50 Years in 50 Words

Thank you to the many Alumni who have contributed! Listed in alphabetical order are your 50 words...

"Three exciting years of law (plus the Foundation Year) led to a rewarding working life as a high street solicitor, City solicitor, law lecturer, University Professor, author of several practitioner texts and currently a Tribunal Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).  A fulfilling legal career fostered by Keele."

Professor Robert Abbey, 1966-70, American Studies and Law


"My experience of studying law and economics at Keele was generally positive - it was a long time ago (1964-1968) and including attending a course on comparative law at the Universite de Strasbourg in France.  I am still doing economic consultancy and currently working on the interface between law and economics as a fellow at the Centre for Energy, the Environment and Natural resource governance (C-EENRG) at the University of Cambridge."

Colin Barnes MA PhD


"That's not the question". Michael Whincup in FY inspired me to do law as a degree. A great lecturer. I can still remember a view he expressed about referenda which is very relevant as we enter euro exit vote.

Andrew Brian, 1982-1986 Law and History


Memories of Keele - Great colleagues. Jenny McKewan and Freda Manwairing were so welcoming, convinced me Keele was the right place. Two Michaels, Whincup and Haley - dedicated teachers, no time for 'authority', typical of Keele. Michael Whincup's annual student party epitomised Keele. First appointments memorable - Margaret Hollins, great support and department manager. Examining her PhD the previous year probably helped us attract Sally Wheeler. Getting Jo Shaw took a bit more persuasion. Had to persuade Brian Fender, the VC, to pay for Carl Stychin's flight from NY, didn't know quite what Brian would make of Carl's research agenda but afterwards he simply said, make sure you persuade him. Many other excellent appointments particularly after hosting the 1992 Socio-Legal conference gave us a profile. Happy times? Actually, quite stressful being HoD!

Former Professor and Head of School, Tony Dugdale


 “My experience as a mature, part-time student with no law experience was positive from start to finish, quite unexpectedly leading to the Mills and Reeve prize for best dissertation in Medical Ethics and Law.  This is a testament to supportive, challenging supervision, which inspired me to undertake a research degree. I’m happy to provide 50 words about my experience at Keele, which I remember very fondly and proudly and which has led me to undertake a doctorate in Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “

Jonathan Fennelly-Barnwell, 2012-2014


 “I studied under the likes of Don Thompson, (eccentric but brilliant),  Michael Whincup (lovely; my Hall Warden),  and Michael Akehurst who called me “Stuart Gordon from Lithuania” in an affected  thick Scottish accent. Sadly I believe they’re all gone now – but their memory lives on! “

Stuart Gordon, 1969-1973 Law and Latin (with subsidiary Astronomy and Greek)


“Enjoyed law course immensely and my career in law in the US was a direct result of experience at Keele. Prof Thompson and Kaye were fabulous but Michael Whincup was particularly special in both his presentation of commercial law and his humanistic approach to students. I owe a lot to him.”
Mark Kalisch 1972-1975


" Studying law at Keele was more than just learning about black letter law. I was encouraged to examine the law in its social, political and ethical context which provided me with an invaluable foundation for my career as an employment lawyer advising clients in the healthcare sector. Thank you Keele!"

Sophie Lake, 2007-2010 Law

“Without the outstanding, challenging and innovative teaching I received at Keele I would not have progressed in the legal profession as far as I have. It opened doors in my mind I did not realise were there and created an intellectual panorama beyond anything I had experienced before. But then this was Philosophy !! No Law in 64 !!”
Michael Mansfield QC, History and Politics. Michael is President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and is a Professor at Law at City University.


“Law at Keele was generally fun and designed around understanding and not dull lectures regurgitated by rote! Mary Bell, Prof Thompson et al all characters in their own right and part of a vibrant faculty in the 70's where student life really was- as all thought it should be!

Barry McGovern


"Studying at Keele was an especially happy and formative time in my life. I developed values through my studies and friendships which have underpinned all that I have achieved since. I am proud to be an alumnus and am grateful for the opportunities I have had as a result of my time at Keele. I met my husband Joe Nellis - Economics Lecturer at Keele and we were married in Keele Church in 1982.  I was called to the Bar (Grays Inn) in 1984. I was appointed by the Queen as HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 2011 until 2034, the first woman to be appointed to this role in Bedfordshire in nearly 500 years!”
Helen Nellis (nee Jones), 1978-1982 Law and Psychology, MA Criminology. HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.


“When I applied (for science and history), there was no law department. Mary-Bell Cairns did have an input in constitutional law to the department of politics. The law department started with Thompson and Whincup, both inspiring teachers. They provided an additional terminal taster course in FY that attracted many applicants. Some of us also went to Strasbourg to start Droit Compare in 1966, and even wished to pursue common market law, but De Gaulle said "non".

I became a solicitor but in true Keele fashion then changed to medicine. All good fun.”

Prof. David Radstone, 1964-1968, Law and Politics. Hon. Consultant in Clinical Oncology


"Keele enabled me to start my career as a trainee solicitor at SJ Berwin & Co in London.  24 years later I am a director at national law firm Shoosmiths LLP with a good work-life balance.  Chemistry has been an extra facet when dealing with some of my scientific clients!"

Siân Sadler (Denton)1987-1900, Law and Chemistry BSc


“There is no specific word that can describe how my three years in Keele has broadened my horizon in teaching, researching and learning law. The school has taught me to be passionate in exploring research projects, the guidance provided really taught me of independence, brave and sincerity in learning law.”

Syahirah Abdul Shukor, 2005-2009, PhD

Currently, Dean, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia


“It was probably in 1968 and Michael Whincup was lecturing in contract law. With his great dry humour, he imparted one of his jokes mid-lecture, with much nasal intone and pointing to his notes he'd say "Ah, here's a sticky point. (pause) Oh no its not, … it's marmalade."

Alec Spencer 1968-1971, Law and Politics


 “When I started at Keele in 1966, I thought lawyers just went to court. The Law Department widened my horizons so much that I am losing count of the jurisdictions where I’ve worked to bring cheaper, cleaner electricity to more people – around 40! What a journey - thank you, Keele!”

Dame Fiona Woolf DBE DL.Alderman Dame Fiona Woolf DBE was the Lord Mayor of London for the year 2013/14 as the 686th Lord Mayor, and only the second woman to hold the role since 1189. She was awarded a DBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to the Legal Profession, Diversity and the City of London. She became a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London in April 2016.