My principal legal interests follow the broad strands of my professional career closely. In the context of law, I work on a freelance basis as an independent legal consultant undertaking non-reserved legal activities (as defined by s.12 of the Legal Services Act 2007). I hold relevant academic credentials in the specialist areas in which I work, and have developed a general knowledge and familiarity with the law, having worked in and alongside law firms as a paralegal and legal consultant for more than twenty years. My legal consultancy is undertaken using the trade name West Mercia Law.
I am not a solicitor or a barrister, and my practice is not authorized or regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority or other professional legal body. In brief, my legal practice consists of the following activities:
- providing legal advice or assistance in connection with the application of the law or with any form of resolution of legal disputes;
- providing representation in connection with any matter concerning the application of the law or any form of resolution of legal disputes; and
- any activity that does not fall within one of the six reserved legal activity categories defined in s.12 of the Legal Services Act 2007, save activity of a judicial or quasi-judicial nature.
In the course of my work in education, I have gained extensive familiarity with the laws of different countries regarding the establishment and operation of higher education institutions and the granting of degrees. I have consulted in this area for many years and have assisted a number of international universities and start-up operations. I keep a close eye on legal developments in this complex area, which has become considerably more restrictive in recent decades, and also undertake legal analysis of higher education institutions and degrees in order to determine their legal status in the context of educational evaluation. The contemporary phenomena of transnational education, foreign campuses and distance learning all combine to make this an exciting and dynamic specialist area.
Another of my major interests is in canon law, which is the system of private law that governs a traditionally-organized church. This work involves both historical study of the key sources (beginning with the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions), an awareness of the development of canon law within the major denominations, and the reconciliation of historical texts and precepts with the needs of the Church today. This also embraces an awareness of the relationship of canon law to the wider contemporary legal context in matters such as safeguarding and employment law. While the larger churches have established systems of canon law and strong connections within the legal establishment, this is not the case for the smaller churches, which are generally excluded. I have drawn up canons for several of the smaller independent churches and consulted on the content of others. Through my work in this area I hope to encourage churches to adopt canonical governance as a means of organizing themselves fairly and accountably.
I also take an active interest in aspects of nobiliary law. This extends from the internal statutes and protocols whereby Royal Houses and chivalric Orders govern themselves, to an understanding of the relationship of nobiliary and chivalric designations to the legal framework both in their jurisdiction of origin and in the jurisdictions where their recipients may reside. More complex still is the question of the continuing legal rights of non-reigning Royal Houses, and those chivalric Orders whose fons honorum is no longer reigning. This also bears upon the wider question of sovereignty and its definitions in respect of international law.
General legal practice
As well as these specialist interests, I have also undertaken general legal consultancy and paralegal work, which includes drafting documents, advising on the application of law, undertaking legal research, and being a McKenzie Friend. I remain committed to undertaking a significant part of this work on a voluntary, uncompensated basis, particularly in respect of clients who cannot otherwise afford legal representation.