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Laurence Etherington



Dr Laurence Etherington
LLB (Warw), Solicitor, PhD (Nottingham Trent)

Senior Lecturer & Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

I joined York Law School in 2007.

Prior to this I worked at Nottingham Trent University, as Research Associate (1996-2000), Research Fellow (2000-2002), Senior Lecturer (2002-2007), then Reader in Environmental Law (2007). Prior to my academic career, I trained as a solicitor and practised within the commercial development field before studying for a Ph.D. researching Contaminated Land.



  • The legal profession
  • The regulation of contaminated land and related liability issues
  • Environmental law & policy
  • Environmental law & history


  • Widening Participation and Law School Admissions

This work was undertaken in partnership with the Bridge Group, with support from Clifford Chance LLP. It comprises quantitative and qualitative analysis of student populations and admissions processes at a number of Law Schools. The report includes data and findings on diversity within those populations and on the admissions practices followed, with recommendations as to means of increasing social diversity.The research was reported in the press, including the Law Society Gazette (at:"

  • Graduate Recruitment of trainee solicitors

This project considered the recruitment process for solicitor training contracts and the assessment of skills, qualities and attributes of candidates. The particular focus was the extent to which graduate recruiters sought evidence of ‘commercial awareness’ and ‘professionalism & ethics’ in their processes, together with student perceptions of this and how such processes may inform the construction of professional identities. The research has been published as a paper in Legal Ethics.

  • Pollution of Churches

This project explored the canon law ‘regulation’ of pollution of churches, focusing mainly on medieval notions of such ‘pollution’ and the processes used for preventing and remediating and this, together with broader enforcement mechanisms. Whilst the conception of such ‘pollution’ in primarily spiritual terms may be very different, there are many resonances with contemporary issues in environmental law and regulation. The research has been published as a paper in Legal Studies.’”


Selected publications

  • Bridge Group and York Law School (2020) Admissions to selective UK law schools (Bridge Group), available at:
  • Etherington, L., ‘Public Professions and Private Practices': access to the solicitors' profession in the 21st Century, Legal Ethics, 19, 2016, 5-29.
  • Etherington, L., Canons of Environmental Law: Pollution of Churches and the Regulation of the Medieval 'Environment, Legal Studies, 36, 2016, 566-590.
  • Etherington, L (2012) ‘Statutory Nuisance and ‘Hybrid Orders’: ‘True Crime’ Stories?’ Statute Law Review 33 (3), pp.390-408'
  • Etherington, L and Bell, S (2010) Exploring Liability and the Polluter Pays Principle (DEFRA Project Research and Support for Developing a UK Strategy for Managing Contaminated Sediments (ME 1104)), available at:
  • Bell, S and Etherington, L (2009) ‘(Re)connecting the Global and Local: Europe’s Regional Seas’ Journal of Law & Society 36(1), pp. 75-93
  • Cooper, P, Etherington, L, Bell, S, Farmer, and Williams, J (2008) ‘Socio-Economic Scenarios of European Development and Integrated Management of the Marine Environment University of Bath School of Management Working Paper Series 2008.08 (available at:
  • Tromans, S and Turrall-Clarke, R(2008) Contaminated Land (2nd Edition) (Sweet & Maxwell) (Contributor)
  • Bell, S and Etherington, L (2007) ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A Study of the Transposition and Implementation of the Groundwater Directive in the United Kingdom’ Environmental Law Review 9(1), pp. 6-24
  • Etherington, L and Lee, R (2007) ‘Ethical Codes and Cultural Context: Ensuring Legal Ethics in the Global Law Firm’ Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 14(1), pp. 95-118
  • Etherington L (2006) ‘Digging Beneath the Surface: Transposition, Implementation and Evaluation of European Environmental Law’ Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 8(2), pp. 107-133
  • Etherington, L (2002) ‘’Mandatory Guidance’ for dealing with Contaminated Land: Paradox or Pragmatism?’ Statute Law Review 23(3), pp. 203-226
  • Etherington, L (2002) ‘Transposing and implementing European environmental legislation - the case of the Shellfish Waters Directive’ [2002] Water Law 13(1), pp.5-13

External activities


  • The Law Society
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Society for Legal Scholars

Editorial duties

  • Joint Editor, Environmental Law Reports (Sweet & Maxwell) 
  • Joint Editor, Environmental Law Bulletin (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Consultant Editor, Encyclopedia of Environmental Law (Sweet & Maxwell)



  • Professionalism & Ethics (Module Leader)
  • Law & the Business Environment (Module Leader)
  • Legal Skills

Contact details

Dr Laurence Etherington
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5804