Prof Claire Mcgourlay

Professor of Legal Education

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Professor Claire McGourlay is both a National and Principal Fellow of the HEA. She displays an active interest in the development of approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. She works in a number of mediums to motivate and inspire her students and is more than an academic who nurtures a passionate interest in the law – she is a dedicated teacher, enthusiastic and positive.


Claire’s interest in teaching is demonstrably clear to anyone who meets her; and it is this interest and passion that are paramount to her students’ success and achievements. She was the first person in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield to be promoted to Professor of Legal Education and in 2013 she was shortlisted for the Oxford University Law Teacher of the Year Award. She has a University of Sheffield Senate award for Excellence in learning and Teaching and an Inquiry Based Learning Award. Claire moved to the University of Manchester in 2017.


As well as the traditional lecture and seminar formats Claire frequently champions distinct and diverse teaching styles and methods to ensure everyone is supported and given the opportunity to excel. She was instrumental when at Sheffield in introducing video activities to enable students to engage in practical tasks to enhance their understanding.

Claire also champions experiential learning and was convenor for, FreeLaw (Clinical Legal Education) and Miscarriages of justice and their consequences at Sheffield. Claire has promoted the use of e-portfolios and peer review to allow students to catalogue their work and learn useful practical skills. She was responsible for the establishment and growth of FreeLaw and The Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre at Sheffield. At Manchester she is the Director of Learning and Teaching and is leading the curriculum review. Alongisde this she is expanding pro bono work at the School, creating a Justice Hub and new modules in Legal Tech and Clinical Legal Education. Claire teaches evidence, miscarrriages of justice and legal Skills.


At Sheffield she was nominated for the Student Union Academic Award for Personal Tutor of the Year in 2010, Employability in 2011, Teaching Excellence in 2013, Teaching excellence in 2014 and 2017 and Best Personal Tutor in 2017. She was awarded the Edward Bramley Law Society Award for Outstanding Staff Contribution in 2013 and won the University Employability Award in 2014. Claire was also awarded a National Fellowship of the HEA in 2014 and a Principal Fellowship of the HEA in 2016. Claire also publishes text books on Evidence (Routledge) and The English Legal System (OUP).


External positions

Member of the Stakeholders Group, Criminal Cases Review Commission

Mar 2018 → …

Member of the Ministry of Justice Legal Tech Education Task Force, Ministry of Justice

2018 → …

External Examiner, Swansea University

2018 → …

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2002 - Doctor of Laws, The Administrative Model of Justice , The University of Sheffield