Next in the gavel hall of shame — step forward Staffordshire University law school

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By Judge John Hack on

It claims to offer students the opportunity “to develop advocacy skills in an authentic courtroom setting” — so why the auction room hammer?


The latest academic institution marketing team to make a hash of real-life legal procedure is camped out at Staffordshire University.

And, yes, it’s the usual balls-up with a gavel — and it comes just two months after we highlighted a similar mistake perpetrated by the law school at Bedfordshire University.

At least Staffs has splurged a bit more dosh on the exercise; while the Beds team knocked up a print poster looking like something from Blue Peter circa 1984, the latest effort from the West Midlands is at least a reasonably polished video.

Staffordshire University’s gavel gaffe: the Vine clip

Nonetheless, there is no excuse for falling into the gavel trap, as Staffs does with headlong enthusiasm.

The video’s protagonist is a confident young chap who challenges viewers not to follow the crowd (cue a shot of sheep) and to open the door onto curiosity.

From there he seems to nick a cup of coffee (raising questions over whether he would pass the fit and proper person test for qualifying as a lawyer), nip into a club to shake a quick leg, before striding into what is meant to be a Crown Court, where he boldly grasps the judge’s gavel and slams it down on the bench.

Then he’s off to perform a spot of open-heart surgery (watch the full video below).

When Bedfordshire Uni made this egregious balls-up a spokeswoman confidently told Legal Cheek it was an intentional “light-hearted representation of the legal profession”. Presumably Staffs will have a similar excuse.

The university offers an LLB degree as well as 125 Legal Practice Course places (of which this year 57 were filled) and 40 conversion course places (five of which were filled).

The university’s law school website boasts that students on all its courses, “will be taught by experienced professionals including qualified solicitors and barristers, and experience the type of work you’ll be expected to carry out in a law firm”.

It goes on to tell prospective students that they will “have the opportunity to develop advocacy skills in an authentic courtroom setting …”

Gavels all round, then.

The advert in full