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Develop a deeper understanding of law - Q&A with our MA Director

Press release issued: 26 November 2021

Dr Philippa Collins, Director of our MA in Law programme and Lecturer in Labour Law and Human Rights, spoke to us about what it is like to study at a top 10 UK Law School, its supportive learning community and why taking a two-year degree can help develop a deeper understanding of law.

What is your role at the Law School?

I am the Programme Director for the MA in Law. This role means that I get to promote the programme, as well as work closely with our MA students once they arrive in Bristol. Along with the rest of the Postgraduate team, I welcome students to the Law School when they first arrive and, during their first year, I teach on the Land Law course so get to know the group well. I work with my colleagues who run the MA units to ensure that our students have a great experience on the programme, and we use forums like the Staff Student Liaison Committee to engage with feedback from the students and to make sure that we are providing the best course possible for those who choose to join us at Bristol. 

What are your main research interests and how do these feed into the postgraduate curriculum?

My main research interests are in human rights, with a particular focus on the world of work. Whilst teaching the first year Land Law unit on the MA, I draw on human rights frameworks to guide our discussions regarding the potential conflict between the right to property, the right to your family home and other fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of association and to expression and protest.

My research on the world of work feeds into the PGT curriculum in two ways. I convene a unit called Individual Employment Rights, where we discuss issues including the relationship between employment law and human rights law and whether employment law is capable of regulating the work of the future. PGT students can also elect to do a research project with me where we work together during the year to frame fascinating research questions and I support them in developing their legal research and writing skills.

This year, my research project students have begun to investigate a range of timely and interesting questions such as the employment regulation of children in the entertainment industry, the question of whether our law protects the fundamental right to strike effectively and what employment law has to say about the use of algorithms to manage people at work. I relish the opportunity to work with our students in these three different aspects of my teaching as every year I know that our discussions will raise a new point for me to think about or a different perspective on familiar materials.

If you could describe the learning community in the Law School in three words, what would they be?

Passionate, engaged and supportive. 

What is your favourite part of working/living in Bristol?

I'm quite new to the city of Bristol so I am very much enjoying exploring everything that it has to offer! So far, the food has been a real highlight, and seeing new areas of the city. Luckily for me, the area around the Wills Memorial Building (where my office is) is both beautiful and has some great food offerings - a perfect combination. I can grab delicious pizza from across the road and eat it whilst looking through the amazing stained glass windows of the Wills Building. As a real law geek, one of my first priorities was to explore our Law Library which is a stunning space and great to work in. It is peaceful but at the same time has a buzz of productivity and our Library staff are so helpful - they can even explain its layout to a geographically-challenged member of staff like myself. 

If you had one piece of advice for students applying for the MA in Law course, what would it be? 

Think about why you want to do this particular course and why at University of Bristol Law School. From my perspective, a two-year graduate Law course has a couple of significant benefits: more time to develop your understanding of the law and legal methods; a chance to explore a particular specialism in the form of your second year optional unit; and an opportunity to meet a group of graduate students from different disciplines who are similarly motivated and interested in developing that deeper understanding of our discipline. At Bristol, you'll be taught by excellent scholars who are keen to go on that journey with you and your learning will be in the context of a research-intensive university, with lots of events going on that will connect you to academia, legal practice and further afield. 

Further information

If you have questions about our Postgraduate programmes, including our MA in Law, join our next virtual event on 8 December 2021.

Registration is free and you will have the opportunity to speak with law academics, students and our Law Employability Adviser. Follow the links below to book your place:


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