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Legal Education and Professional Skills

The group is an inclusive collegiate group intended to provide support, promote and enhance legal education at Northumbria. The group builds on the work of the Clinical Legal Education Research group and acts as a focus point for activity with plans to invite external speakers and to act as a space for research sharing.

There is a well-established history of research into clinic with the School publishing its own International Journal of Clinical Legal Education and hosting an annual conference. A number of members are on editorial boards of legal education journals.

The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education

This international journal is hosted and edited by members of LEAPS. There is full open access to current and archive articles. You can view the 2014 online journal, by clicking here.

The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education (IJCLE) in association with the European Network for Clinical Legal Education (ENCLE) and the United Kingdom Clinical Legal Education Organisation (CLEO) Conference:

3 - 5 July 2017 at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

“Bringing It All Together: Clinical Legal Educators in the 21st Century University”

Proposal application forms for presentations, interactive seminars or PechaKucha can be submitted here.

Call for papers, seminars and symposia closes – January 31, 2017


  • IJCLE Conference 2016

The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education (IJCLE) and The Association of Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE) Conference:

The Risks and Rewards of Clinic
University of Toronto, 10th- 12th July 2016

A Storify of the 2016 Conference is available here

A number of the presentations can be accessed here. 

  • 2015 IJCLE conference:

The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education at Northumbria University is proud to announce its 13th annual international legal education conference which will be held jointly with the Global Alliance for Justice Education 8th Worldwide conference (GAJE; on July 22-28, 2015, at Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey.

Presentations from the IJCLE stream can be accessed here.

  • 2014 IJCLE conference:

The 12th Journal conference was a joint event with the European Network for Clinical Legal Education (ENCLE held at Palacký University, Olomouc 15-17 July 2014 with over 300 delegates from more than 50 countries. A number of the presentations can be accessed here.

Published 2016

Boothby, Carol (2016) ‘Pigs are not fattened by being weighed’ – so why assess clinic- and can we defend our methods? International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 23 (1). pp. 137-155. ISSN 1467-1069

Campbell, Elaine (2016) Exploring Autoethnography as a Method and Methodology in Legal Education Research. Asian Journal of Legal Education, 3 (1). pp. 95-105. ISSN 2322-0058

Murray, Victoria (2016) Developing Clinic. In: Legal Academics Handbook. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137434289 (In Press)

Sylvester, Cath (2016) Through a glass darkly: Assessment of a real client, compulsory clinic in an undergraduate law programme International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 23 (1). pp. 32-47.

Hall, E. (2016) The tenacity of learning styles: a response to Lodge, Hansen and Cottrell Learning: Research and Practice DOI:10.1080/23735082.2016.1139856

Hall, E and Wall, K (2016) The Abductive Leap: eliding visual and participatory in research design in Pini, B and Moss, J (Eds.) Visual Educational Research: Critical Perspectives London: Palgrave ISBN 978-1-137-44734-0

Ashford, Chris (2016) Response: The needs of the legal profession and the liberal law school: (Re)negotiating boundaries. In: Perspectives on Legal Education: Contemporary Responses to the Lord Upjohn Lectures. Taylor & Francis, pp. 177-187.

Campbell, Elaine and Boothby, Carol (2016) University law clinics as alternative business structures: more questions than answers? The Law Teacher, 50 (1). pp. 132-137

Campbell, Elaine (2016) Recognizing the Social and Economic Value of Transactional Law Clinics: A View from the United Kingdom. Journal of Legal Education, 65 (3). pp. 580-596.

Dunn, R. (2016) The Realities and Risks of all Forms of Clinical Legal Education Asian Journal of Legal Education, 3 (2). In press

McKeown, Paul and Morse, Sarah (2016) Further Developing Street Law. In: The Legal Academic's Handbook. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 84-86. ISBN 9781137434289

Mkwebu, Tribe (2016) Unpacking Clinical Scholarship: Why Clinics Start and How They Last. Asian Journal of Legal Education. ISSN 2322-0058 (In Press)

Published 2015

Ashford, Chris, Duncan, Nigel and Guth, Jessica (2015) Perspectives on Legal Education: Contemporary Responses to the Lord Upjohn Lectures. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781138812581

Boothby C. & Sylvester, C. (2015): Getting the fish to see the water: an investigation into students’ perceptions of learning writing skills in academic modules and in a final year real client legal clinic module, The Law Teacher published online September 2015

Campbell, Elaine and Murray, Victoria (2015) Mind the Gap: Clinic and the Access to Justice Dilemma. International Journal of Legal and Social Studies, 2 (3). pp. 94-106. ISSN 2394-1936

Campbell, E. (2015) Students as facilitators: an evaluation of student-led group work Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 9, 1, 52-58

Campbell, E. (2015) A dangerous method? Defending the rise of business law clinics in the UK. The Law Teacher 49, 2, 165-75

Campbell, E. (2015) Transferring Power: a reflective exploration of authentic student-centred small group work in clinical legal education IJCLE 22, 2, 181-212

Clough, J. & Shorter, G.W. (2015): Evaluating the effectiveness of problem-based learning as a method of engaging year one law students, The Law Teacher, published online July 2015

Gleason, Victoria and Campbell, Elaine (2015) Cultivating 21st century law graduates through creativity in the curriculum. Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education, 10 (1). pp. 4-20. ISSN 1476-0401

McKeown, P. (2015) Law student attitudes towards pro bono and voluntary work: The experience at Northumbria University. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 22 (1). pp. 6-46

McKeown, P. and Dunn R. (2015) The European Network of Clinical Legal Education: The Spring Workshop 2015. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 22 (3). pp. 312-333

McKeown, P. & Morse,S. (2015) Litigants in person: is there a role for higher education? The Law Teacher, 49:1, 122-129

Mkwebu, Tribe (2015) A Systematic Review of Literature on Clinical Legal Education: A Tool for Researchers in Responding to an Explosion of Clinical Scholarship International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 22 (3) pp 238-274

Sandford-Couch, Clare and Bainbridge, Jonathan (2015) Educating towards ethical lawyers: a progress report, The Law Teacher, 49:3, 336-352, DOI:

Sylvester, Cath (2015) Measuring competence in legal education: a view from the bridge. The Law Teacher. pp. 1-15. ISSN 0306-9400

Sylvester, Cath (2015) More questions than answers? A review of the effectiveness of inquiry based learning in higher education. The Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education, 10 (1). pp. 21-29. ISSN 1476-0401

Caroline Gibby and Graeme Broadbent (2015) Sourcing accurate and individual careers advice – challenges for law students and advisers. The Law Teacher, 49, 3, 398-406. DOI:10.1080/03069400.2015.1094200

Upcoming Research and Dissemination Events

Problematising Assessment in Clinical Legal Education

Save the date
Discovermore _button4th June 2015
The Law Teacher and ALT Seminar

Problematising Assessment in Clinical Legal Education

This is an interactive seminar and discussion forum centred on a one day conference exploring the theme of how experiential learning in law is assessed. The international move towards an increasingly outcomes based approach to legal education and training has raised the profile and encouraged the development of a wide range of experiential learning practices in legal education. The extent to which these practices evidence the multiple and complex competencies they lay claim to is now attracting scrutiny. The challenge of how to assess and what to assess in work integrated learning, problem and enquiry based learning, clinical legal education and simulated leaning is emerging as an important and developing issue. The subject is particularly relevant to providers of legal education and training in England and Wales following the SRA’s announcement that it will be consulting on assessment in relation to the threshold outcomes in 2015.

Legal Education, Social Mobility and Employability: Possible Selves, Curriculum Intervention, the role of Legal Work Experience and the Challenge for Clinics

On May 13th Professor Andrew Francis (Head of School, Keele University) will talk on:

Legal Education, Social Mobility and Employability: Possible Selves, Curriculum Intervention, the role of Legal Work Experience and the Challenge for Clinics.

Andrew has carried out a lot of empirical research into legal education, social mobility and employability over the years including looking at how legal work experience affects employability. This seminar builds on his forthcoming article in the Journal of Law and Society (2015) 42(2), draws on recent empirical data on the experiences and process of legal work experience to critique taken for granted assumptions of employability. In this discussion, he builds on this paper to consider the challenges and opportunities for clinical legal education in the light of these lessons.

Claire Palley, the U.K.’s First Woman Law Professor: Learning from an Academic Life

On 18th June Professor Fiona Cownie, (Keele University) will talk on:

Claire Palley, the U.K.’s First Woman Law Professor: Learning from an Academic Life.

Many of you will know Fiona who has written on a wide range of legal education issues and is now Pro Vice Chancellor for education and student experience at Keele University. This talk draws on biographical interviews with Claire Palley, the first woman to be appointed to a Chair in Law in the U.K, this paper is part of an extended project exploring the legal biographies of early women law professors.

2016 Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference: Promoting Collaboration

Northumbria University is proud to be hosting the 51st Annual Conference of the Association of Law Teachers from the 20th – 22nd March 2016 in Newcastle. This promises to be a great event with the conference dinners to be at the Baltic Centre for contemporary Art and the Sage Gateshead. Two of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the North East with magnificent views of the Tyne. The conference hotel is the Jurys Inn, NewcastleGateshead Quays. Accommodation this year is to be booked separately from the conference itself but you can use this link.

The overall theme of the conference is Promoting Collaboration. It will examine the ways in which legal educators and trainers can work together and will explore collaborative links between legal education and the legal profession, law students, other professions and the community (amongst others). The conference will be organised around a series of strands which will include, but are not restricted to:

1. Collaboration with the legal profession and providers of legal services

2. Interdisciplinary, international or non-legal professional collaborations

3. Collaboration with the community (recipients of legal services) or students (recipients of legal education)

4. Facilitating collaboration through technology

5. Sharing good practice in legal education and training and collaborative research projects

You can now book online for this conference. Booking closes on the 14th March so make sure you book as soon as possible. To qualify for the early bird rate bookings must be made by 1st February 2016.


  • 8-12th February  Visit from Maxim Tomoszek, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic. We are delighted to welcome back Max to Northumbria! As President of ENCLE and a leader in developing clinical education in the Czech Republic and across Europe, Max is a key partner in our work and there will be a number of opportunities to collaborate with him this week.Come along to the LEAPS meeting on the 10th at noon in 417a to find out more.

  • We are delighted to announce that Northumbria will host the 2016 Association of Law Teachers Conference.

    Northumbria University have a long association with the ALT and the development of professional legal education and we welcome the opportunity to host the ALT conference in 2016. The conference will be co-ordinated by members of the Legal Education and Professional Skills (LEAPS) Research Group.

    Key challenges for legal education that have formed the basis for previous ALT conferences – technology enhanced learning; the legal curriculum after the LETR; the relationship between the academy and the profession; the needs of an increasingly diverse student population – are at the heart of our work at Northumbria

  • Rachel Dunn explores the development of legal skills in clinical learning across Europe.

    LEAPS PhD student Rachel Dunn has just completed the European leg of her fieldwork in Poland and the Czech Republic, with successful trips to Lazarski University in Warsaw and Palacky University in Olomouc. Enormous thanks to our partners Ewelina Milan at Lazarski and Maxim Tomoszek and Veronika Tomoszkova at Palacky who, with their colleagues and students, have given their generous support to Rachel’s research as well as acting as gracious hosts! You can see Rachel at work in this news story from the Palacky website and for those of you who don’t speak Czech, a Google translate below (uncorrected because, in places, poetic).

    For data to his scientific work have arrived at the Law Faculty of Palacky University Rachel Dunn. PhD student from Northumbria University in Newcastle were interested in the practical skills that students acquire in legal clinics. Do the research involved about twenty students of rights.

    Legal Clinic is a way of learning, where students under the supervision of experienced practitioners to discuss specific cases clients. Rachel Dunn in his research finds that just work in clinics give students exactly what you need for the future of the legal profession. "Before I visited Olomouc for the same purpose, the University of Warsaw. I have accumulated evidence, now I'm waiting for their processing and comparison," said the Brit. Olomouckou faculty chosen for several reasons. Among other reasons, it is among the schools a strong partnership. Another reason, according to Dunn peak level of clinical legal education.

    To collect documents the Brit uses an interactive method called Diamant. "With students I worked very well. When you know that this method is essentially a game, my research is then entertained, "Dunn evaluated. The Diamond brought her tutor of doctoral studies. In the UK, this method is used in schools very often. The idea is that respondents fill the flashcards boxes that are stacked in the shape reminiscent of a polished diamond. Rachel Dunn works with sixteen cards. Eleven are written on specific skills such as assertiveness, empathy and patience, and the remaining five are clean. There add titles skills the students themselves. "The individual cards, respondents consist of importance to the diamond shape. Rachel let students work in small groups. Interested in her and clashing opinions in the actual folding. All the filming," explained Lucia Valentová of the Center for Clinical Legal Education.

    During a weeklong stay Rachel Dunn managed to not only work on their research, but also to learn or participate in training.


Recent Presentations

Pro Bono: What's in it for law students? 5 Novemeber 2015

For our contributions to IJCLE conferences and the 2016 ALT Conference, please see the sections above.

Papers given this Easter: CEPLR Workshop: Re-imagining Clinical Legal Education, Birmingham University 30.3.15
Dr Elaine Hall and Cath Sylvester – Beyond theory/practice turf wars: where theory is considered a practice and practice is theorised.

Association of Law Teachers 50th annual conference, Cardiff, 31st March 2015
Carol Boothby and Elaine Campbell – From rote to realism: the role of clinical legal education in providing best practice in assessment and feedback.

Victoria Murray – Advancing Towards a Vision of Social Justice within Clinical Legal Education

Ashford, C and Guth, J. (2015) ‘Open Education Resources, Open Access, the Law Teacher, and the Future of Journal Publishing’.

Commonwealth Legal Education Conference, Glasgow, 8th April 2015
Cath Sylvester –More Questions than Answers? A review of the effectiveness of inquiry based learning in Higher Education.

Elaine Campbell and Victoria Gleason – Creativity and Commerce: The rise of the experiential business law clinic in the UK.

ENCLE Spring Workshop, Northumbria University, 15-16th April
Carol Boothby and Professor Kevin Kerrigan – Why we do Clinic…

Sarah Morse and Rory O’Boyle – Using standardised client to teach and assess interviewing skills.

Jonny Hall and Richard Grimes - Approaches to preparation: Legal knowledge or Problem based learning.

Invited seminar, University of Sheffield, February 2015
Ashford, C, ‘Thinking Aloud: The Contemporary UK Legal Education Landscape’, University of Sheffield, February 2015.

Elaine Campbell 5 things I learned during Academic Writing Month, Northumbria Law School Christmas Conference, Northumbria University, 10th December 2015.

Elaine Campbell Should I share my journal entry with you? An ethical dilemma faced by an experiential educator, 2nd British Autoethnography Conference, Aberdeen, 31st October 2015.

Elaine Campbell Colleague? Mentor? Friend? An autoethnographic exploration of how student engagement through experiential education enables a different narrative of good teacherhood, Negotiating Recent Reform in Higher Education: the Question of ‘Student Engagement’, 25th Sept 2015

Rachel Dunn Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend - and a Great Data Collection Tool Northumbria Research Conference, Northumbria University, 20th May 2015

Elaine Hall I do believe in clinic, I do, I do! Northumbria Law School Christmas Conference, Northumbria University, 10th December 2015

Elaine Hall and Cath Sylvester Beyond theory/ practice turf wars: where theory is considered a practice and practice is theorised Northumbria Research Conference, Northumbria University, 20th May 2015

Research Interests and Partnerships

Research partnerships:

This particular excellence in clinical legal education can be seen through a history of promoting clinical legal education both nationally and internationally and capacity building through sharing the expertise and experience available at Northumbria. This has included hosting visits of academics from Estonia, Croatia (British Embassy sponsored), the Czech Republic (European Social Fund sponsored), Turkey (Open Society Justice Initiative sponsored) , Poland, China, the United States, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan (Public Interest Law Initiative sponsored), Kenya and more than ten UK based universities. Members of the group have visited India, Singapore, Spain, Czech Republic, Ireland, Croatia and Italy in order to assist in developing clinical programmes in those countries. The group co-hosted a conference in Singapore with Bridges Across Borders South East Asia and Singapore Management University to assist in capacity building in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, China and Malaysia. The group is also involved in establishing a European clinical network (ENCLE).

Group members have been successful in attracting research funding from the Higher Education Academy, Legal Education Research Network, Social & Legal Studies, amongst others to support research projects relating to legal education.

LEAPS members have research interests in:

Clinical Legal Education and experiential learning: A number of group members are involved in the Student Law Office, the School publishes the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education and hosts an annual conference.

There is a wide interest in all aspect of clinical legal education including the following:

  • Reflective practice in clinic
  • Models of clinical teaching and professional engagement
  • Legal writing skills in the clinical setting, experiential learning
  • Clinical supervision and feedback 
  • Developing commercial awareness through clinic 
  • Assessment of clinical programmes
  • Social justice and clinic
  • Legal research / problem based learning and clinic
  • Practice and procedures for clinics and developing new clinics in the UK and overseas
  • The regulatory framework affecting clinical legal education in the UK
  • Clinic and alternative business structures. 
  • Capacity building in universities In East Asia, Africa and the Middle East

Curriculum development in law:

  • Rectifying the absence of visual culture in the law school curriculum, law and visual culture, art and legal reasoning in the first year curriculum 
  • Using graphic novel super-heroes in public law
  • Use of the curriculum and pedagogy to express the Law School’s ideals and aspirations
  • Student engagement and the curriculum
  • Integration of professional skills and academic skills in the curriculum

Legal Skills:

  • Legal writing and assessment
  • Problem based learning in legal education
  • Teaching academic and professional writing skills in law
  • Teaching and assessing competence and outcomes in legal education
  • Legal research skills, leadership and learning 
  • Student autonomy in small group sessions.

Professional skills development and professional education:

  • Human rights and legal education capacity development in higher education institutions Professional learning through developing and refining the processes of practitioner enquiry 
  • How assessment, professional standards and experiential learning relate to the development of professionals and citizens
  • How formal and informal learning opportunities at Northumbria prepare students for lifelong learning and engagement. 
  • Online learning and development of materials

Research, Learning and Practice

LEAPS is committed to informing and contributing to developments in teaching and learning in the School of Law at Northumbria and in particular to foster a research rich teaching and learning environment for students and staff alike. The School's existing clinical programmes which regularly involve students in legal practice in the community and its commitment to enquiry based learning methods enables the group to both draw on and contribute to new teaching and learning initiatives in its research.

The Student Law Think Tank

Welcome to the home of the Northumbria Law School’s Student Law Think Tank (SLTT). The purpose of the SLTT is to engage students with real issues that affect society by providing them with opportunities to interact with topical legal policy issues. The SLTT does this primarily by identifying consultations about proposed new legislation or changes to existing legislation. Students discuss, debate and research the issues in collaboration with academic staff who have expertise in that area.  The students then produce a written response to the consultation which is submitted to the relevant body overseeing the consultation. Students often meet with the consulting bodies to formally present and discuss their findings. Previous projects include:


  • Are the sentencing guidelines for sexual offences adequate?
  • Should the UK scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights?
  • What constitutional role would the Judiciary take if the UK was to adopt a written constitution?
  • Does the UK need a New Magna Carta? To codify or not to codify the UK Constitution.

The chair of the SLTT, Lucy Taylor, is currently overseeing a project where students will respond to the CPS’s consultation about their proposed guidelines on witness handling, details of which can be found here:


Richard Glancey, a Senior Lecturer in Northumbria Law School, is a Director of the SLTT and can be contacted at

Street Law and Street Law in Schools

Street Law is a community legal education programme which began in America over 40 years ago and is now run in a number of Law Schools in the UK and beyond.  Northumbria University runs this project as part of our pro bono clinical activities.  The project aims to help members of the public drawn from different community groups (such as charities or organisations) to understand aspects of law which affect their day to day lives.  The project involves our students preparing and delivering a presentation or workshop to these community groups providing information regarding legal rights and responsibilities.  Every year we recruit volunteers from the BPTC, LPC and GDL to take part. 

Street Law in Schools is an extension of this project and involves our students preparing and delivering a workshop or activity to school pupils in the region on a topical issue such as knife crime or the legal and practical issues surrounding social media.  It also allows students to talk to the pupils about life as a student and their experiences of studying law.   For this project, volunteers are recruited primarily from Years 1-3 of the M Law degree.

Both projects provide valuable information to the organisations and schools involved.  They also enable students to improve their research, teamwork, organisation and presentation skills whilst making a valuable contribution to the community.

Contact: Sarah Morse

Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) Gateway Advisers Scheme

Working with the CAB, our students and staff developed a new fast track, cost effective training scheme for Gateway Advisors. In the last two years of the project, 39 students were involved.  Approximately 6000 issues were dealt with by students on behalf of CAB clients, amounting to 3000 hours of direct help to the extremely vulnerable. The CAB is investigating expanding this model to Gateshead and beyond.

“The students' sheer energy and enthusiasm has given the whole bureau a real buzz … They have shown real commitment to meeting the advice needs of our clients, many of whom are in distress, confused, or very anxious” Tracy Armstrong, Citizens Advice Bureau.

Contact: Claire Cowell



Associated PGR Students

Rachel Dunn

Rachel is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Elaine Hall. Rachel’s research focuses on the benefits clinical legal education for students in pedagogic institutions, particularly the skills this kind of learning can develop. To explore the evidence, she has embarked upon empirical research, using a mixed methodology and various techniques to collect the data. This is a comparative study within Europe.

Rachel’s broader research interests include animal law, family law, constitutional law and research development and methods.

During her time as an undergraduate at Northumbria she has given a paper with Richard Glancey at the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference in 2012. This paper discussed Rachel’s experience of legal policy clinic and how it can be used in legal education.

There are plans for Rachel to give various papers and to be published this year.  

Tribe Mkwebu

Tribe Mkwebu is a Barrister of the Inner Temple and a PhD Candidate at the School of Law, University of Northumbria. His research, under the supervision of Dr Elaine Hall and Professor Chris Ashford, is in clinical legal education. Tribe’s main focus is on the pedagogic link between legal education and professional skills in preparing law students for the future practice of law and in educating lawyers for social justice. He is particularly interested in the factors that are influential in the establishment and sustainability of law clinics within law schools.

Tribe’s broader research interests include Public Law; Public Interest Lawyering; Justice Education; Rule of Law; Human Rights and Civil Liberties.

He gave the following conference paper at the University of Northumbria in 2014 

‘A Systematic Literature Search Strategy for Researchers: Top Tips’, Faculty of Business and Law Research Conference – Doctoral Stream, University of Northumbria, 24/06/2014


Tribe has published in the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education –

Mkwebu, T. (2014) Book Review: THE GLOBAL CLINICAL MOVEMENT: EDUCATING LAWYERS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, Volume 21, Issue 2

Experiential Learning in Legal Education: What, Why and How - Interactive Seminar 6/6/16

A Storify of the seminar is available here

Date: 6th June 2016,   10.0a.m – 4.30p.m

Location: Northumbria University School of Law,

Convenors: Jonny Hall, Carol Boothby, Cath Sylvester and Elaine Hall, University of Northumbria

This is an interactive seminar centred on a one day event exploring the theme of how experiential learning in law is currently being enacted in the UK.

The international move towards an increasingly outcomes based approach to legal education and training has raised the profile and encouraged the development of a wide range of experiential learning practices. These are often described by students as ‘the highlight of my degree’ but they are not there simply for attraction and variety.  There is an implicit pedagogic intent which is based in part on broad Higher Education outcomes of graduate skills and ‘public good’ graduates (McLean and Walker, 2013) and in part on an implicit sense of what it is to be a member of that discipline.  This seminar explores the extent to which law academics imbue these experiences with their beliefs about what constitutes disciplinary expertise. The subject is one that is of interest to legal educators worldwide, but is particularly relevant to both providers of legal education at the academic stage and those providing vocational training in England and Wales and will also inform those in the legal profession of the ‘direction of travel’ in terms of the debate on assessing competency following the LETR (Legal Education and Training Review).

The seminar is themed around an examination of the nature of experiential learning in law. Invited presenters will give working papers that address the following key questions:

  • Historically, what has been the place of experiential learning in legal education?
  • What do we mean by ‘experiential’ in legal education?
  • How is the ‘experiential’ designed into the broader legal curriculum?
  • How (and how successfully) are the purposes of particular experiential learning experiences conveyed to students?
  • What are the implications of assessing experiential learning?
  • How is the education and assessment of students linked to the wider discourse of how the law functions in society and what a lawyer is and can do? 


Discussant: Professor Reijo Miettinen, University of Helsinki,

Convenors: Jonny Hall, Carol Boothby, Cath Sylvester and Elaine Hall, University of Northumbria


Claire McGourlay (Sheffield University)

Cath Sylvester (Northumbria University)

Judith Tillson (Staffordshire University)

Lisa Wheeler (University of Portsmouth)

Rachel Wood (University of West of England)

Carol Boothby (Northumbria University)

Jenny Gibbons (University of York)

Zoe Swan (University of Greenwich)

Professor Patrick Carmichael (University of Bedfordshire)

Jonny Hall (Northumbria University)  

Taking Part - Before the Seminar (May 2016)

This is an interactive seminar and we will be making working papers available prior to the seminar so that participants can consider the issues and formulate questions for the contributors.

We have been influenced in our thinking about experiential learning by Professor Reijo Miettinen and we have been fortunate to involve him as our discussant. All contributors have been asked to consider Professor Miettinen’s paper The concept of experiential learning and John Dewey's theory of reflective thought and action, which deals with both the theoretical frameworks for understanding experiential learning and how this understanding shapes the design and process of these learning opportunities. Their responses, collated by Elaine Hall, will form the beginning of the praxis dialogue and will be reviewed by Professor Miettinen prior to the seminar.

Contributors have been invited to submit collaborative working papers around the following themes in advance of the seminar;

The presenters will upload drafts of their papers to the website before the event to enable seminar participants to begin the discussion. You will receive an alert inviting you to have a first look at the papers then, to discuss the ideas and contribute some questions for the discussion during the seminar event itself.

Taking Part - the Seminar (6th June 2016)

Places at the seminar are free but are limited to 60.  It is hosted by the Law School’s Legal Education and Professional Skills Research Group (LEAPS) and will take place in Northumbria Law School located in the centre of Newcastle on Tyne. The Law School is easily accessible by rail, or road. Newcastle International Airport is located around 7 miles away, with excellent road/ underground links.

Please book your place by contacting Maureen Cooke at 

Taking Part - After the Seminar

Edited transcripts of the debates from the seminar will be placed on the website during the summer vacation and the website will remain open for discussions and comments. Meanwhile, final versions of the working papers will be submitted to a special issue of the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education. (The IJCLE is an online platinum model open access peer reviewed journal ).  The seminar papers as a whole will be peer-reviewed by members of the Editorial Board and we intend to bring the special issue out between the regular spring and summer editions in 2017.

Seminar Programme

The draft timetable for the seminar is set out below together with abstracts responding to Professor Miettinen's paper from the presenters.

9:30 - 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:10 - 10:40

10:40 - 10:50
Experiential learning - ways of understanding and tracking experience
Jonny Hall

Questions and discussion
10:50 - 11:30

11:30 - 11:40
Designing an experiential curriculum - moving away from safety?
Claire McGourlay and Cath Sylvester

Questions and discussion
11:40 - 12:20

12:20 - 12:30
Technology enhanced experiential learning in contract and tort
Lisa Wheeler and TBC

Questions and discussion
12:30 - 1:15 Lunch
1:15 - 2:00 "We had the experience but missed the meaning": engaging with the weak framing of experiential learning
Interactive workshop led by Elaine Hall
2:00 - 2:40

2:40 - 2:50
All in this together?: teamwork and student process in experiential learning
Jenny Gibbons and Zoe Swan

Questions and discussion
2:50 - 3:05 Coffee break


Legal Pedagogy Symposium: Discussion around ideas for Routledge Publishing Legal Pedagogy Series. 28/11/16

Legal Pedagogy Symposium

28th November 2016

1p.m – 3p.m Northumbria University Law School

City Campus East, 4th Floor


Northumbria Law School Legal Education and Professional Skills Research Group is hosting a symposium  to discuss  key  issues in legal pedagogy  with  a view to  identifying  content  and contributions for  Routledge Publishing’s Legal Pedagogy  Series.

Kris Gledhill, AUT Law School, Auckland, New Zealand, one of the editors of  The Teaching of Criminal Law : The pedagogical imperatives,  will introduce the series and its aims. 

This symposium will be relevant to anyone with an interest in legal education pedagogy who has ideas or experiences which they think would fit well within the series. The symposium will consider possible themes for the books which will contain chapters of in the region of 5-6,000 words from multiple authors from across jurisdictions.

Suggested themes may focus on:

  • teaching methodology for a particular subject area
  • the use of specific teaching methodologies in the curriculum
  • curriculum design and structure
  • the incorporation of areas of jurisprudential thought across the curriculum
  • the purpose of legal education


If you would like to join in the discussion please contact Maureen Cooke at or by telephone on 0191 243 7597.

Please email if you have an idea you would  like to present at the symposium.

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