Meet your tutors
Congratulations on your offer to study with us! Our academics are closely involved in research to assess, inform and influence law in society, and we wanted to give you the chance to find out more.
Jed Meers is our 1st-Year Tutor. He teaches modules throughout the course, and his research focuses on social welfare.
I was a student here myself
I did my first degree at the York Law School, followed by a Masters in Social Policy. Then I returned to the Law School for my PhD. I’ve been here a ridiculously long time!
Before I came to uni, I spent a year working for a local authority. Working in housing benefit and homelessness, I saw first-hand how laws get applied in real life. The cases I studied during my undergraduate degree were similar to the issues I faced at work. It all inspired me to apply for a PhD, so I could research the issues in more depth.
My focus is on social welfare
My PhD project looked at the introduction of the controversial ‘bedroom tax’, and how the change in law was applied at a local level. Ordinary workers - not necessarily experts, not necessarily with a legal background - were being asked to make complex decisions, with potentially devastating results for struggling families.
Similar things are happening today. When the government announced a £500m hardship fund for people affected by coronavirus, people had to apply for funding at a local level, so, once again, ordinary workers were challenged to make lawful decisions in difficult circumstances.
Law is extremely messy
Ordinary people make extraordinary decisions every day. These decisions aren’t always made according to the letter of the law. As you’ll discover, even if something’s unlawful, you can’t necessarily do anything about it.
To study law, you have to look at the times when it doesn’t work smoothly. No one comes into a solicitor’s office with a straightforward case. It’s always a lot more complicated, and there’s a lot more going on.
That’s why we use problem-based learning
Each year, you’ll join a student law firm. This is a group you’ll work with on real and example cases (the problems) to discover the legal principles at play (the learning). Your firm will also have a ‘senior partner’: a member of academic staff who you can go to for advice and support.
Working on cases together gives you direct experience of putting law into practice. You’ll interact with other student firms, sometimes working alongside them, and sometimes in opposition. If you just read textbooks, you’d never get a feel for the complexity of applying laws in real life.
I run a five-week induction module at the start of 1st Year to give everyone a chance to get used to this way of working. You’ll do activities with your firm, so you get to know your fellow students and tutors.
There’s also an introduction to the English legal system to make sure everyone’s on the same page. If you haven’t done A level Law, you might see yourself at a disadvantage, but that’s not the case at all. Learning to work professionally with your firm is much more important than your level of knowledge coming into the course.
Equality before the law
We try to encourage an atmosphere of ‘respectful informality’ in the School. What that means in practice is that staff are approachable and contactable. They will listen to you like an equal - not like a superior.
Most of us are interested in law in action, which fits really well with problem-based learning, and we have a strong sense of social conscience. We want to apply the law with kindness. I think that’s a powerful value for a law school to have.