Tuesday, 31 January 2017
One of the most senior judges in England praised the University of Worcester’s new School of Law at its official opening.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lord Justice of Appeal, said he was impressed by the facilities and the University’s aim to give its students practical experience alongside academic theory.
He said: “I wish I’d been on a course like this because I think for me it would have made sense of the law rather having it as a dry academic subject, which it was when I learnt it, so I’m jealous of the young people that come through the doors here.”
The University’s LLB Qualifying Law Degree course is in its inaugural year and currently has 38 students. Teaching is delivered in brand new seminar rooms and lecture rooms, plus a purpose-built, fully accessible mock courtroom or ‘moot room’, with benches for judges, barristers, defendants, witnesses and public including members of the press, plus a separate jury room to simulate the real court experience.
Lord Justice McFarlane was called to the Bar in 1977 and has appeared at all levels of court including the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights. He was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in July 2011 and now sits in the Court of Appeal. He is also a member of the Privy Council.
He said: “I think the facilities are really effective. This courtroom, and I have seen a lot of courtrooms both real courtrooms in action and also courtrooms at universities up and down the country, is a really good facility.
“It’s accessible to anybody; there’s a feeling of space and not only is there a bench for the advocates to address the judge, which any courtroom will have, it’s got a witness box, it’s got a jury box, it’s got the space for people sitting behind and it can also be used for ordinary teaching for the students so they get used to coming into a court environment and learning the law.”
In keeping with the University’s ethos of serving the region’s community, the School of Law will open a Legal Advice Centre in February. With the assistance of local practitioners and qualified academic staff, who will supervise Law students, it will offer much needed free legal advice initially in employment law, and eventually in family and child law.
“Worcester has the advantage of having this law school within 300 or 400 yards of very many people who are working in the law,” said Lord Justice McFarlane.
“My hope is that the professional community will embrace the arrival of the law school here, the students will embrace the opportunity to become involved as a fly on the wall in professional practice.
“Right from the start they will see what the end product is of what they’re learning rather than just simply sitting and reading a law book in their room or looking at it on the screen and wondering what it’s got to do with real life.”
The new LLB course has a specific emphasis on employability, using a combination of skills-based training within the curriculum and opportunities for work-based experience.
Students have the chance to study a variety of aspects of law, such as Disability Law, Human Rights Law, Employment Law, Company Law, Family Law and Media Law. From September 2017, students will also be able to study Law with Criminology and Law with Forensic Psychology.
The new LLB Law degree at the University of Worcester is a Qualifying Law degree, accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board and covers all the foundation subjects required to pass the ‘Academic Stage’ – the first step in qualifying as a barrister or a solicitor.