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Academic spotlight: Dr Judith Bourne

Programme Director for Law

Dr Judith Bourne

Before working at St Mary's, I had worked at a central London university, and when I visited St Mary's for the interview I fell in love with the green, leafy and spacious campus. 

It is a great privilege to support students to overcome any issues and then watch them succeed. I always shed a tear (or two) of pride for my students at graduation...

Currently, I am editing a book on race and am embarking on a new project with the Inns of Court: ‘Race and the Legal Profession’. Part of this project involves recovering 'lost' BAME barristers' lives from the archives.

An interview with Dr Judith Bourne

Why did you choose to work at St Mary’s?

My main reason was because of its reputation for living its mission statement and values: Inclusiveness, Generosity of Spirit, Respect, and Excellence.

Before working at St Mary's, I had worked at a central London university, and when I visited St Mary's for the interview I fell in love with the green, leafy and spacious campus.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to begin a career in related industries?

My top tips would be; read everything (fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, journals etc.), start making networks and connections (use family or friends to build those links), find work experience, volunteer in your community, and practise your writing.

Which past experiences do you bring to your lecturing?

Before I joined academia, I practised as a barrister and later worked as a legal adviser to the magistrates' court, so I draw on this practical experience in my teaching and writing. Having worked in practice I expect a high standard of professionalism from my team and students.

What is your favourite part of your job?

That is a difficult question as there is so much that I enjoy about my job! It is exciting and satisfying when you teach something complicated to students and they understand it. It is also a great privilege to support students to overcome any issues and then watch them succeed. I always shed a tear (or two) of pride for my students at graduation...

Can you tell us a bit about your research?

My research focuses on equality law in three main areas: feminist law, first women lawyers, and race and the law. In 2018, I co-authored a book on Gender and the Law, which aims to introduce gender and feminist theory to students.

I also wrote a book on Helena Normanton, the first woman to make use of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. Before this legislation women were unable to practice as lawyers, which is quite shocking as it is only just over 100 years ago!

I lead a group of first women lawyers; we meet for symposia and publish widely. Currently, I am editing a book on race and am embarking on a new project with the Inns of Court: ‘Race and the Legal Profession’. Part of this project involves recovering 'lost' BAME barristers' lives from the archives.

View Judith's academic profile