Meet the Law Fellows

Catherine Barnard

Catherine Barnard
Catherine Barnard

Catherine is a specialist in the Law of the European Union and Labour Law. If you become a student at Trinity, she will teach you in your final year of study as EU Law is a compulsory subject for those wishing to graduate with a degree that will let you practise Law in England and Wales. It’s a foundational subject because it is so important to our present and our future. There are some comically bad examples of things the EU has done, such as fruit having to be certain shapes or sizes to be sold. But there are far more examples of things the EU has done which make your life better: reduced roaming tariffs on your mobile phone, cheap(er) flights with the low-cost carriers, even ensuring that you get fine café latte for your breakfast. Studying EU law will explain how.

Louise Merrett

Louise Merrett
Louise Merrett

Louise brings a wealth of experience at the bar to her academic work, specialising in subjects related to international business. Louise teaches the second year subject of Contract Law, a compulsory subject, as well as Commercial Law and Conflicts of Laws which are subjects students can choose to take in their third year. Louise’s main research interests lie in the field of conflict of laws, also known as Private International Law. Given that trade, employment, regulation, and all sorts of commercial transactions now take place globally, rather than simply within one country, rules are needed to tell us which law applies to govern the relationship and where any disputes between the parties should be resolved. This is what the subject of private international law deals with.

For example, let’s think about Bianca, who gets a job working for Charles. Bianca is from Denmark and Charles is from England. Bianca is employed to drive a lorry around Europe, especially in France. In Denmark, Bianca is a member of a Trades Union which protects certain rights, such as coverage for dental treatment. Charles’ company is based in England, where he has arranged different deals with the Trades Unions than the deals in Denmark, for instance, he gives much more medical benefits but much lower dental benefits. Before we work out what Charles should be able to do, which law should decide the outcome? Danish, English? French? A little of one and some of the other? Who is entitled to say that their decisions on benefits are right, and someone else’s wrong? In which court should any dispute be heard? Conflicts of Laws is an area of study to help us to solve questions like that fairly.

Jo Miles

Jo Miles
Jo Miles

Jo teaches Trinity students Criminal Law in their first year and, if they wish, the optional subject of Family Law to second and third years. Jo’s main research concerns the legal regulation of adult relationships, family property law and financial remedies on relationship breakdown and death; she also works on issues relating to access to justice, in light of current legal aid reforms which will make it harder for people to access legal advice and representation. She has been involved in law reform projects, having spent two years working for the Law Commission in the team which made recommendations for reform of the law relating to the financial situation of unmarried couples when their relationships end. This socially and politically controversial project attracted a lot of media attention, especially from the Daily Mail, and while reform of the law to protect those who are left vulnerable in these cases remains far off, the topic continues to generate fierce debate.  A lot of Jo’s research is empirical: going out into the real world to observe how the law operates in practice (surprisingly often, not as the law maker intended!), trying to understand why people act as they do in relation to their legal problems, and to gauge public attitudes about the law and law reform. This sort of work is very enriching of legal study, helping us to put the law as it appears “on the books” into perspective. She has good connections with the legal professions, and is an academic member of one of the leading family law barristers’ chambers in London.

Benjamin Spagnolo

Benjamin Spagnolo
Benjamin Spagnolo

Ben teaches the compulsory first-year papers in Constitutional Law and Civil Law I (Roman law), introducing students to the fundamentals of public and private law reasoning, as well as the optional paper in Administrative Law.  The reach of public law is changing constantly, and its distinctive principles and techniques for regulating the relationship between individuals and the state are evolving rapidly: this is a fascinating time to engage with the United Kingdom constitution. The institutions of Roman private law, refined over the course of a thousand years of sophisticated practical and principled juristic thinking, continue to shape the discourse and doctrines of the Western legal tradition. Studying Roman law offers insight into the conceptual structure and argumentative methods of the law governing relations between individuals; it not only exposes us to new and different concepts and alternative solutions to problems but also facilitates a better understanding of our own law.

Like his teaching, Ben’s research interests span public law and Roman law, as well as connected aspects of legal philosophy and legal history. Ben is also interested in methods of legal education and, in particular, in mooting. He will take you for a crash-course in reading, writing and thinking like a lawyer in your first term and he takes an active role in several mooting competitions – contests that simulate an appeal hearing, in which participants analyse a problem, research the relevant law, prepare brief written submissions, and present oral argument.

Sarah Worthington

Sarah Worthington
Sarah Worthington

Sarah is a specialist in commercial equity and corporate law.  She will teach you Equity in your final year, and also Company Law if you choose to take that option.  Equity is one of the foundational subjects for legal practice, and is taken in the final year since it is a subject which spreads its tentacles through all aspects of English law, influencing the legal rules which regulate contracts, civil wrongs, land law and personal property. The rules of equity are frequently called into play in resolving some of the most challenging aspects of the laws governing both commercial and domestic relationships.  Sarah’s particular research interests are in secured financing (collapse of Lehman Bros-type issues) and corporate governance.  She practised as a barrister for a short time, and retains a role as an academic member of chambers.