Mrs Rachel Nir

Reader in Legal Education and Inclusion

School of Law and Social Science

Harris Building, HB203

+44 (0) 1772 89 3945

Rachel joined the the School of Law and Social Science in 1999 having worked as a litigator and regulatory lawyer in the City. Her key interest is in human rights and diversity. She was appointed to the Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee in 2013 as one of only two academics selected for this role. In her role as a Reader in Teaching and Learning, she specialises both in projects designed to drive forwards inclusive education pedagogy and also those aimed at helping students overcome career barriers in the legal profession.

Full Profile

The key driver to Rachel’s work at UCLan is around ensuring fair access to employment opportunities for law students. Despite a widening participation agenda in Higher Education, much of the legal profession remains elitist in its recruitment practices: students face structural disadvantages when seeking entry to the profession. Rachel’s teaching methods and curriculum design, teaching and learning projects for the School of Law and Social Science  and her external activities at national level are targeted at improving student social mobility and enabling law students to achieve their potential. Her project work with co-researcher Tina McKee has been nationally recognised as innovative and sector-leading.

Rachel wrote an article for The Conversation in April 2020 about the legal issues around shortages of PPE during COVID19.


  • LLM by Research: Combat immunity: does the law strike a justifiable balance between the state’s protection of its self-declared definition of national security and the customary rights of the individual soldier, UCLan, 2008
  • Law Society Finals, Nottingham Trent University,1989
  • LLB 2:1 Nottingham University, 1988



… McKee T, Nir R, Alexander J, Griffiths E, Hervey T ‘The Fairness Project: doing what we can, where we are’ Journal of International and Comparative Law, Special Education Issue Spring 2018

External Affiliations

  • Law Society: member of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Member of the Society for Research in Higher Education
  • Member of Legal Education Research Network (‘LERN’)
  • Member of Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Association of Law Teachers
  • Member of the International Diversity in Communities, Organisations and Nations network

Teaching activities

  • Human Rights and Skills teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • Law Foundation ( Access)  Course Leader
  • Equality and Diversity School Lead
  • Employability team
  • Law and Tech team

Membership of professional bodies

  • Solicitor of the Supreme Court (non-practising)


The Fairness project – ongoing.
A project to design materials to teach students about law careers barriers and to simultaneously raise student awareness of personal unconscious biases with a view to inspiring them to be fairer employers and managers in the future. The project has led to a formal three-way collaboration with Northumbria and Sheffield universities who are running a three-year legal education impact study to track the student benefit.

The Participation Puzzle – ongoing.
A research project, co-designed with students and aimed at promoting inclusivity, to generate empirical evidence on the reasons why some students do not actively attend and participate in their programmes of study. Project findings encompass issues such as the effect of the virtual learning environment on classroom learning; student norms vis a vis independent study as opposed to staff expectations; the levels of stress experienced by students; the correlation between attendance and attainment; the BAME attainment gap; and the role of on-going formative feedback versus traditional summative feedback.


  • ‘The Participation Puzzle: why don’t they come?’ Society of Legal Scholars, London ( 5th September 2018)
  • ‘The Participation Puzzle: a project to understand how student issues of socio-economic disadvantage and ethnic background impact upon levels of engagement, academic outcomes and traction in the graduate job market’ Higher Education Academy, Birmingham ( 4th July 2018)
  • ‘From Small Seeds…’ Eighteenth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations, Austin ( 5th June 2018)
  • ‘Brown Shoes?” Interrogating hidden inequality and diversity barriers in the graduate labour market’, SRHE International Conference on Higher Education, Newport, (5th December 2017)
  • ‘The Fairness Project: equipping students to maximise employability’, Society of Legal Scholars conference, Dublin (5th September 2017)
  • The Fairness Project: a collaborative project across three Universities equipping students to maximise their employability through tackling unfair diversity barriers in the legal profession and inspiring them to create a fairer legal profession for the future, Higher Education Academy, Manchester  ( 5th July 2017)