Professor Donald Nicolson

Professor (R) and Law Clinic Director
School of Law
Professor Donald Nicolson
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873937

  • Location

    4SB.5.11, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Wednesday 09:00 - 11:00



Donald joined the Univesity in September 2017 as the Director of the Law Clinic.He was educated at the Universities of Cape Town (BA/LLB) amd Cambridge (PhD).He was previously a Professor at the University of Strathclyde where he set up its Law Clinic, and a Lecturer at the Universities of Bristol (where he set up itsLaw Clinic) and Reading. Donald currently teaches Jurispudence and various clinical courses. He has published numerous articles and a co-authored book on lawyers' ethics, various articles on clinical legal education, a co-edited book on affirmative action, a book and articles on evidence in Scotland, articles on evidence theory, articles and a co-edited book on criminal law, and articles on law and gender, feminist legal theory and adjudication. His current research interests are in the areas of evidence, law clinics, and lawyers’ ethics, with particular reference to moral development. He is on the editorial board of Legal Ethics and the International Journal of the Legal Profession and a trustee of the Clinical Legal Education Organisation. In 2011, Donald was awarded an OBE for services to the legal profession.


  • BA African Government University of Cape Town, (1981)

  • LLB Law University of Cape Town, (1983)

  • PhD Law University of Cambridge, (1989)

Research and professional activities

Conferences and presentations

Profession under Attack: Impact of the Changes in Legal Services on Legal Ethics

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Building the Law Firm of the Future Conference, 16/11/2019

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Legal Advice Case Work (LW250)

  • Advanced Legal Advice Case Work (LW352)


Journal articles (29)

Newman, J., Lawrie, F., Nicolson, DJ. and Swain, M., Theatre and Revolution in Clinical Legal Education. SSRN Electronic Journal

Nicolson, D., Newman, J., Lawrie, F. and Swain, M., (2020). Theatre and Revolution in Clinical Legal Education. Clinical Law Review: a journal of lawyering and legal education. 27

Nicolson, DJ. and Newman, J., (2016). “A Tale of Two Clinics: Similarities and Differences in Evidence of the 'Clinic Effect' on the Development of Law Students’ Ethical and Altruistic Professional Identities". The Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal. 35, 1-1

Nicolson, D., (2016). "Our roots began in (South) Africa" : modelling law clinics to maximise social justice ends. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education. 23 (3), 88-88

Nicolson, D., (2016). Problematizing competence in clinical legal education : what do we mean by competence and how do we assess non-skill competencies?. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education. 23 (1), 69-110

Nicolson, D., (2015). Legal education, ethics and access to justice : forging warriors for justice in a neo-liberal world. International Journal of the Legal Profession. 22 (1), 51-69

Nicolson, D., (2014). Truth and demeanour : lifting the veil. Edinburgh Law Review. 18 (2), 254-259

Nicolson, D., (2013). Calling, character and clinical legal education : a cradle to grave approach to inculcating a love for justice. Legal Ethics. 16 (1), 36-56

Nicolson, D. and Blackie, J., (2013). Corroboration in Scots law : "archaic rule? or ?invaluable safeguard??. Edinburgh Law Review. 17 (2), 152-183

Nicolson, D., (2013). Taking epistemology seriously : ?truth, reason and justice? revisited. International Journal of Evidence and Proof. 17 (1), 1-46

Nicolson, D., (2012). Access to justice and the legal profession. SCOLAG Journal. 416, 133-136

Nicolson, D., (2011). Do law clinics help to create progressive lawyers for the future?. Socialist Lawyer. 2011 (59)

Nicolson, D., (2009). Teaching legal ethics: what, how and why : Ensenar etica juridica: que, como y cuando. Revista De Educacion Y Derecho - Education and Law Review. 1, 171-190

Nicolson, D., (2008). 'Education, education, education' : legal, moral and clinical. Law Teacher. 42 (2), 145-172

Nicolson, D. and McHarg, A., (2006). Justifying affirmative action: Perception and reality. Journal of Law and Society. 33 (1), 1-23

Nicolson, D., (2006). Affirmative Action in the Legal Profession. Journal of Law and Society. 33 (1), 109-125

Nicolson, D., (2006). Affirmative action in the legal profession. Journal of Law and Society. 31 (1), 109-125

Nicolson, D., (2005). Making lawyers moral : Ethical codes and moral character. Legal Studies. 25 (4), 601-626

Nicolson, D., (2005). Demography, discrimination and diversity: a new dawn for the British legal profession. International Journal of the Legal Profession. 12 (2), 201-228

Nicolson, D. and Webb, J., (2005). Public rules and private values: fractured profession(alism)s and institutional ethics. International Journal of the Legal Profession. 12 (2), 165-172

Nicolson, D., (2004). In defence of contextually sensitive moral activism. Legal Ethics. 7 (2), 269-275

Nicolson, D. and Webb, J., (2004). Lawyers' duties, adversarialism and partisanship in UK legal ethics. Legal Ethics. 7 (2), 133-140

Nicolson, D., (2004). The theoretical turn in professional legal ethics. Legal Ethics. 7 (1), 17-23

Nicolson, D., (2004). Afterword: In Defence of Contextually Sensitive Moral Activism. Legal Ethics. 7 (2), 269-275

Nicolson, D., (2001). Review of Philip Thomas: Discriminating lawyers. Common Law World Review. 30 (3), 343-347

Webb, J. and Nicolson, D., (1999). Institutionalising Trust: Ethics and the Responsive Regulation of the Legal Profession. Legal Ethics. 2 (2), 148-168

Nicolson, D. and Webb, J., (1999). Taking lawyers’ ethics seriously. International Journal of the Legal Profession. 6 (1), 109-134

Nicolson, D., (1998). Mapping Professional Legal Ethics: The Form and Focus of the Codes. Legal Ethics. 1 (1), 51-69

Nicolson, D., (1994). Truth, Reason and Justice: Epistemology and Politics in Evidence Disclosure. The Modern Law Review. 57 (5), 726-744

Books (1)

Nicolson, D., (2019). Evidence and Proof in Scotland: Context and Critique. Edinburgh University Press. 1474412009. 9781474412001

Book chapters (6)

Nicolson, D. and McHarg, A., (2019). Salvesen V Riddell (Lord Advocate and Advocates To The Court Intervening). In: Scottish Feminist Judgments Projects. Editors: Cowan, S., Kennedy, C. and Munroe, V.,

Nicolson, D. and Auchie, D., (2017). Assessing witness credibility and reliability: engaging experts and disengaging Gage?”. In: Scottish Criminal Evidence Law: Current Developments and Future Trends. Editors: DUFF, P. and FERGUSON, P., . Edinburgh University Press. 161- 193

(2017). Re-thinking Legal Education Under the Civil and Common Law. In: Re-Thinking Legal Education Under the Civil and Common Law: A Road Map for Constructive Change. Routledge. 87- 113. 9781315212074

Nicolson, D., (2016). Teaching ethics clinically without breaking the bank. In: Experimental Legal Education in a Globalized World. Editors: Qafisheh, MM. and Rosenbaum, SA., . Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 454- 476. 9781443889100

(2016). The Calling of Law. In: The Calling of Law: The Pivotal Role of Vocational Legal Education. Routledge. 61- 84. 9781409455547

Nicolson, D., (2010). Learning in Justice : ethical education in an extra-curricular law clinic. In: The Ethics Project in Legal Education. Editors: Robertson, M., Corbin, L., Tranter, K. and Bartlett, F., . Routledge. 171- 190. 0203840852. 9780415546515

Other (1)

Nicolson, D., (2001).Review of Richard Spitz and Matthew Chaskalsons: The politics of transition: A hidden history of South Africa's negotiated settlement. International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 50(4),Cambridge University Press (CUP)

+44 (0) 1206 873937


4SB.5.11, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Wednesday 09:00 - 11:00