Theme six: Legal Pedagogy

Colleagues involved in this stream concentrate on work which seeks to innovate and improve upon the understanding of the teaching and assessment of law. Appreciating the destinations of our students, improving our understanding of how law students learn and how what they learn will benefit their opportunities and abilities to operate as global citizens are key focus areas for colleagues contributing to shaping the debates around the content and delivery of legal education.

Theme coordinator: Craig Newbery-Jones

Areas of research expertise

  • Clinical legal education
  • Ethics and legal education 
  • Employability
  • Personal Development Planning
  • Personal tutoring
  • Transition to HE
  • Technology Enhanced Learning
  • Peer Assisted Learning
  • Staff/Student partnership research
  • Feed-in/feedback
  • Education for Sustainable development
  • Immersive Legal Pedagogies


  • Rosie Brennan – clinical legal education; ethics and legal education; immigration law
  • Penny Childs – employability; PDP; personal tutoring; transition to HE; problem-based learning
  • Hugo de Rijke – employability; technology enhanced learning; ethics and legal education
  • Nigel Firth – employability; technology enhanced learning
  • Victoria Hamlyn – employability; technology enhanced learning; PDP; peer assisted learning
  • Jason Lowther – ESD; personal tutoring
  • Craig Newbery-Jones – employability; technology enhanced learning; PDP; ethics and legal education
  • Joanne Sellick – ESD; immersive legal pedagogies; feed-in/feedback cycles; digital literacy; personal tutoring
  • Professor Kim Stevenson – immersive legal pedagogies
  • Pippa Trimble – work-based learning; problem-based learning.

Current and recent research projects

Career Aspirations and Employment Opportunities
Research, published in The Law Teacher (48(1) 2014), which tracked the aspirations and destinations of Plymouth LLB students and graduates over a number of years, exploring factors that encouraged or inhibited them along the path to their careers. The work evaluated the data from our students and considered its relevance to the employability issues highlighted by the Legal Education and Training Review.

Education for Sustainable Development in Law Curricula
This represents long-standing and continuing work relating to incorporating ESD throughout the undergraduate and GDL law curricula. Originally in conjunction with the HEA for law, and published in Sustainability education: perspectives and practice across Higher Education, London : Earthscan (2010) the research has continued to explore means and methodologies for incorporating sustainability literacy as a key graduate competence for law students


Immersive Modules
The research involved a longitudinal exploration of the benefits of an immersive experience in the transition to HE for newly enrolled level 4 undergraduate students as a means to building legal competences and skills. Initial findings have been disseminated to the Academy, and the work is ongoing so as to form the basis of longitudinal study.

Pro-bono Clinical Legal Education
A number of initiatives are currently under way: some enabling staff-student research partnerships in areas such as tenancy rights; employment law and immigration representation. In the case of immigration considerable research is under way in relation to the recognition of refugee voices within the legal process and the pioneering work being undertaken by the University Law Clinic in partnership with the Red Cross, statutory and other third sector agencies in the South West. Additional work has been undertaken in Sierra Leone in establishing pro-bono provision and examining the teaching of legal ethics.