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Elizabeth Smart

Professor Elizabeth Smart LLB., LLM., Executive MBA

Head of Law


I am a Professor of Legal Education and Head of Law at Sheffield Hallam University.  I am also the Managing Director of SHU Law Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of SHU.  I am a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and I also sit on the Solicitors' Regulation Authority Board and am a member of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Independent Ethics Panel.  I am a national consultant to the police working in forces areas nationwide particularly around equality and diversity.   I am a practising solicitor with over 21 years experience particularly in criminal litigation and criminal appeals.


I am currently Head of Law at Sheffield Hallam University which received national recognition as Legal Education Provider of the Year 2017 at the Solicitors' Journal Awards.    I created SHU Law which is a living and breathing law firm for all students to study in in each year of their degree.   I am a practising solicitor and was recently appointed to sit on the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority Board.  I am also a member of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Independent Ethics panel.  I was a member of the Teaching Excellence (TEF) Business and Law Subject Panel and act as a consultant to various police forces nationally. Recognised as a National Teaching Fellow in 2016 and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015 I endeavour to create the best legal education possible with a particular focus on clinical legal education inspiring students academically and emotionally with the confidence to succeed.  I create flexible, dynamic clinical learning environments which are reflective of real life practice seeking out opportunities for students to enhance their employability and graduate attributes.  I inspire my students with my enthusiasm and possesses and outstanding aptitude in my chosen career. I create a distinctive cutting edge to my curriculum design and the work of my team in the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice has received national recognition as Highly Commended in the Access to Justice Awards 2016.  I helped establish and grow The Sheffield Hallam Court Help Desk which was Highly Commended in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2014 and awarded the Faculty Excellence Team Award 2016.

Specialist areas of interest

Elizabeth delivers modules in criminal law and clinical legal education modules such as The Law Clinic.

She is particularly interested in police station work and the continuing conflict of interest between ensuring that justice is done and acting in a client's best interest. Bringing together police investigative skills and active defence principles is challenging but the ability to view a situation from both perspectives provides opportunities to identify areas of best practice and relevant legal skills which can be used to assist both sides.

Criminal law in theory and criminal law in practice can sometimes vary widely; current government legislation and the current economic climate make criminal practice very challenging and recent additional cuts to legal aid to some extent has dealt a fatal blow to the criminal bar.

The availability of court representation for all look sets to be a thing of the past and the courts may see a significant increase in the numbers of litigants in person. What strategies they will adopt to deal with this is an interesting area of development both in the criminal and civil courts.

She is currently studying for an Executive MBA and has been involved in collating empirical research into the student experience and what factors influence student choice the most. A recent consultancy project undertaken on behalf of the University produced interesting results which should inform the strategic development of the University in the changing face of legal education and the different educational pathways which look set to open up following the production of the Legal Education Training Review which is due to report later this year.


Department Of Law and Criminology

College of Social Sciences and Arts


Human Rights. Foundations Course Manual. Oxford University Press.

Other activities

Solicitors' Regulation Authority Board member and Independent Ethics Panel member Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire.

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