David Sixsmith


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Senior Lecturer in Law

I graduated from Northumbria University in 2009, and qualified as a solicitor in April 2011 with Evans & 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 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 proposed 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.

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 LL.M. Legal Practice (LPC) provision and I teach students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I am actively involved in the extra curricular work within the department here; I oversee the University's entry into the National Student Negotiation Competition and am one of the internal coaches for both the Client Interviewing and Mooting competitions. I also set up the Law School's Careers and Employability Scheme, and innovative eight week voluntary programme where students are introduced to and challenged to develop their own skills in specific areas relating to obtaining legal employment in the future.

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. 

LLM Legal Practice LPC

I am module leader for our Property Law and Practice, Civil Litigation and Advocacy and Employment Law and Practice modules, as well as supervising a postgraduate firm in the Sunderland Student Law Clinic. 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 extremely interested in the current debate surrounding dispute resolution and where it sits in the context of the current civil court structure and process. I am currently finalising two articles for publication later this year.

Last updated 27 September 2019