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Toni Spencer


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Principal Lecturer in Law

I joined the University in 2019 after nearly 20 years in legal practice, starting my career as an office junior with a small property firm in Newcastle. I then undertook my legal education on a part-time basis and qualified as a solicitor in 2011.

Over the next few years, I was unsure which area of law I wished to specialise in as I had spent most of my career to that point working in property law. I was fortunate enough to be able to experience different practice areas at several well-known law firms across North and South Tyneside. I spent time working in family law where I represented parents and carers facing removal of their children from their care under Public Law Proceedings and time working within criminal law where I was able to undertake further training to obtain my Police Station Accreditation. This also allowed me to expand on my advocacy experience in different courts.

I joined the University in 2019 as an Academic Tutor and Clinic Supervisor and in 2022 I was promoted to Clinic Director in the Sunderland Student Law Clinic, a role which I take great pride in and allows me to pass on my 20+ years of experience in private practice to our law students. My aim is for students to leave the University with an understanding of what may be expected of them in legal practice, but more importantly that they have a sense of pride in the work they complete while they are working in the Law Clinic as what may be a very small issue to them could potentially be life-changing for the clients they represent. 



Teaching and supervision

I am module leader on the following modules:

  • Land Law (LAW272)
  • Property Law and Practice (LAWM72)
  • Sunderland Student Law Clinic (LAW340)
  • Advanced Legal Practice (LAWM70)


I am also Personal Academic Tutor for a number of students across the law degree. 

Research interests for potential research students

My area of expertise lies with land law and all matters relating to residential properties, including legal and equitable interests in land, third-party rights in land, disputes and cohabitation. I also have a strong interest in socio-legal issues, including possible reform of and all matters relating to the Equality Act 2010.
  • Land Law
  • Property Law
  • Clinical Legal Education

I am the Mental Health Champion for the Law School and a mental health first aider. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I have also published a revision book based on the SQE for the topic of Land Law.

Last updated 16 November 2022