate in the Dispute Resolution practice group at a law firm in Vilnius and specialized in competition law/antitrust cases. For nearly two years, she also worked with economic policy and policy advocacy at a think tank, and with regulatory compliance of investment services in financial instruments at an investment bank. 


Kathryn (Katy) Budge

Katy holds an LPS Doctoral Scholarship for her research on the challenges that the European Union’s role in and response to the refugee crisis poses to theories of normative and ethical power Europe. The project is supervised by James Hampshire and Kai Oppermann.

Before starting her studies at the Politics department, Katy worked in the civil service for ten years, most recently as Head of Constitutional Policy at the Cabinet Office. During her time in government, Katy was responsible for providing expert advice on constitutional and governance matters, ensuring alignment and coherence in constitutional and devolution policy, introducing regulation of the lobbying industry, and representing the UK in international forums such as the Council of Europe, OECD and UN.

Since leaving government in May 2015, Katy has been leading a project collaborating with refugees to improve living standards, educational opportunities and community wellbeing at a refugee camp in Athens. She has recently established a Library and Learning Centre in the camp which responds to the urgent educational needs of the residents by providing a lending library, an English and German language programme and educational activities for adults and children. It is the first centre of its kind in a refugee camp in Greece.

Katy’s current research interests include the ongoing refugee crisis, asylum and refugee studies, ethics in political decision making, complexity studies, and European and global studies. Katy’s forthcoming chapter in the European University Institute book Border Lampedusa collates eye-witness accounts of rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dragomir Stoyanov

Dragomir StoyanovDragomir Stoyanov is a researcher in the Politics Department at the University of Sussex. His research interests are in political parties, elections, Europeanization and democratization, with a special emphasis on Eastern and Central European politics. His current research project is on Euroscepticism and democratic backsliding in Eastern Europe and is being supervised by Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart.

Dragomir holds an MA in Political Science from Sofia University and an MA in European Politics and Administration from the College of Europe.

Before joining the Politics Department, Dragomir worked for twelve years as an instructor in several academic institutions in Bulgaria, including undergraduate courses in Political Science, European Studies and International Relations.

He is member of the Academic Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES), the Bulgarian Political Studies Association (BPSA), and the Bulgarian European Studies Association (BESA).

Some of his work has appeared in Problems of Post-Communism, East European Politics, East European Quarterly, as well as chapters in volumes published by Palgrave MacMillan.  

Jonathan Parker

Jonathan ParkerJonathan’s PhD research is centred around sub-state party systems. He seeks to explore variations in the party system development in so called ‘Small Worlds’- sub-state regions possessing party systems which differ substantially from that of the state they are part of. His work is supervised by Prof Paul Webb and Dr Rekha Diwakar.


His main research interests lie in political parties and party systems, as well as minority politics and nationalism. Jonathan completed his undergraduate studies at the the University of Lancaster where he gained a BA in Politics and undertook an internship at the Richardson Institute, a peace studies research institute. After this he continued his studies at UCL to complete an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics.


Ali M. Kassem 

Ali KassemAli M. Kassem received his MA in the Sociology of religion from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a thesis titled ‘the Social Sciences in the Training of Shia Scholars in Lebanon.’ After graduation he took up a teaching position in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies as well as a research position in the Urban planning and politics department at AUB. He joined Sussex in 2017 in pursuit of a re-reading of the Islamic Hijab in Lebanon, as a form of bodily-ritual in light of ongoing Coloniality, hoping to complicate the concept of (global) Coloniality by entangling it with a number of other (local) factors: sectarianism, geo-politics and an exclusionary citizenship. In this sense, by investigating decolonial theory in an Eastern Arab country, the dissertation hopes to explore the theory’s workings outside of Latin America and open new venues of conversation and theorization. Ali works under the supervision of Dr. June Edmunds, Dr. Kim Brayson and Prof Nuno Ferreira.

Besides his work at AUB, Ali has held teaching and/or research positions with the Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich, the Lebanese American University, CNRS/Aix-Marseilles University and the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies, among others. More recently, he was a visiting research fellow at the Ecole Des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)- Centre d’études en sciences sociales du religieux (CeSor) in Paris. His main interests are in Postcolonial and Decolonial theories, the Sociology of Islam and the Sociology of Knowledge.

Aaron Gain

Aaron Gain - LPS PhD Scholarship HolderAaron is a part-time PhD student working in the field of organisational studies and social and political theory. 

He is interested in alternative organisational models (to both state and capitalist forms) and also developing links between organisational studies, business management and social and political thinking. 

His research project, Does ownership matter? Case studies in health and social care organisations and the implications for social democracy, is being supervised by Professor Luke Martell and Dr Catherine Will. 

Aaron graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1994 (Politics) and completed an MSc in Management at the University of Cardiff Medical School in 2010. 

He has worked in the NHS and local government since 1994, broken only by two spells: management consultancy from 1999 to 2005 and the Australian Civil Service in 2008. He currently works as a programme director in joint commissioning locally on behalf of both the NHS and county council.

Neal Harris

Neal Harris gained a BA (Hons) from The Open University, where he worked closely with Dr. Thomas Akehurst on issues of contemporary social and political philosophy. To fund his studies Neal worked as a baker at Sainsbury's, Horsham, and drew from his experience in the work-place to inform his writings on alienation and Gramscian notions of hegemony. He graduated in July  2014 with a dissertation on Latour's The Politics of Nature.

Neal's post-graduate study commenced at The University of Sussex in September 2014 with a MA in Social and Political Thought. His work focused on Critical Theory and drew from the emerging critique of the neo-idealist underpinnings of contemporary social theory. His MA dissertation, which was published in book form in 2016, as Nebulous Metaphysics? Rethinking Dialectic of Enlightenment, produced a social pathology diagnosis reading of Dialectic of Enlightenment. Throughout his Masters Neal worked closely with Dr. Andrew Chitty, Dr. Darrow Schecter and Professor Gerard Delanty.

Neal has volunteered with The Labour Party since 2008, having stood for councillor in Slinfold and Warnham. He works as an academic for Widening  Participation, producing introductory sessions on Philosophy to aspiring undergraduates. 

He was awarded a LPS Scholarship for his work with Professor Gerard Delanty and Dr. James Hardie-Bick in critical social theory. Neal's work focuses on the imaginary of "Social Pathology Diagnosis", and he seeks to critique recent directions this rubric has traversed."

Hala Adel Abdelgawad

Hala AbdelgawadHala Adel Abdelgawad received her B.Sc. in Political Science from Cairo University where she graduated with Excellence (hons.) and ranked as the top of her graduating class - the English Section. After graduation, she worked in the Egyptian Cabinet as a Junior Political Researcher, until she was appointed as a Teaching Assistant at the Department of Political Science at Cairo University. In 2015, she was granted a Scholarship of Merit and Excellence from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, to do her Master’s Degree in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London; where she wrote her Thesis on the dynamics of “State Feminism” in Egypt and how that influenced the trajectories which women’s movement(s) took along the formation and reformation of the Egyptian modern state from the Nasserist era in 1950s until the end of Muslim Brotherhood rule in 2013. Returning to Egypt, Hala started working as an Assistant Lecturer of Political Science at Cairo University and Editorial Assistant of its emerging journal of social sciences: Review of Economics and Political Science (REPS).

Hala’s main research interests are political and sociological thought and gender and women’s studies in the Middle East. Her Ph.D. explores women’s citizenship in the Arab region, pointing out the contemporary debate between Islamic and secular discourses in perceiving and constructing women’s rights and agency; particularly in the moments of transition and nation building.  She takes Egypt and Tunisia as the preliminary case studies to examine the Islamic-secular dynamics in redefining the meaning of women’s citizenship in the era of “Arab Spring.” Hala works under the supervision of Prof. Susan Millns and Dr. June Edmunds.