Claire Mcgourlay

Claire Mcgourlay


  • Professor of Legal Education, Law
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Personal profile



Professor Claire McGourlay is both a National and Principal Fellow of the HEA. Claire is currently the Director of External Relations in the School of Social Sciences, The Leadership in Education Awards Programme Champion (LEAP) in the Faculty of Humanities and the Director of the Humanities New Academic Programme (HNAP). At Manchester she was the Director of Learning and Teaching until the School of Law merged with SoSS in 2019. 


Claire displays an active interest in the development of approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. She works in several 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. At Manchester Claire has created interactive handbooks in Adobe Spark and created blogs about the process during Covid 19.


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.


Alongside this she is expanding pro bono work at the School, Claire was instrumental in creating the Justice Hub and new modules in Legal Tech and Clinical Legal Education. In 2020, the Miscarriages of Justice team in the Justice Hub joined the USA Innocence Project Network, the 13th Project allowed to join outside of the USA. Claire publishes in this area and also writes a leading text book in Criminal Evidence.


She is also an academic lead in the Manchester Legal Tech Initiative and alongside her colleague John Haskell, Claire is driving forward the integration of legal tech into the curriculum. She frequently is invited to speak at conferences and events about the development of UG and PG skills in this area. In 2019 the Initative was Shortlisted for the Financial Times Innovation award and won the Alliance of the Year Award at the British Legal Tech awards.


Claire teaches evidence, miscarriages 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 textbooks on Evidence (Routledge) and The English Legal System (OUP). She also reviews books for the Criminal Law Review.



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Laws, The Administrative Model of Justice , The University of Sheffield

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002

External positions

External Examiner Greenwich

2019 → …

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 → …


  • Miscarriages of Justice, Innocence Project, Legal Tech

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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