Stella was awarded her LLB from University College London in 1995. Following a varied career in education and training in psychotherapy studies, Stella returned to Law. She obtained her LLM in Law and Society in 2012 and was awarded a PhD in Law in 2017.

Her thesis, The Queer, the Cross and the Closet: a critique of rights discourse in the conflict between religion and sexual orientation, draws on insights from Queer theory to argue that religious conscientious objection to equality law limits the citizenship of non-heterosexuals.

Research and scholarship

Stella is the lead for the Legal Education, Innovation and Practice research cluster and is the Deputy Editor of the Keele Law Review. Her research interests include: legal education; staff and student wellbeing; the conflict between religion and sexual orientation; and the relationship between rights, law, and morality.

Stella is particularly interested in using insights from psychotherapy studies to inform the development of legal education. Her current research, ‘Shame and the Law School: Observation, Relationship, and the Developing Self’ draws on her training as a psychotherapist and her work in a University counselling service. Stella is also researching how students can use reflection to support their holistic learning and development.

Stella supervises a PhD candidate, Aysha Mazhar, who is researching compassion in legal education.



  • Legal Essentials (module lead)
  • Law and Ethics (module lead)
  • Dissertations and ISPs (module lead)
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Gender, Sexuality and Law


  • Law and Society LLM
  • Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice MA
  • Medical Ethics and Law MA
  • Safeguarding Adults: Law, Policy and Practice MA


Recent Publications

  • Coyle, S and Gibbons-Jones, H (2022) ‘“Make Glorious Mistakes!”: Fostering growth and wellbeing in HE transition’ in The Law Teacher Special Edition: Legal Education for Well-Being: Design, Delivery and Evaluation
  • Coyle, S (2021) ‘The Queer, the cross and the closet: religious exceptions in equality law as state-sponsored homophobia’ in A Zanghellini & K Gleeson (eds), Laws Special Issue: Normativities of Sex. Laws 2021, 10(43), 83
  • Coyle, S (2021) ‘“It’s OK not to be OK”: Using Mentimeter to Engage First Year Law Students in their Wellbeing’, Journal of Academic Development and Education 13, November 2021
  • Coyle, S (2021) ‘Human Rights and the Rule of Law’ in K Dzehtsiarou, S Falcetta, D Giannoulopoulos & P Johnson (eds) Human Rights in Action: Assessing the Positive Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 in the UK, Submission to the Independent Human Rights Act Review, March 2021

Forthcoming (2022)

  • Coyle, S (2022) ‘You can’t have your cake: conscience, rights and citizenship through a Queer lens’, Keele Law Review Special Issue
  • Coyle, S (2022) ‘ Assessing the (Legal) Essentials: A reflection through the prism of self-determination theory’, Journal of Academic Development and Education
  • Coyle, S (2022) ‘Legal Essentials: supporting transition into the Law School community’ in J Guth & J McCloy (eds), Empowering Law Students

Previous Publications

  • Nehushtan, Y and Coyle, S (2019) ‘Tolerating Conscientious Objection: The Difference between Illegitimate Values and Misguided Values’ in J Adenitire (ed), Religious Beliefs and Conscientious Exemptions in a Liberal State (Hart, 2019)
  • Coyle, S (2018) ‘Gay conversion therapy: proposed ban is a positive step but the battle remains to be won’ The Conversation July 4, 2018
  • Nehushtan, Y and Coyle, S (2018) ‘Ashers Baking (Part 1): The Supreme Court’s Betrayal of Liberalism and Equality’, UK Constitutional Law Association 5.11.18
  • Nehushtan, Y and Coyle, S (2018) ‘Ashers Baking (Part 2): ‘Do Homophobes and Racists have a Right Not to Manifest Liberal Messages?’, UK Constitutional Law Association 6.11.18
  • Coyle, S (2018) ‘What makes good teaching?’ Journal of Academic Development and Education (9) ISSN 2051-3593
  • Coyle, S (2015) ‘Law, Religion and Homosexuality’ Feminist Legal Studies (2015) 23: 111–115

Presentations and conferences


  • June 2022: 'Feeling Law: Emotion and Relationship in Legal Education – Theory, Practice, and Design’.
  • December 2021: ‘Assessment and Feedback: A Symposium’.

Invited speaker

  • June 2021 Advancing Wellbeing in Law Digital Conversation: ‘Shame and the Law School: Observation, Relationship, and the Developing Self’
  • July 2020 Connecting Legal Education Series: ‘”It’s OK Not to be OK”: Using Mentimeter to Engage First Year Law Students in Wellbeing Awareness’
  • January 2020 Legal Education Research Network (with Hannah Gibbons-Jones): ‘Creating trust at the beginning of the HE journey’.

Conferences and other events

  • April 2022: Association of Law Teachers Conference, Manchester University: ‘Assessing the (Legal) Essentials: A Reflection through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory’.
  • April 2022: Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference, York University: ‘Shame in the Law School: Observation, Relationship, and the Developing Self’.
  • January 2022: Keele Education Conference: ‘Assessing the (Legal) Essentials: A Reflection’.
  • March 2021 Association of Law Teachers Conference, Aston University: ‘“Make Glorious Mistakes!”: Legal Essentials and HE Transition’
  • March 2018 SLSA conference, Bristol University: ‘Religion and sexual orientation: conscience, class and citizenship’
  • June 2017 A moment in time? Gender, Sexuality & Law Symposium, Keele University: ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’
  • July 2015 Thinking Gender and Sexuality in the 21st Century, Durham University: ‘Equality Law: Hierarchy of Rights or Hierarchy of Sexuality?’
  • May 2014 Postgraduate Symposium, Keele University: ‘God and My Right: Religion, Sexual Orientation and Equality Law’
  • Stella has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, teaching students of British Society & Culture about the English legal system.

School of Law
Keele University
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