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  4. Perceptions of Wellbeing in Law Teachers and Students




Perceptions of Wellbeing in Law Teachers and Students



The Society of Legal Scholars, The City Law School and the University of Portsmouth present a workshop hosted by the Professional Ethics Forum and Legal Education Forum of City’s Centre for the Study of Legal Professional Practice at City, University of London, Gray’s Inn campus. The workshop will take place in room 24, 2-10 Princeton St, London WC1R 4BH.


Professor Paula Baron, La Trobe University, Australia
Professor Nigel Duncan, City, University of London, UK
Dr Colin James, Australia National University
Caroline Strevens, University of Portsmouth, UK
Dr Clare Wilson, University of Portsmouth, UK

The aim of this workshop is to bring together academics from UK and Australia with research expertise in wellbeing, professional identity and ethics to evaluate and discuss the most recent research findings on wellbeing in both legal academics and law students. Australia is ahead of the UK in recognising the need to discuss, research and address mental health of staff and students using principles of positive psychology (Baron, 2007; Field, Duffy, and Huggins, 2015). Legal academics should understand and manage their own psychological wellbeing if they are to support wellbeing in their students.

Research into wellbeing and distress in law students has been conducted, yet few studies have explored the expectations of academic staff in dealing with stressed students. Indeed, substantially less attention has been paid to the wellbeing of those staff.  The only empirical research to date relates to a UK Law Teachers survey (185 respondents, funded by LERN). Although most respondents reported depression, anxiety and stress levels within the normal range, those who reported high stress levels were significantly more likely to report lower ‘hope’ scores, as well as significantly less environmental mastery and self-acceptance.  The open-ended questions revealed that the majority of law teachers reported a stronger ability to perceive both stress and wellbeing in their students than in themselves and that stress was more commonly associated with work, and wellbeing with family and friends.

Student mental health and wellbeing has become a growing concern in the UK.

The need for the curriculum to be underpinned by principles of positive psychology, including self-determination theory, is signalled by the current research from Australia into law student psychological distress and subjective wellbeing and justified by the broad similarities in the context of legal education between Australia and England and Wales. The new 2015 Law benchmark statement, which describes a Law student’s skills and qualities of mind including “self-management”, provides an ideal opportunity for this to be achieved in the UK (Strevens and Wilson, 2016).

This workshop will be led by prominent academics from Australia and the UK and will provide an environment for exchange of research findings and expertise with participants, and will lead to a research output.

Provisional Programme

10.00 Introduction
10.15 Research findings from the LERN funded UK perceptions of Wellbeing     in Law Teacher and launch of new Australian / UK survey
11.15 Coffee break
11.30 Recent research findings from Australia: what are Australian Law   Schools doing?
12.30 Lunch
13.30 UK research on wellbeing in Law students
14.30 Tea break
14.45 Discussion: emerging themes, international collaborations, starting a research project, outputs.
16.00 Reminder of Interdisciplinary wellbeing workshop June 2017


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When & where

10.00am - 4.00pmWednesday 5th April 2017

Princeton Street City, University of London 2-10 Princeton Street London WC1R 4BH United Kingdom

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