Claire McGourlay is a Professor of Legal Education at The University of Manchester and a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the HEA. She is the Director of External Relations at the School of Social Sciences and the Director of the Manchester Innocence Project.

Over the past five years Claire has been driving forward the integration of legal tech into the curriculum and has helped create the Justice Hub in partnership with students. Claire is also part of the Manchester Law and Technology Initiative which is an industry-academia initiative on Legal Technology and is on the Barbri advisory panel.

Claire's research interests lie in miscarriages of justice, criminal evidence and inequality.

For enquiries regarding Claire, please contact the Practice Management Team.


Presentation of academic conference papers in the UK and internationally

2019 (Invited), ‘Legal technology – what it is, are we doing it, should we being engaging with it, how does it impact our teaching?’’, OUP Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching (CELT) conference, 19th June.

2019 ‘The University of Manchester and Access to Justice, Developing Partnerships’, International Clinical Legal Education Conference, Bratislava, 13th

2018 (Invited), ‘Educating for Uncertainty: Education in Law and Criminal Justice in an Uncertain World’ Leeds School of Law Symposium, May.

2018 ‘What is Teaching Excellence?’, HEA Annual NTF Conference, March.

2016 (Invited), ‘The UK Appeal system challenges and differences’, presentation to the California Innocence Project staff and students, June.

2016 Keynote, ‘Building Academic Communities, Canterbury Christ Church University, 6th June.

2016 Keynote, Transformative Partnerships – Students as Partners in Learning and Change’, University of West London, Learning and Teaching Conference, 1st

2017 ‘Assembling Theory: Teaching, Learning and Embedding Archaeological Theory’. TAG Conference, University of Cardiff, UK. 18-20th December (With Karina Croucher).‘Joint Enterprise – Wolf Packs in Our Midst’ University of Liverpool, UK. September 2016.

2014 (Invited), ‘Re-imagining criminal law Birmingham University, Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) September.

2014 ‘The transformative circle: A 360° model empowering students through the participation and delivery of extended outreach programmes’. HEA conference, 15th

Selected other presentations of note

2022 (Invited) ‘Pedagogical Approaches to Scholarship Writing’, July 2022.

2021 ‘Innocence work, what it is, what it isn’t’- Three papers that place a spotlight on the work of innocence organisations run in conjunction with the Clinical Legal Education Organisation (CLEO) 2021 – Dr Louise Hewitt, Professor Claire McGourlay, Dr Edward Matthews.

University of Hull Teaching and Learning Conference- ‘Reflecting on the Vacation scheme During COVID 19’  June 2001.

2019 (Invited), ‘Legal Tech Skills in HE’, Sheffield Legal Hackers Event, May.

2018 (Invited), SQA, SRA panel for an SRA event in June 2018.

2017 (Invited) ‘What do we do in the UK?’ California Innocence Project, Southwestern Law School, San Diego, USA. June.

2016 Access to Justice Seminar panel member, University of Manchester 8th

2016  ‘Encouraging Creativity through Curriculum Review, University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Conference, 5th

2015  ‘Learning Lecture Tools- What Not To Do’ TELFEST conference, University of Sheffield, September.

2014 (Invited), ‘How does the Appeals System Work in the UK’, Northwestern University Center for Wrongful Convictions, USA. August.

2010 ‘The Sheffield Law Graduate’s Skills for Learning and Employability -The Student Staff Experience?’, Sheffield Learning and Teaching Conference, September, co-presented with three students.

2008 ‘Working with Campaign Groups and Victim Support Groups’ presentation to the Attorney General, 15th

2008 ‘The Big Tin Foil Hat and a Silent Movie- Technology and Enquiry-Based Approaches: The Teacher and Student Perspective’, Sheffield Inquiry Based Learning conference, September.



In Prep, ‘A Guide to Post Conviction Criminal Case Investigation’ London: Routledge.

2018, Doak J., McGourlay C., Thomas., M, Evidence in Context 5th Ed. (2018, Oxon, Routledge -Cavendish). This has been a very successful book and is now used by Police Training Units around the country and the Crown Prosecution Service. It is also used at other Universities (Durham, Nottingham Trent, Queen’s, Dundee) as the core text for Evidence. I developed a companion web site for this It is also used by barristers, most notably Mark George QC.

McGourlay and Thomas, Law Concentrate, English Legal System (2020 2nd OUP, Oxford).

2014, McGourlay, Steiner and Jefferson, Criminal Law Statutes 7th (February 2014 Pearson).

2012, McGourlay C., Evidence Statutes (2012 Oxon, 4th Routledge -Cavendish).

Academic Journal Articles

Hewitt, L., & McGourlay, C. (2021). Still Standing: Innocence work in England and Wales. The Wrongful Conviction Law Review, 2(3), 226–239. (This is a non-profit, open access, peer-reviewed international journal focusing on wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice).

2015, Green A., and McGourlay C., ‘The wolf packs in our midst and other products of criminal joint enterprise prosecutions’ J. Crim. L. 2015, 79(4), 280-297). Our article has been referenced in R v Miller [2016] HCA 30 by the High Court of Australia.

2015, McGourlay C., and Walker C,, ‘The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System’ Howard Journal Volume 54, Issue 5 December 2015.

2013, McGourlay C and Wells PJ, ‘The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System Crim. L.R. 2013.

2013, McGourlay C and Wells PJ, ‘The Ethics of Plea Bargaining’ Crim. L.R. 2013, 2, 174-175.

2011, McGourlay, C., and Quinton Smith, G., ‘The Criminal Cases Review Commission’ Hope for the Innocent? Howard Journal Vol 50 No 2 May 2011.

2006, McGourlay, C., ‘Is criminal practice impervious to logic? R v Hayter’ (2006) 10 E&P p 128 – 133.

1998, J Shapland J., Otterburn A., Canwell N., Corré C., Hagger L., “Affording Civil Justice: Report to The Law Society March 1998”, (nee Corre), p 1 – 115.

Professional Journal Articles

2004, Independent Review of the Community Legal Service: Department of Constitutional Affairs, p 1 – 64.

2002, McGourlay C., Allan C., Archer D., “Father Figures an Evaluation-Working with Fathers of children at risk.” NACRO 2002. p 1 – 65.

Community outreach and public engagement

2021-22 – Simon Fellowship – targeted research-led intervention into the recently announced 5-year plans (starting in 2022) by the Lord Chief Justice to tackle bias and the lack of diversity in the judiciary, led by Dr Quinn (SALC).

2018 – ongoing: The accomplishments of the Justice Hub emanate from a collaborative empowerment producing a dynamic relationship and effective Community of Practice where the students, academics and practitioners work together in a range of socially responsible engagements.

In 2019, when the Law School merged with the School of Social Sciences, it resulted in the Hub’s reach more than doubling from 1,316 students to over 3,000. This provided the opportunity for law students to work with other disciplines. The Hub activities have been opened to, and proved to be immensely popular with, students from disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and economics students working with lawyers on schemes such as providing advice in the civil courts.

Since 2018-2022, 300 first year undergraduate students have been trained as volunteer receptionists; over 900 students have been trained as student advisors and over 200 students were involved in the Free Legal Help scheme. In addition, the Hub has provided appointments to 1,100 clients since 2018 and has helped over 1,700 clients in family and immigration matters since September 2017. The students are also currently working on nine applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Students and academics currently work collaboratively with lawyers from 19 different law firms, 2 barrister’s chambers, and 1 law centre, as well as several charities.

2022: In February the Manchester Innocence Project was launched.

2020-21: Miscarriages of Justice Webinar Series – Global attendance and 10 speakers both internal and external.

Chaired and hosted the European Innocence Project Webinar – 250 global delegates.

2021: Resurrected the Black Lawyers Matter Bursary with the Director of Social Responsibility. Claire is also involved with Urban Lawyers North and the Black Solicitors Network.

2018: Inside Justice presented to the public and students, November.

2019 – Hosted the Brian Banks (Innocence Project) UK film Premiere at HOME.

2018/2019 – Hosted three Miscarriages of Justice Conferences, open to the public and students.


Developed and ran ‘Discover Law’ (replaced Aim Higher). Running events for Discover Law students such as UCAS events to advise students on how to complete their UCAS forms. This helps students gain access to higher education and promotes the School of Law and University to students, parents, and teachers.

Developed ‘Discovering Law’ an annual conference that brought 130/150 teenagers and teachers from schools across the region to the School of Law each year.

Developed ‘Court in the Act’ a unique project working with South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield City Council’s Children and Young People’s Directorate as part of the Aiming Higher programme working with school children across Sheffield educating them on the role of law in society and the impact it has in their lives. The project also received £8,000 Rapid Response Research funding and £2,000 from the Faculty Widening Participation Development Fund to sustain the project.

As a result of my position as parent governor at a local secondary school, Law students worked with School of English students on a project called ‘Everyone a Writer’ this had civic engagement impact and students are worked in schools (key stage 1, 2, 3 and 4) with high social deprivation and SEN data.


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