LLB Student Gains Bar Experience at Mini-Puppilage

At the beginning of May, LLB Law student,  Lauren Pritchard spent a week at 25 Bedford Row on a mini-piupillage, in order to gain  practical experience in advocacy and at the Bar. 

25 Bedford Row are a specialist Criminal Defence set of Chambers

Tuesday 1st May
On my first day I travelled to Snaresbrook Crown Court to accompany Abi, who had two matters to deal with.

The first was regarding an appeal from the Magistrates Court of a common assault sentence. Her defence was impeccable and she managed to argue a suspended custodial sentence down to a mere fine.

She invited me out and treated me to lunch, where we got to know each other more and she was able to give me some invaluable insight and advice about life as a young woman at the Bar. She also shared that she campaigns for diversity, via public speaking and social media.

In the afternoon, a case regarding a young couple where a stab wound had been inflicted was adjourned until a later date. This helped me to understand the level of information that is needed before you can properly represent a client in court and that some matters need to be held off under further information is gathered; in this case, they were awaiting a specialist to inspect if the wound was self-inflicted.

Wednesday 2nd May
During the first half of the day I joined Monica Stevenson in a historic sexual abuse case, where a man had molested his niece many years ago. I learned that these sorts of cases are very popular due to change in social attitudes, meaning that more than ever people are speaking out and getting justice for historic matters that may previously not have been considered. This case was adjourned until a later date.

Wednesday afternoon I joined Chester Beyts for a trial regarding four separate counts, including false imprisonment and grievous bodily harm. The trial continued over until the end of Thursday.

I witnessed the trial from beginning to end, was permitted access to the cells speaking to various defendants [and the] advocates lounge, which allowed me to network, as well as sitting next to Chester during the course of his advocacy. I got to witness a jury getting sworn in and counter arguments from both Chester and the Crown Prosecution Service. I also got to read the case bundle, being shown how to research relevant statute and case law, as well as court procedure and protocol.

This experience was very insightful, it put academic studies into practice and allowed me to meet the defendant behind the crime, his background and how he was portrayed by the court.

Chester was by far the most memorable barrister I worked with. He went above and beyond to teach me as much as he could about practicing at the Bar: from how a case is put together […] with basic procedures/traditions, to general friendly advice about attitudes and conduct when applying. He took me out and treated me to lunch and we have exchanged e-mail and numbers, inviting me to ask any further questions/advice at any time which is extremely helpful for the future.

Thursday 3rd May
Thursday morning I joined Laura Collier and Alex Jamieson, whilst waiting for the previous over-running trial to finish, so Chester’s could formally begin.
Laura was defending an appeal concerning a traffic offence, however this was adjourned as they were awaiting further evidence.

Following this, I accompanied Alex who was defending a young man who had stabbed someone. This hearing was Alex’s mitigation to the judge: some points included his age and background. This is then taken into consideration by the judge which may lessen the defendant’s sentence. This was an extremely good demonstration of advocacy.
Throughout the afternoon I re-joined Chester for the remainder of the trial. Unfortunately, due to lack of witness correspondence, this case was chucked out and no further action was taken.

Friday 4th May
During my final day at Inner London Crown Court, I had an amazing opportunity to witness true advocacy.

This case was regarding a multi-defendant trial where three defendants were being tried. Co-defence barristers, Alex and Emma, were presenting their closing speeches to the jury.

Each speech is approximately 40 minutes long [and] sums up each defendants whole defence in attempt to lure the jury to find them not guilty.
I had never witnessed this before and it gave me a true taster of how important the way a barrister presents the case [impacts] some[one’s] sentence.

I send my most sincere thanks to the sponsor who has allowed me to attend this amazing opportunity, which I otherwise would not have had the means to attend.
This opportunity was truly invaluable to me in terms of the experience I will need in order to be considered in such a competitive field, ultimately making me stand out and become more employable when applying for full pupillage and tenancy.

I have been able to network which allows me to gain further opportunities and contacts for my future career. Mostly, it has confirmed my aspiration to work as a barrister, making me ever more determined to thrive. I have since joined the Honourable Society of Middle Temple and intend to start my application to the Bar Professional Training Course in December.

Third Year Law Student Awarded Scholarship

Jake Edwards, who is reading law at Staffordshire University, has been awarded a named scholarship by the Middle Temple Inn of Court in London.

Jake applied for a scholarship for funding towards his Bar Professional Training Course in November 2017 and underwent a rigorous interview in London, in April this year. He excelled in all of his level six modules and still found time to prepare for the scholarship process by working with barristers from all over the country. Jake took part in a session held in the Law School in March to provide other students with tips and hints to achieve the dream on putting on the wig and gown.



A representative from the Middle Temple contacted Jake on Thursday 10th May to let him know that he had been awarded the State School Scholarship. This named award is awarded to a state-school educated candidate. Despite its name, this is a prestigious award and will look amazing on Jake’s CV for the future.

Jake was thrilled to pieces that all of his study and preparation had payed off. Jake commented: “I had some great lecturers and help along the way. I want to say a particular thank you to Gill Davenport who taught me the skill of mooting as this has really helped me. I also want to thank my personal tutor Keith Wharton for always believing in me.”

Jake follows a number of other successful Staffordshire University Law students who have been awarded top flight scholarships over the last three years. Last month Anthony Miller won the Lord Denning Scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn. In 2017 Arpan Bedi was awarded the Harmsworth Scholarship again from the Middle Temple. Law School lecturer and mooting specialist Gill Davenport commented: “Jake was an outstanding student on my level six mooting module this year. Our students keep winning scholarships; hopefully there is a pattern here!”



Law Alumni Present Research Findings at HMP Stafford

Lecturer Tawney Bennett and Alumnus Amber Mapledoram presented their research findings to senior management at HMP Stafford on the 25th April.

Lecturer, Tawney Bennett (left) and Amber Mapledoram (right)

Their research consisted of an empirical and largely qualitative analysis of the prisoner complaints system, through distributing questionnaires and carrying out in-depth interviews with prisoners.

The researchers conducted their investigation through a prisoner-oriented lens, focusing on the prisoners’ perceptions, experiences and feelings regarding the complaints process.

Alumnus Amber Mapledoram

Their research spanned approximately 10 months and resulted in practical recommendations being proposed to senior management, to implement into the future practice of the prison and promote positive change. The suggested implementations were created with an emphasis on the importance of procedural justice and treating prisoners with fairness and respect.

The recommendations were well received by the prison management team and they expressed a keen desire to maintain the blossoming partnership with Staffordshire University.

Alumnus and Lecturer Tawney Bennett

Future research projects have been organised with the Deputy Governor of HMP Stafford, offering Staffordshire University students an insightful and invaluable opportunity to implement change in the Criminal Justice System.

Law Students Visit the House of Commons

Law students, who are currently studying European Union Law, visited the House of Commons on Monday 5th of March.

They were accompanied by lecturers Aidan Flynn, Rhiannon Frost and Damian Etone. The students met with Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, who is Chair of the Commons’ Select Committee on Exiting the European Union.

They spent an hour putting questions to Mr Benn. There was then a tour led by Mr Benn, which took in the ‘Terrace’ on the bank of the Thames. The students also witnessed the Speaker’s Procession.

What You Can Expect on Our Offer Holder Days

We had our third Offer Holder Day, on Saturday 17th February, for our 2018 entry applicants. The School of Law, Policing and Forensics applicants met our staff, a few of our students, and experienced taster sessions of what they can expect if they choose to study at Staffordshire University.

Chemistry is a part of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, and is new for 2018. Our Chemistry applicants had hands on experience in our labs, where they conducted some paracetamol analysis and calculations .

Law applicants on a mixture of our Law courses, including the new BA Criminal Justice with Offender Management, got involved in two interactive sessions.

Louis Martin and Anna Garland used real life case studies and encouraged interactive discussions. Louis focused on serial killers and Criminal Law and Anna discussed the core areas of Legal study that students can expect to learn about (Contract Law, Tort Law, Constitutional Law, Property Law, Equitable Remedies, EU Law and Criminal Law), using a few of the following examples:

Donoghue v Stevenson (1932)
The Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation (2001)
Jolly v Sutton LBC (2000).

Former Senior Investigating Officer for Staffordshire Police and Course Leader of our Policing and Criminal Investigation courses, Phil Lee, briefed our applicants and then took them to the crime scene house; they took the role of Senior Investigating Officers, where they used body cameras and recorded evidence.


Professor James Treadwell encouraged our Sociology and Criminology applicants to think like a Sociologist and Criminologist when discussing topical images. Applicants were then given the opportunity to speak to one of our current Sociology students and ask questions.

Forensic Science and Forensic Investigation applicants were suited in protective clothing and had practical experience of crime scene processing and evidence analysis – at our crime scene house and labs.

Our next Offer Holder Day will take place on Wednesday 14th March. Find out more on our website.

Modern Slavery and International Law

Elizabeth Faulkner, Staffordshire University Law Lecturer, attended two conference events during January. The first event focused on ‘Modern Slavery’ and the second on ‘International Law’ – during which she was able to present aspects of her own research. 

January 23rd 2018, King’s College, London – The Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, Prof. Joel Quirk, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

This was a rather exciting event for me to attend, having read the works of Prof. Joel Quirk whilst undertaking my doctoral research. The talk was chaired by Associate Prof. Sam Okyere (University of Nottingham) and together they form part of the team from Beyond Trafficking Slavery BTS. The uniqueness of BTS is that it links academic research with journalism, attracting over a million readers globally. BTS encompasses a relatively niche school of thought in terms of contemporary discussions of slavery, labour and exploitation.

Joel Quirk delivered his talk upon the ‘Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, which was incredibly interesting as he illustrated links between the statistics that I had not considered. The talk essentially drew together my preconceived ideas and provided them with clarity and support. Definitely worth the trip to King’s College, London. One of the highlights of the day was exchanging stories of strange encounters overseas whilst undertaking research with Joel and Sam, on route to Five Guys for food!

January 31st 2018 – The Neglected Methodologies of International Law: Empirical, Socio-Legal and Comparative

This event was truly unique in terms of content, organised by Rossana Deplano and Paolo Vargiu (University of Leicester). The format for the day was split into two panels and a series of simultaneous panels. The two panels namely, Panel 1 – Empirical and Socio-Legal and Panel 2 – Comparative and Critical Approaches, offered a wealth of information.


Presentations included:

The epistemological need or socio-legal research in international law’ (Prof. Fiona De Londras, University of Birmingham.

‘From preserving sovereignty to protecting humanity: the untold story of the numbers behind the UN Security Council’s practice’ (Dr Rossana Deplano, University of Leicester).

‘Doing it differently? Pluralising International Economic Law Scholarship’ (Dr Celine Tan, University of Warwick).

The final session of the day provided the opportunity for early career academics to present their research, and the methodology behind the project, to a small group of peers, chaired by two more senior academics. My panel included Mikolaj Firlej (University of Oxford) and Alice Margaria (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and it was chaired by Dr Celine Tan (University of Warwick) and Dr Richard Craven (University of Leicester). I discussed my abstract entitled ‘A critique of the historical evolution of the international legal responses to the trafficking of children’. Celine suggested that I should undertake archival research in Geneva as I would uncover a wealth of resources, referring back to her own experiences in Washington D.C when none of the sources were available electronically.

The workshop provided a great networking opportunity and the organiser Dr Rosanna Deplano intends to develop a book proposal of an edited collection of the papers presented, including my own!

Law Club: Legal and Forensic Perspectives of Sexual Offences

Every month, the Law department hosts ‘Law Club’ for a few of the local colleges. Their students are invited on to campus to attend and get involved with various and topical workshops on issues from murder to prison violence and sexual offences. 

Elizabeth Faulkner, the Law Club Coordinator, explains more:

‘Law Club is an initiative where we invite local sixth forms and colleges to attend sessions delivered by academics from the School of Law, Policing and Forensics. So far we’ve delivered sessions on domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual offences. Due to the success of the sessions and involvement of academics from across the relatively newly formed School of Law, Policing and Forensics, I hope we can rebrand “Law Club” to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the workshops that are planned for the future.

Last week we kicked off the new year with ‘Sexual Offences: Legal and Forensic Perspectives’ delivered by Dr Laura Walton-Williams and I. The first half of the session looked at incest, using the popular TV series Game of Thrones to provide fictional couples to be examined under the jurisdictions of England and Wales and Australia. A number of students were really vocal and engaged with their opinions about how and why the law should regulate sexual relationships. It made for a truly memorable session with my colleague Laura dropping a case into her session, on the forensic aspects of sexual offence investigation, which addressed bestiality – I think the gauntlet was thrown in terms of who could disgust our participants more!

Law Club has been a great success so far and I am grateful to our participating institutions and the students that they send! I would also like to thank to all of those who have been involved so far and to those who have volunteered to deliver sessions. We have upcoming workshops on honour violence, murder, and prison violence’

Elizabeth Faulkner and Dr Laura Walton-Williams

Staffs Uni Law Student Selected to Attend Henderson Chambers Pupillage Event

Aneesah Asif, one of our Law students at Staffordshire University, was invited to attend the Henderson Chambers Pupillage event on 25th November 2017 in London. Attendees had to submit an application in order to be selected and there was a limited number of spaces available.

Aneesah commented on the event, stating “It was a fantastic networking event to meet other students as well as Barristers who were more than happy to provide you with information about the Bar course and tips in gaining a Pupillage.

There were many other students from Russell group Universities, including Cambridge, and the fact that I wasn’t from a Russell Group University I felt very privileged that I was given the opportunity to go.

Attending this event and speaking to members of the Chambers really gave me an insight of what it would be like doing the bar course and what a career as a Barrister would entail.

Overall the experience was fantastic and has opened up further opportunities relating to my career and made me think about the options that are available. I strongly advise other students who do want to pursue a career in law to attend events like this, because it gives you a real insight and can help. I just want to say thank you for advertising opportunities like this. I really appreciate it.”



Proud of Our Partnerships: Thompsons Solicitors

Rachel Eardley, LLB Law alumni and current Legal Practice Course student, has recently started a job at Thompsons Solicitors – a firm we have developed a partnership with since 2015. She kindly agreed to discuss her experiences studying at Staffordshire University, her new role and studying the LPC alongside work. 

Rachel Eardley, LLB

What undergraduate course did you study at Staffordshire University? 

I studied the LLB at Staffordshire University and gained a 2:1.

What is your new role and what does it mean to you?

My new role is a Pre-Litigation Executive and it means the world to me to have obtained a legal position in such a competitive market.

How did you hear about and obtain the position?

I heard about the position by attending the Staffordshire University Law Fair. I walked around the various firms, asked questions and tried to engage with the people from the firms the best I could. I visited the Thompsons’ stand and I recognised a lady I studied at undergraduate level with; she advised me about the role at Thompsons’ and suggested that I apply for the role. I went on to apply for the role and was offered an interview and subsequently the role.


How has your first week/few weeks been; can you explain your roles and responsibilities?

I think the first few weeks of any new job role are overwhelming as you are getting to grips with the systems and the role itself. In particular, this role has a somewhat heavy caseload and within my role I have my own caseload and I gather information and evidence for my clients that have suffered personal injury within the work place. It is my job to ensure that all evidence is gathered efficiently and correctly, that the conduct that is provided to the clients is in line with the codes of conduct – set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – and to keep everything in line with the pre-action protocols.

How do you feel your course and the staff at Staffordshire University helped you prepare for the role?

I feel that the staff at Staffordshire University have been immensely helpful in the preparation of gaining this role. Whilst studying the LPC, I have learnt so much about the little things that do not seem so little when in practice: such as letter writing and communicating with clients in a professional but friendly manner, as well as client interviewing techniques.

You are currently studying the LPC, Part Time. How are you finding studying the LPC alongside working?

I have had to adapt to managing my time in a much more efficient way – as well as staying extra organised – so I do not let my studies and revision get too overwhelming and fall behind. It can be quite difficult to manage both, but it is also very rewarding and will be worth it.

Thompsons Solicitors said:

“We have partnered with Staffordshire University since 2015, to help us attract talent to our National Litigation Unit, Stoke. The University has provided invaluable assistance in helping us target Law graduates for various roles, which offer an excellent opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in Personal Injury law.

“As a result of our partnership working, a number of high calibre candidates have expressed an interest in various vacancies. Those selected for interview have been well prepared and demonstrated an excellent knowledge and understanding of both the work undertaken by the firm and the firm itself.

“We are delighted that we have been able to successfully fill a number of these vacancies with candidates from the university and are confident with the standard of applicants we receive from Staffordshire University. This is a win-win situation as the university graduates find employment quickly and our vacancies are filled without delay. We are able to offer these graduates the opportunity to work within a vibrant and diverse working environment, within a new office, where they receive excellent training from some of the industry’s leading Personal Injury Lawyers.”