Staff Directory

Rob wilks 1x1 2483

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• PhD Law – University of Leicester (ongoing)
• PG Certificate Developing Professional Practice in Higher Education – University of South Wales (2015)
LLM Law of Employment Relations – University of Leicester (2007)
• PG Diploma Legal Practice (LPC) – Cardiff University (2003)
• PG Diploma Law (GDL) – University of the West of England (2002)
• BA (Hons) History – Swansea University (2001)


Originally from Newport, I am a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user and teach through the medium of BSL.

I have a BA (Hons) degree in History, and commenced my legal training by completing the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2002 and the Legal Practice Course in 2003. I qualified as a solicitor in 2007 following a secondment to South West London Law Centres and Hugh James Solicitors whilst employed by the Royal Association for Deaf people.

On an academic level, I achieved a LLM with Distinction in Law of Employment Relations with the University of Leicester in 2007 and am currently doing a PhD in Law with the University of Leicester with a College of Arts, Humanities and Law Scholarship exploring the possible solutions to the conflict between equality law (which categorises Deaf people as disabled) and the Deaf identity. I aim to complete my PhD in 2020.

My specialist area of law is Employment Law and Equality Law, and I am module leader for these optional modules on the LLB programmes.

My research interests – aside from employment and equality law – include Deaf people and the legal system, including criminal justice for Deaf people, and I have co-authored reports including a study of the impact the then Disability Discrimination 1995 had on D/deaf people, and exploring how the law works for young Deaf people. I am also interested in BSL/English Interpreting in the legal system, sign language recognition, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I am happy to supervise students completing dissertations on any of the above topics or in human rights and social welfare law.

I have a blog called North of the Stupid Line, which you can find at


Between 2003 and 2014, I worked for the Royal Association for Deaf people, most recently as Director of Legal Services, after working my way through the ranks, starting as an Advice Worker. I was responsible for the RAD Deaf Law Centre which delivered legal advice services to the Deaf community nationally before it closed in 2014 due to the legal aid cuts which took effect after the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 was passed.

I also practised as a Consultant Solicitor under Setfords Solicitors between 2014 and 2018, and dealt with a range of employment and discrimination matters, and provided a will-writing service for Deaf people.


Course Leader for the Master of Laws (Legal Practice)

Module Leader for the following modules:-

• Advanced Legal Skills and Ethics (LLB)
• Core Legal Practice (MLaw)
• Employment Law (LLB)
• Equality Law (LLB)
• Equality, Rights and Society (LLM)


Contributions to books

• Lawson, L, McLean, F, O’Neill, R and Wilks, R, “British Sign Language: a united kingdom?”, in De Meulder, M, McKee, R and Murray, J, Recognizing sign languages: An international overview of national campaigns for sign language legislation and their outcomes (Multilingual Matters, forthcoming).


• Rob Wilks, ‘Why equality law and Deaf people don’t get on: developing Deaf Legal Theory’ (Deaf Academics Conference, Copenhagen, August 2017)


• Brattan-Wilson, J and Wilks, R, ‘Making the law work for young Deaf people’ (Royal Association for Deaf people 2012).
• Masterson, D, ‘Disability Discrimination Act 1995, why do barriers still exist for d/Deaf people?’ (Wilks, R, ed, Royal Association for Deaf people 2007).


• Rob Wilks, ‘Legal Analysis: Examining suggested workplace improvements for D/deaf workers’ (LexisPSL, 15 September 2016) <>
• Rob Wilks, ‘Why equality law and Deaf people don’t get on’ (North of the Stupid Line, 26 January 2016) <>.
• Rob Wilks, ‘Introducing Deaf Law’ (North of the Stupid Line, 28 August 2015) <>.


• Wilks, R, ‘Brexit – what impact will Brexit have on the Deaf community?’ (British Deaf News, ).
• Wilks, R, ‘Brexit – UK’s greatest constitutional crisis yet?’ (British Deaf News, ) .
• Wilks, R, ‘Brexit – what’s it all about?’ (British Deaf News, ).
• Wilks, R, ‘We don’t need a BSL Act, apparently’ (British Deaf News, June 2016) 22-23.
• Wilks, R, ‘Analysis: Are you in court and know the interpreter well? Inform the judge’ (British Deaf News, December 2015).
• Rob Wilks, ‘Deaf people and access to legal services’ (Limping Chicken, 21 May 2012) <>.


• Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
• Society of Legal Scholars
• Socio-Legal Studies Association
• Discrimination Law Association
• Employment Lawyers Association


• Deaf people and the legal system
BSL/English Interpreting in the legal system
• Criminal justice for Deaf people
• Sign language recognition
• UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

I am happy to supervise students completing dissertations on any of the above topics or in human rights and social welfare law.

Areas of Expertise

• Disability discrimination
• Employment law
• Equality and diversity



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