I was born near Manchester, lived for many years in Sussex, and for several in Paris. I moved to Cardiff in 1993 where I now live in St Fagans. I have a degree in English from the University of York. Before qualifying as a solicitor I was a road sweeper, journalist, sometime translator and mother. I am a keen rugby follower and worked as a volunteer reporter, interviewing players at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. I love netball, still play when I can, and was at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018 for the historic England victory over Australia. I have played for the staff team each year there has been a Varsity netball match-previously for Cardiff University, where I worked for 25 years, but it is my ambition to now represent Swansea.
I enjoy acting. I have twice been part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages Project and in 2017 at Chapter Arts Centre gave the first performance of a new monologue - part of the series Reduced Womanhood - written by Michael Corbidge of the RSC. I have had a motor bike licence since my 6th form days and ride a Kawasaki W800, but am a fair weather biker, unlike my fearless husband who often commutes to Swansea on his. I am learning Italian, hoping to enhance my experience of opera - and Inspector Montalbano - and my ability to appreciate Italy.
I have a son and daughter - one a GP, and the other a sometime race horse stable jockey, now yacht rigger, actor and administrator - as well as rescue cats called Billy and Django. I obtained my personal chair at Cardiff University in respect of my work developing skills based training courses here and abroad. I joined Swansea University in 2018 to enhance the provision of learning opportunities linked to professional practice, and specifically legal skills. It is a great thrill to have new challenges at an institution which has signalled in so many ways its commitment to the training in law of people who are going to use it as a force for good in society- whether in legal professional practice or elsewhere.
Achievements within university
- Member of team which established a new professional training course (LPC).
- Successfully tendered for Cardiff University to become an assessment organisation for the new Police Station Representatives’ Accreditation Scheme (PSRAS).
- Established and managed PSRAS; designing and delivering its training and assessment.
- Successfully undertook in 1996 (with Prof. David Miers and a team from the University of the West of England) validation bid for the Bar Vocational Course. Contributed substantially to the design of the course at Cardiff. BVC leader at Cardiff University 1998 to 2002
- Designed the Professional Skills Course Advocacy modules for Lawyers Planning Services (now Kaplan). Regulated and monitored by the Law Society and still in use.
- Successfully tendered for PSRAS Test Board to provide bank of Qs and As to be used nationally by local Duty Solicitor selection committees.
- Member of national working party to design the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) for the assessment of Duty Solicitors
- Established and gained accreditation by Cardiff for CLAS.
- Established programme for assessment of the court based work of Expert Witnesses (a collaborative venture with an outside business - Bond Solon).
- Established programme for assessment of managers in industry in respect of Employment Law: a collaborative venture initially with Corus, now TATA, and in a public (largely online) version with Capital Law- solicitors.
- Addressed the (national) Bar Conference
- Member of the Lord Chancellor’s Standing Conference on Legal Education.
- External examiner for the BVC for the Inns of Court School of Law, and Northumbria University for the BPTC and LLM. First Chief External Examiner (Evidence on BVC) to the BSB.
- Selected to join working parties set up by professional bodies to create the frameworks to train practitioners.
I headed the successful bid for delivery to the Legal Services Commission and Ministry of Justice of a report on Quality Assurance for Advocates (Criminal). This combined research, innovation in advocacy assessment and quality assurance. I was asked to address the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates on this subject in 2011 and shared a platform with the recently retired Lord Chief Justice and the Chief Executive of the Law Society.
Achievements nationally and internationally
Externally, for the regulatory bodies of both arms of the profession in England and Wales, I have monitored courses, advising on advocacy training and assessment as well as standards and frameworks more generally. In December 2012 I was one of 10 Thought Leaders to comment privately on the national Legal Education and Training Review to its steering committee chairs. I have also advised on professional standards and frameworks and systems of assessment and monitoring of advocacy and police station practice in countries to which I have been invited (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Uganda, several Eastern Caribbean jurisdictions, Mexico) for this purpose. My Personal Chair was based, in respect of one key benchmark, on my work teaching advocates since 1994, and external professors recognised my having an established international reputation in this field. I was one of the experts in respect of a bid by the New York based International Legal Foundation for US government funding to promote better access to their right by detainees (pre-trial) in Tunisia. I have been consulted by Maastricht University in respect of the collaborative work to provide Europe wide norms and training regimes for those advising suspects in police stations (SUPRALAT project). I am one of the experts acknowledged in the project results.