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Dr Judith Bourne

Senior Lecturer - Law

Tel: 020 8240 8224

About Research Media


Judith joined the Law Programme at St Mary’s University as a lecturer in September 2013 having previously worked at London Metropolitan University for 12 years as a senior lecturer. Her teaching areas include: Land Law, Equity and Trusts and Feminist Perspectives on Law: Past and Present. Judith also supervises dissertations and helps with mooting events and the student law society.

Since joining St Mary’s she has set up the Centre for Law and Culture along with Thomas Giddens.  The Centre is a hub for fostering and actively promoting research and scholarly activity related to law and culture. Students are encouraged to participate in all Centre events, for example our annual conference. This year’s conference, ‘Change’, was attended by many national and international academics. The Centre also runs a public lecture series with guest speakers from the academic world.

Judith holds degrees from the University of Westminster (LLB (Hons) and an LLM), and a PhD from King's College, London.  She was a practicing barrister and also spent 18 months as a Legal Adviser to the Magistrates'. Previously, Judith held positions as a visiting lecturer at City University, University of Westminster and SouthBank University.

Twitter: @1919lawpioneers

University Roles:

  • Founder and Leader of First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire Symposia
  • Co-Director Centre for Law and Culture
  • Lecturer
  • Module Leader for Land Law, Equity and Trusts, Family Law and Feminist Perspectives on Law Past and Present
  • Legal Research Project Supervisor
  • Member of the MSS Research Committee

Other Roles:

  • Member of the Executive Committee of More House
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of The Women's Library
  • Ambassador for First 100 Years
  • Contributor to Women's Legal Landmarks
  • Member of international Genders and Careers in the Legal Academy
  • Member of international Legal professions Working Group


Judith is currently writing a textbook for Routledge on 'Gender and Law' with Caroline Derry.  Her other research areas include Land Law and Equity and Trusts Law.  Judith's primary interest is the legal history of the first women lawyers.  This follows from her PhD thesis on "Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women".  Normanton was the first woman to be admitted to an Inn of Court after the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 and was called to the Bar in 1922.  

Normanton would go on to be one of two first women King's Counsels and one of the few women to maintain a practice at the bar at this time.  

Judith gave a public lecture to Edge Hill University and discussed Normanton on Radio 4's Woman's Hour: 

As a result of this thesis Judith set up the 'First Women Lawyer's Symposia,' which aims to unite researchers and scholars in this area in order to both explore and record the journey of those first women lawyers. The proposed output of the symposia will be a collection of published essays examining the struggle to join the legal profession and an annual journal.


  • Forthcoming publication: Bourne, J. Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women Waterside Press 2016 (see online)
  • Bourne, J. "Calling Time at the Bar: Helena Normanton" First Women Lawyers In Great Britain and the Empire Record Vol. 1, June 2016 pp24-31
  • 2014 Bourne, J.  'Saying Farewell to Helena' ReflectED 03/2014, p.33
  • 2005 Bourne, J. and Derry, C. Women & Law Old Bailey Press, London (see online)
  • 2001 Butterworth's CPD on Domestic Violence 

Conference papers:

  • 6 September 2016 Centre for Law and Culture 3rd Annual Conference "Invisibility": "The (In)Visible Bertha Cave"
  • 29 June 2016 First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire "The Vanishing Act of Miss Bertha Cave"
  • Women's Legal Landmarks Conference (LSE): 
    • 22 June 2016 "Helena Normanton: First Woman to be admitted to an Inn of Court"
    • 23 June 2016 "Elizabeth Lane: First High Court Judge"
  • Spark 21 Annual Conference of First 100 Years (2 Nov 2015) "Where did it all begin?" (Simmons and Simmons)
  • 30 June 2015 First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire "Calling Time at the Bar: Helena Normanton"
  • 2014 Centre for Law and Culture Conference – Helena Normanton and her Representation in the Press
  • 2011 Women's History Network 2011 conference (Helena Normanton) 
  • 2008 SLS Conference – 'Women in Practice – back to their roots'
  • 2005 ERSC conference at ICBH – 'Women's current legal position'
  • 2001 SLS Glasgow -'Older women as mothers and the legal consequences' 

Conference Posters:

  • Association of Law Teachers 20-22 March 2016 "The Normanton Project"
  • Teaching and Learning Conference St. Mary's University, Twickenham, June 2016 "Student led prison teaching" 

Other Events:

  • 2016 (Invisibility), 2015 (Change), 2014 (Visualising Law and Gender) Co-organiser of the Centre for Law and Culture Annual Conference
  • 2015 Devised and led student-led teaching "Normanton Project" at HMP Coldingley
  • 2015 Lecture on 'Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women' Buckinghamshire New University
  • 2014 (November) 'Situating Shelia Kaye Smith: Women's progression to the professions', Public Lecture to the Shelia Kaye Smith Society, Hastings 
  • 2005 Women's Library Lecture on Helena Normanton
  • 2002 Contributed to the opening of the Women's Library exhibition

In the news

St Mary’s University Student Trip to the Supreme Court

St Mary’s Academic Co-authors Law Textbook

Dr Judith Bourne, Senior Lecturer in Land and Equity and Trusts Law at St Mary’s University, Twickenham has recently co-authored Law textbook Gender and the Law. Find out more...

Anarchy is the Theme for St Mary’s Centre for Law and Culture Conference 2017

St Mary’s Centre for Law and Culture facilitated a topical discussion on the significance of anarchy in relation to law, culture, and theory. Find out more...

Events Exploring Journeys of First Women Lawyers Hosted on St Mary’s Campus

St Mary's held events exploring the journeys of first women lawyers. Find out more...

St Mary’s University Law Workshop joined by Visiting Practitioner Reena Ghai

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our Communications and Public Engagement Manager, Sam Yarnold, by emailling or calling 020 8240 8262.