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Case Study

Ian Rutland

Durham, UK

LLB (Hons) Law with Integrated Foundation Year


Ian Rutland intended to spend his retirement relaxing and enjoying some of the coffee shops Durham had to offer. After chatting to some of the local students and hearing their engaging stories about legal concepts and issues, Ian decided after exploring numerous options, to study law at the University of Sunderland.

Sunderland appealed more to me than the others due to the Integrated Foundation Year in Law and Social Science. I was concerned not being in an educational environment for over 35 years, I would struggle with the academic work. I had lost confidence in myself due to health issues, and a severe childhood speech impediment returned. Following discussions with the University about my concerns, and the support I would need, I decided to enroll.

I always found the subject of law engaging, mainly how it constantly develops to meet the needs of our changing society. The law allows society to maintain a process of social order which impacts us all. Gaining my law degree will help me share my enthusiasm for the subject and significantly help to resolve these struggles.

Working in the Sunderland Student Law Clinic has been the highlight of my four years at university. It provided me with the opportunity to put the theory of law into practice. It was also an opportunity to witness directly how my degree can help the lives of others. I am grateful to the clinic staff for helping me develop the skills to take forward in whatever career I choose following university.

In June 2020, I received the Sunderland University Professional Silver Award, which recognises skills and experiences gained in activities outside of the lecture theatre. The award recognised my voluntary work as an appropriate adult safeguarding the interests of those suspected of committing criminal offences, ensuring they effectively participated in their detention process. I want to develop this interest further by completing a postgraduate qualification, and eventually working as a legal representative defending vulnerable individuals in police custody and the courts.

Studying at the University of Sunderland has been the most rewarding experience in my life. The law school is at the St. Peter’s campus on the river's edge, providing an inspiring and tranquil environment to learn. The academic staff go above and beyond to help you to be successful. The extensive network of support staff are there to deal with any personal issues you have. As a disabled mature student, I valued the constant help provided.

I graduated with a first-class degree and was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the University of Sunderland Law Clinic Prize.’ If I can achieve this at the age of 60, then no matter what age you are, I am sure you can."

Published 4 October 2021

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