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David Sixsmith


Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Law / David Sixsmith

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 was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2019.

I am the Programme Leader for our (LPC) provision and I teach students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. My areas of expertise are Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation and Wills and Administration of Estates.

I am currently developing our new portfolio of programmes to prepare students for the incoming Solicitors Qualifying Examination (1 and 2) for commencement in 2022. Externally, I am a series editor of Revise SQE, a new set of revision guides designed to prepare law students for their SQE1 Functioning Legal Knowledge Assessments. Within this series, I am also the author of Revise SQE Dispute Resolution which is due for publication in April 2022.

I am extremely passionate about the extra curricular activities we offer within the Law School, 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. I commenced my PhD, entitled 'Optimising the Development and Implementation of an Online Dispute Resolution System for Low Value Civil Claims in England & Wales: Lessons from other Jurisdictions' 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 will be presenting the results of my current research study into mediators' views on the successes and challenges of the enforced shift to online mediation following the Covid-19 pandemic in Spring 2022 and writing this up for publication thereafter.

I am also an external examiner at the University of Bolton and BPP University and am a member of the Association of Law Teachers, the Society of Legal Scholars and the Socio-Legal Studies Association.



Teaching and supervision

LLB (Hons) Law
I am module leader for Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation at Stage 2, in addition to supervising undergraduate dissertation projects. I have also developed and am delivering our new stage 3 module, Wills and the Administration of Estates which commences in 2022.

LLM Legal Practice LPC
I am module leader for our 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 primary areas of research interest are:

  • Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation/English Civil Justice System
  • Wills and Administration of Estates
  • Legal Education

Research

My research largely focuses on access to justice for litigants within the civil justice system. My PhD, entitled 'Optimising the Development and Implementation of an Online Dispute Resolution System for Low Value Civil Claims in England & Wales: Lessons from other Jurisdictions' is a comparative study on the development and use of ODR systems in British Columbia and the Netherlands with a view to providing a series of recommendations to optimise the implementation of HMCTS's civil court modernisation programme.

Independent of my PhD, I have also just commenced a project which aims to gather and analyse mediators' views on the successes and challenges of the enforced shift to online mediation following the Covid-19 pandemic, the data for which I am intending on presenting and writing up for publication in spring 2022.

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Litigation
  • Access to Justice
  • Court Modernisation
  • Wills and Administration of Estates 

Last updated 30 September 2021