UCL Faculty of Laws


Robert Marsh, UCL Laws Dean’s Scholarship

Robert Marsh

Programme, and year of study: LLM in Law and Social Justice
Where you are from: Originally from Dewsbury, Yorkshire; previously lived in Oxford, UK
Scholarship received: UCL Laws Dean’s Scholarship

Why did you choose to apply to study at UCL Laws?
I wanted to continue studying law, but in a new environment. I was excited to broaden my knowledge into new areas of law that I hadn’t studied before - such as international law – and gain new insights into areas of existing knowledge. The flexibility of the LLM programme offered at UCL Laws really appealed to me. I could choose from a range of full and half modules with different methods of assessment, and I liked how the Research Essay was integrated into the programme as I was keen to take on the new challenge of an extended research project.

What are your favourite things about studying at UCL Laws?
I really enjoy my weekly seminars. The tutors are very passionate about their field of expertise and make seminars engaging, and I enjoy class discussions and listening to other people's ideas.

I like how integrated the UCL Centre for Access to Justice is within the Faculty - there are lots of exciting events and opportunities to get involved with. I’ve attended some of the talks organised by the Centre, including a talk with two death penalty exonerees (‘Exonerated from Death Row - an audience with Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle’). The talk was incredibly moving as we learned about the speakers’ differing experiences of Death Row, and how they are now using their past to support other exonerees who face unique struggles in navigating the world.  Staff in the Faculty actively encourage students to take part in these extra-curricular activities which I think creates a more positive learning environment.

I am a first generation student raised in a family with no track record of university education. I have found UCL Laws to be an inclusive place where you have the chance to meet and study alongside an incredibly diverse range of people from different backgrounds and countries all over the world – it doesn’t matter where you come from; there is a place for you here.

What do you hope to do once your studies are complete?
I would like to be a family law barrister in London, specialising in children's public and private law and modern family forms, including LGBT parenthood and surrogacy. I would also like to write in family law, contributing to the academic literature, and to teach family law to university students.

How did you hear about the UCL Laws scholarships:
I looked at the UCL Laws website frequently and saw that the Dean’s Scholarship was newly introduced for the 2019/20 academic year. I also looked at the UCL-wide funding page and signed up to the mailing list so that I could receive funding opportunity updates.

What impact has receiving this scholarship had for you?
Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to get the most out of studying a postgraduate degree in London without having to worry too much about the financial implications. I have really enjoyed immersing myself in studying, career-focused opportunities and London life which has put me in a stronger position from which to pursue my career and life goals.

If you hadn’t received this scholarship what do you think your plans would be, if not studying at UCL Laws?
I would have most likely applied for family law experience, perhaps as a paralegal. But in an ideal world, I wanted to continue studying. It wasn’t until the third year of my undergraduate degree that I fully grasped how to write legal essays and conduct legal research, and I wanted to continue on that trajectory. I was keen develop my knowledge and ideas about family law specifically, and master new areas of law which I couldn’t explore during my undergraduate degree. I am interested in family law due to its focus on individual people and the relationships which hold society together. The speed with which our understandings of family life evolve is fascinating, particularly in light of the women’s and LGBTQ+ rights movements - creating exciting scope for reform of which I would like to be a part.

If someone was thinking of applying for a scholarship what would you say to them?
Go for it! The application process itself is a really useful way of figuring out whether a master's level degree is right for you, because you have to think about why you want to study the course; exactly what you'd like to get out of it; which modules you’re interested in; and what you would like to research for your Research Essay. I also found the interview quite enjoyable, because I had the opportunity to discuss fields of law I was genuinely interested in.

If someone was thinking of funding or sponsoring a scholarship what would you say to them?
Widening participation at postgraduate level is a very important way to open up opportunities for young people who want to take that next step in their career. The Dean’s Scholarship allowed me to continue studying, and thereby broaden my knowledge of law and further develop the oral and written communication skills I need to succeed in my career.