SLS Legal Education Research and Practice Group


The SLS Legal Education Research and Practice Group brings together colleagues from across Sussex Law School with an interest in legal education and pedagogy. This Group, supporting empirical, theoretical and practical enquiries into legal education and practice, provides a forum for internal discussion and a supportive space for members to develop and nurture collaborative research projects, scholarship and toolkit ideas. Membership of the Group is open to all in Sussex Law School - to teaching and research faculty, to professional service staff and to PhD students. We also very much welcome members from outside Sussex Law School who are interested in sharing their research in connected areas and working collaboratively with members in the Group.

Please contact us at:

Leads: Verona Ní Drisceoil, Paven Basuita   Jeanette Ashton and Jo Wilson

Internal Impact SLS student Experience Projects

Spring 2022: Law Marking Criteria Student Connector Project

In Spring 2022, Jo Wilson and 6 Law Student Connectors embarked on a 7 week project to reconsider the SLS Undergraduate Marking Criteria. The project has resulted in two key developments. First, we have created clearer and more accessible level specific marking criteria to reflect the academic progression of students at different levels of study. Second, we have developed a series of tools, resources and strategies to educate and inform students about key aspects of the criteria.

Student Connector Reading List Project (Spring 2021-)

Teresa Sutton is leading on this student-led review of reading lists and linked online learning materials. Reviews are to be led by student connectors who have completed the modules to improve the student experience for the students that follow them. The project also covers accessibility issues.

SQE: Planning for the future (2020 -)

Jeanette Ashton and Kieran Durcan are currently researching the implications of the new SQE route, the different options available to prepare for the SQE exams and how best to provide a clear pathway for students wishing to qualify under the new route. This work will have a direct impact on teaching provision and curriculum design in the coming years.

Sharing Teaching Experience Sessions (Autumn 2020 -)

Given the current teaching and learning environment, Kieran Durcan is hosting regular Sharing Teaching Experience sessions where teaching faculty in the law school can come together to share experience, concerns and best practice. These sessions, often attended by colleagues from TEL, offer faculty an opportunity to discuss and resolve the challenges presented by the online mode of delivery and learning. These sessions also provide useful data for TEL in terms of planning more widely.

The ‘Law’ Critique and Question Reading and Writing Group (Autumn 2020 -)

Verona Ní Drisceoil hosts the ‘Law’ Critique and Question Reading and Writing Group for Year 1 students. In this space, students come together to read, reflect and question together. The sessions also offer a space to develop writing.

The Abolitionist Futures Reading Group (Autumn 2020 -)

Tanya Palmer, along with students, hosts the Abolitionist Futures Reading Group.

The ‘Frank Conversations about Law’ Video Project 2020

Jeanette Ashton worked with two of our final year LLB students and Jo o'Sullivan, Family Law Brighton, Divorce Lawyers Brighton, Cohabitation Solicitor Brighton, Family Law Lewes, Divorce Lawyers Lewes, Cohabitation Solicitor Lewes local family law practitioner and one of our CLOCK Legal Companion scheme partners, to produce a series of 'Frank Conversations about the Law' videos. These conversations address issues such as the role of AI and legal tech; diversity in the profession; learning in the time of Covid-19; hopes and fears for the future, and many more.

Links to the videos here: frank conversations about the law - YouTube

Events (past and upcoming)

27 April 2022: Authentic assessment: what is it & how do we do it?

Jeanette Ashton, Jo Wilson, and the Academic Development Team

In this session, in conjunction with our academic development team, we reflected on the rationale behind making assessments more authentic, and what that might look like. We heard from Jo Wilson on her experience of introducing authentic assessment into Contract Law in Year 1, which included student feedback. In the final part of the session, we shared examples and suggestions for how we might make our assessments more authentic.

2 February 2022: Finding a way to make formative assessments ‘work’

Dr Verona Ní Drisceoil

The benefits of formative assessments are well known but so too are the challenges in terms of time, resources, and capacity particularly in large modules. This session reflected on ‘finding a way’ to make formative assessments work. Finding a way, it was argued, may mean rethinking traditional notions of formative assessment in favour of broader ‘responsive teaching’ approaches incorporating and embedding formative opportunities.

14 September 2021: ‘MCQS Made Easy’ organised by Paven Basuita, Verona Ní Drisceoil and Kieran Durcan

This workshop was a joint event with the Technology for Enhanced Learning team at the University of Sussex, represented by Sarah Watson. With the introduction of the Solicitors Qualification Exam, many more modules at Sussex have introduced Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) assessments to help prepare students who wish to sit the SQE in the future. This session looked at how to design effective MCQ assessments and explored important issues related to the use of this type of assessment including: ensuring assessment validity and how to test higher order thinking, not merely knowledge recall; principles for the effective and robust drafting of MCQs; how to ensure MCQs are inclusive and how to address collusion and other challenges.

26 November 2020: ‘Your Teachers as Researchers: Changing Research Culture’, organised by Verona Ní Drisceoil and Bal Sokhi-Bulley, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex.

This was a joint event with the SLS Research Seminar Series and involved input from a panel of staff (Neemah Ahamed, Matt Evans, Sabrina Gilani and Lucy Welsh) and from the student voices (Henry Bonsor, Jasmine Bundhoo, Ayo Idowu-Bello and Tyrone Logue) who participated in and facilitated the event. See Blog post below for further details on the event.

29 July 2020: Decolonising the Curriculum: A Conversation’ organised by Verona Ní Drisceoil, Bal Sokhi-Bulley, Elizabeth Craig and Ali Kassem, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex.

This seminar aimed to further stimulate the conversation, discussion and action around decolonisation across the School of LPS.
Speakers: Dr Foluke Adebisi, Dr Naaz Rashid, Dr Suhraiya Jivraj, Peter D’Sena and Ali Kassem

24 April 2020:  ‘Mainstreaming Gender Pedagogy in the Law School’, Tamsin-Hinton Smith and Rosa Marvell, Department of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex.

In this session, Tamsin Hinton-Smith and Rosa Marvell from the Department of Education and Social Work shared insights from their research project exploring how gender, as both a topic and approach, is included in diverse higher education subject areas. Their research included interviews with University of Sussex staff and students across different teaching and learning levels, as well as documentary analysis of student-facing course materials.

The aim of the session was to start to reflect on the relevance of Tamsin and Rosa’s research in terms of what we do in the law school. What is the relevance of gender to our discipline? How does gender appear in our modules and how might it be incorporated and how we can adapt our teaching approaches to make them more inclusive? Thank you to Tamsin and Rosa for a wonderful presentation. Much food for thought.

A recording of the presentation is available under Teaching Resources and Toolkit below.

19 December 2019:  Sharing Good Practice in Teaching: One thing that worked

Thank you to Paven Basuita for collating the top tips and take away messages from this session.

To view, see further under Teaching Resources and Toolkit below.

24 June 2019:  ‘Legal Design, Education and the Community’, Emily Allbon, City University

In this session, Emily Allbon from City University presented a wonderful paper on ‘Legal Design, Education and the Community’. Emily is well known for her work in developing the award-winning Lawbore resource – a website to support and engage those studying law. In her paper, Emily spoke with passion about the emerging field of legal design and its potential within legal education. She also spoke about what's going on globally and the projects she was working on with a range of organisations. Thank you Emily!

15 March 2019:  ‘Researching and Writing our Teaching Practice’ by Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Dept. of Education and Social Work, Sussex

13 February 2019:  Introducing the SLS Legal Research Group

Annual SLS Symposium

Our Annual SLS Teaching and Learning Symposium is designed to bring together colleagues, both within SLS and beyond, to reflect on our teaching experiences, share examples of best practice, and discuss topical issues of importance.

24 June 2022: ‘SLS Symposium 2022: Teaching and Learning in the Post-Pandemic Era’

This year we reflected on the academic year before hearing from colleagues from the Law School about innovative practice on their modules. This included the sensory journey in the Fashion Law module, authentic assessment in Migration law, and reflective workshops in Contract Law. We then focused on the holistic student experience, including feedback engagement, encouraging students to be curious, and how we can provide the best support for our students in the post-pandemic era. This was followed by a 'hot topic' seminar on the perceived rise of cheating in online assessments, where we were joined by guest speakers, a student panel and colleagues from across the sector.

15 June 2021: 'SLS Symposium: Teaching During Covid-19: A Challenge or an Opportunity?'

We began our inaugural annual teaching and learning symposium by reflecting upon our experiences of teaching during the pandemic. We then had two sessions on engagement in the classroom and community and belonging where colleagues gave a series of lightning talks on their teaching practices, including the use of Canva, the use of Padlet, and the use of music and song to connect with students. Finally, we had a session on Authentic Assessment where we heard papers from a series of external speakers.

Research and Scholarship

Ni Drisceoil, Verona (2020) Moving beyond text, embracing the visual: the Virtual Land Law Field Trip Project @ Sussex. The Law Teacher. pp. 1-12. ISSN 0306-9400

Heather McKnight (2019) The Sussex campus ‘Forever Strike’: estrangement, resistance and utopian temporality. Studies in Arts and Humanities, 5 (1). pp. 145-172. ISSN 2009-826X

Ben Waters and Jeanette Ashton (2018) A study into situated learning through community legal companionship International Journal of Clinical Legal Education: 25 (2) pp.4-47 ISSN 1467-1069

Mark Davies (2018) Educational background and access to legal academia. Legal Studies, 38 (1). pp. 120-146. ISSN 0261-3875

Mark Davies (2017) Changes to the training of English and Welsh lawyers: implications for the future of university law schools. The Law Teacher, 52 (1). pp. 100-125. ISSN 0306-9400

Juliet Turner, Alison Bone and Jeanette Ashton (2016) Reasons why law students should have access to learning law through a skills-based approach. The Law Teacher: 52 (1) pp. 1-16

Blog Posts from Members

Elshafay, Hadir (2022) ‘What do students want and need from one to one encounters with staff? Hadir Elshafay explores the distinction between originality and authenticity in student academic support’, We should be more interested in curiosity than competition | Wonkhe , June 2022

Ní Drisceoil, Verona, (2022) ‘Making Formative Assessments Work, Dare to Transform Blog, April 2022

Ní Drisceoil, Verona, and Wilson, Jo (2021) 'Sussex Law School’s Inaugural Teaching and Learning Symposium – Teaching During Covid-19: A Challenge or an Opportunity?' Part 1, LPS LaPSe of Reason Blog, July 2021

Ní Drisceoil, Verona, and Wilson, Jo (2021) 'Sussex Law School’s Inaugural Teaching and Learning Symposium – Teaching During Covid-19: A Challenge or an Opportunity?' Part 2, LPS LaPSE of Reason Blog, July 2021

Ashton, Jeanette (2021) 'LPS 2021 Employability showcase: making a difference through co-creation - LaPSe of Reason (wordpress).com also available here: LPS 2021 Employability showcase: making a difference through co-creation -ATL (


Ashton, Jeanette and Oprandi, Paolo (Senior Learning Technologist), (2021) ‘The wheels firmly on the bus: Reflections on teaching a new module in the new normal’ (Dare to Transform, 14 January 2021) Available at: “The wheels firmly on the bus” Reflections on teaching a new module in the ‘new normal’  Dare to Transform (   also view blog here: Association of Law Teachers

Ni Drisceoil, Verona and Sokhi-Bulley, Bal (2020) ‘Your Teachers are Researchers: Changing the Research Culture’ (LaPSe, 18 Dec 2020). 

Basuita, Paven (20200 ‘Discussion Boards: Don’t write them off just yet’ (ALT Blog, 29 May 2020) 

Ni Drisceoil, Verona (2018) ‘Introducing the Virtual Land Law Field Trip Project @Sussex’, Network of Teachers of Land & Property (NETLAP) Weblog Available at

Anna Gumucio Ramberg (2017) ‘Governmentality and the Management of the Circulation of ‘Extreme’ Ideas’ 

Ni Drisceoil, Verona (2017) ‘Spotlight on…The Virtual Land Law Field Trip Project’, Active Learning Network Weblog Available at

Heather McKnight (2018) ‘Lessons in unionising the future: the art of estrangement and critical pedagogy on the picket line’. Available at

Teaching Resources/Toolkit

24 April 2020 -  Mainstreaming Gender Pedagogy in the Law School: view recording here

19 December 2019 - Teaching and Learning Session "One thing that worked" download the PDF here


Connecting Legal Education 

Association of Law Teachers

Advancing Wellness in Law


Jeanette Ashton

Paven Basuita

Elizabeth Craig

Fiona Clements

Mark Davies

Kieran Durcan

Hadir Elshafay

Nuno Ferreira

Nabeala Fiaz 

Gianluca Gentili

Danielle Griffiths

Donald McGillivray

Lizzy McKinney

Verona Ní Drisceoil

Aisling O’Sullivan 

Tanya Palmer

Amir Paz-Fuchs

Cath Senker

Teresa Sutton

Julia Winstone

Joanna Wilson 







LPS 2021 Employability showcase: making a difference through co-creation -ATL (