Personal profile


I am a qualified solicitor. I graduated from Newcastle University in 1989 with an LL.B (hons) degree and then completed the Law Society Finals at the College of Law in York. I have an MA in history and a PhD in legal history from Newcastle University. 

I trained as a solicitor with Hay and Kilner, in Newcastle, and on qualification worked in the litigation department handling both claimant and defendant personal injury and clinical negligence cases. After six years I moved to Crutes Law Firm (now DWF) where I conducted defendant personal injury and clinical negligence litigation on behalf of major insurance companies and the NHSLA (NHS Resolution).

I joined the University in 2012. I have a PGCE and I am a Qualified Teacher, a qualified coach, a Fellow of the Society for Education and Training, and a Fellow of the HEA. I am Programme Leader for the Law Foundation Year. I teach Civil Litigation, Legal History, and Inquests on the MLaw and LLB degrees. In previous years I managed civil firms in the Student Law Office and taught English Legal System, Tort, and Trials of Dissenters. I supervise final year archival/legal history projects.

In 2023/24 I lead a new approach to legal history dissertations (a joint project with Dr Jennifer Aston from Humanities) in partnership with Tyne and Wear Archives and The National Archives. I was long-listed for OUP Law Teacher of the Year.


Research interests

My main research is in Legal History. My specific research passion is nineteenth century coroners and inquests. I  research nineteenth century lives, trials, and punishment- with a focus on the North East of England. I am interested in legal biography, images of the law, the use of digital newspapers for research, and microhistorical inquiry.

My Phd is titled: The Coroner in an Emerging Industrial Society: John Theodore Hoyle and Newcastle upon Tyne 1857-1885. 

I am working on a set of primary source books on the nineteenth century coroner for Routledge Primary Source Collections and researching the Newcastle River Police; the use, and misuse, of images in nineteenth century trial newspaper reporting, and early nineteenth century forensic investigation by the Newcastle police.

Further Information

I am an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; a member of the Seldon Society, the Society of Legal Scholars, the Social History Society, the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, the British Association for Victorian Studies and Newcastle upon Tyne Law Society.

I was co-convenor of the Law and Humanities Research Interest Group.

This is now part of the Law and Society Research group.

I carried out research for the TwentyTwenty/BBC TV programme A House Through Time for both the Newcastle and the Leeds episodes.

I am an external examiner at St Mary's University and York St John University.

I co-convened the International Seminar Series (organised jointly with the Max Planck Institute for Legal History, Leeds Beckett University and York University- supported by the SLS) Through a Legal Lens- Law, History and Visual Culture. 26 May to 23 June 2022.  Full details: Through a Legal Lens

I am a researcher for the Newcastle Gaol Project (led by Dr Shane McCorristine of Newcastle University). The project includes a website, a public exhibition and public lectures. A book is planned for 2025.

Education/Academic qualification

Law, PhD, The Coroner in an Emerging Industrial Society: John Theodore Hoyle and Newcastle upon Tyne 1857-1885, Newcastle University


PGCHE, Northumbria University


History, MA, Newcastle University


Law, DipHE, Northumbria University


Law Society Finals, College of Law


LLB (Hons), Newcastle University


External positions

St Mary's University, Twickenham

1 Oct 202230 Sept 2026

York St John University

1 Sept 202231 Aug 2026

University of Westminster

1 Sept 201931 Aug 2023


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