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David Sixsmith


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Senior Lecturer in Law

I am a Senior Lecturer in Law here at the University of Sunderland, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I graduated from Northumbria University in 2009, and qualified as a solicitor in April 2011 with Evans and Co Solicitors, a high street practice in Spennymoor, County Durham. Alongside my academic commitments, I practiced with the firm until July 2019, having been made partner in August 2016.

I joined the University of Sunderland in August 2016 as lecturer and supervising solicitor in the Sunderland Student Law Clinic, our live pro-bono service in which students handle their own caseload under the supervision of qualified solicitors.

I am the Programme Leader for our (LPC) provision and I teach students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. My teaching blends interactive classroom based learning with online podcast delivery, allowing students to engage with modules in a variety of ways to prepare themselves adequately for both assessments and the next level of their studies, or alternatively into their professional careers.

I am extremely passionate about the extra curricular activities we offer within the department here, and am actively involved in all of these. I oversee the University's entry into the National Student Negotiation Competition and I'm one of the internal coaches for both the Client Interviewing and Mooting competitions, as well as being on the Editorial Board of the University of Sunderland's Student Law Journal.

In terms of my research, I completed my LLM in Advanced Legal Practice at Northumbria University in April 2016. The study covered the effectiveness of the reforms to civil procedure implemented following Lord Justice Jackson's Review of Civil Litigation Costs. I was awarded a Distinction. This study fed my enthusiasm for researching further into the current proposals for and programme of reforms to the civil justice system, and I commenced my PhD in the field of Access to Civil Justice for Litigants in Person in October 2018. I have presented my research to date through conference papers at the Association of Law Teachers Conference in April 2017 and the Society of Legal Scholars Conference in September 2017, 2018 and 2019, and will be delivering a paper on the impact of county court closures in the North East at the Socio-Legal Scholars Association conference in April 2020.

I also contribute regularly to the university's central research blog.



Teaching and supervision

LLB (Hons) Law
I am module leader for Property and Practice at Stage 2. I am one of the supervising solicitors in the Sunderland Student Law Clinic, in addition to supervising undergraduate dissertation projects. I have also developed and am delivering our new stage 2 module, Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation, which commences in 2021. 

LLM Legal Practice LPC
I am module leader for our Property Law and Practice, Civil Litigation and Advocacy and Wills and Administration of Estates modules. I also oversee several Legal Practice Projects at Masters level.

Research interests for potential research students

My main area of academic interest centres around the current issues surrounding access to justice for litigants in person within the civil justice system. I am currently undertaking a PhD on this topic.

I am also undertaking research into the current debate surrounding dispute resolution and where it sits in the context of the current civil court structure and process.

Research

My main area of academic interest centres around the current issues surrounding access to justice for litigants in person within the civil justice system, with specific focus on HMCTS's Court Modernisation Programme and the migration towards online and digital resolution provision. I am currently working with the charity, Support Through Court, to establish the impact of the reduction in the court estate on North East litigants in person. I am also undertaking research into the current debate surrounding dispute resolution and where it sits in the context of the current civil court structure and process.

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Litigation
  • Access to Justice
  • Court Modernisation

Last updated 28 May 2020

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