January 09, 2024 | University Partners

Academics and students mark 100 years of University of Exeter’s Law School

Academics and students are marking 100 years of world-leading research and pioneering education at the University of Exeter Law School.

Celebrations have been ongoing this year to commemorate the centenary of the first law courses in Exeter, originally held for just dozens of people in Gandy Street.

Now the Law School community is made up of 12,000 people from 120 different countries, with research influencing the policy of governments and organisations around the world.

Students and staff work together to run the award-winning award-winning Access to Justice law clinic to support people in the South West, which has been identified as a legal advice “desert”. The clinic has become an important and trusted service provider in the community and a vital service for those unable to otherwise access justice.

Students have studied law at the University since this week in December 1923, originally as part of the University College of the South West until Incorporation by Royal Charter in 1955 established Exeter as a university in its own right.

The formation of a department of law was made possible by an annual grant of £450 from the Council of the Law Society. Courses were provided by a lecturer in Plymouth and Exeter, preparing students for the examinations of the Law Society for the LL.B. degree of the University of London.

Twenty six students attended the first year of lectures, of which 10 were reading for the Final Examination of the Law Society.

Notable alumni include Appeal Court Justice The Rt Hon Lord Patrick Elias, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales The Rt Hon Lord Justice John Goldring, as well as a number of High Court Judges, Circuit Judges, KCs and partners at Magic Circle law firms.

A century later around 400 students join the University of Exeter each year to study law, and the department is made up of a vibrant community of staff from around the world. They have forged international partnerships with colleagues around the globe, including France, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada and Germany.

Research in the school was judged as having internationally excellent impact as part of the REF 2021 exercise. Academics have world-leading expertise in family law, legal history, artificial intelligence, technology, international and human rights law, European law, environmental law and commercial law.

Professor Clair Gammage, Head of the University of Exeter Law School, said: “I’m so proud of our community, made up of incredible staff and students who work to push the boundaries about what research is possible and to advance social justice to make the world a fairer place and promote social mobility.

“We all work to promote compassion as well as academic excellence, to help students become global citizens who contribute to overcoming the challenges facing society.

“Future years will bring further links with alumni, other universities and others and this will influence our teaching and curriculum. We will continue to innovate and offer applied learning opportunities and placements alongside world-leading research.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “We are very proud of the achievements of our University of Exeter Law School staff and students. It is wonderful to mark this centenary and look back on all their fantastic achievements, and also to look forward to a very exciting future for Exeter Law School”.