The current OULS Committee comprises 11 volunteer officers:
Mike is London based, has a banking and financial services background and studied law with the Open University from 2014 until 2017 where he graduated with First Class (Honours). He is commencing the BPTC in September 2018 with BPP having secured a Lord Denning Scholorship from Lincoln’s Inn.
Michael won the Dame Frances Patterson UKELA 2018 Mooting Competition with fellow graduate Joe Broadway and as Master of Moots 2017/2018 successfully coached the OULS team in the European Academy of Religion International (ECtHR and USSC) Law and Religion Moot Competition in Bologna where they won the ECtHR final of the competition and were highly commended in the US Supreme Court final of the competition. Michael was also the recipient of the Open University: ‘Top Student Award’ Module W302 – Equity, trusts and land in the 2016/2017 academic year and is a regular contributor to The Oxford Journal of law and Religion. Michael also volunteers for the Personal Support Unit (PSU) at the Central Family Courts and Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Following his successful year as Master of Moots Michael was keen to remain involved in the OULS and was very pleased to be elected the 2018/2019 Chair. He remains very passionate about the OU, the OULS, mooting and other forms of advocacy but he is especially motivated in ensuring that every member is aware of the opportunities that are available to them. He knows the value of the OULS during his own studies and the fun, relationships and skills that he experienced throughout. Michael’s mission is to make sure that every member has the same opportunities and to continue ensuring that the OULS remains an invaluable and fun part of every students experience.
Vice-Chair: James Sudworth
Based in Wales, James has spent the past three years dedicated to the OULS, as News Reporter, News Editor, Chair and now Vice-Chair. Additionally, James’ three years as a Bar Manager/Wedding Events Coordinator, 8 years as a Professional Poker Player, 2 years working in Maritime Security, 2 years at a Law Firm and his current experience as a Financial Adviser specialising in Equity Release, has given him vital cross-discipline professional skills. James has also put his social skills to good use, by organising many social events across the UK – “just because we are non-campus based, it doesn’t mean we should miss out on the enjoyable student lifestyle”, he says.
James has just finished his LLB with the OU achieving a First Class (Honours). James also juggles his family life and various other pursuits, making sleep a scarce commodity! James is dedicated to his family and career, and takes great pride in providing friendly, accurate financial advice to vulnerable clients in their later years. James is dedicated to the OULS, has already helped it grow from strength to strength, and is keen to ensure that OU Students are recognised as amazing individuals within the fickle legal industry.
Secretary: Sarah Couling
Sarah is entering the final year of her LLB with the OU Law School. Having left nursing school in the US, she moved to England in 2008 to start a family. However, her ambition to pursue a career saw her join the Open University in 2013, to lay foundations for her future. Having served as the OULS Systems admin, as well as stand-in Secretary and Treasurer, over the last three years, she is ready for her new role as Secretary.
Sarah lives in North Wales with her partner James. The two met through the OULS and have been together ever since. Sarah believes that the OULS is a fantastic forum for OULS members to become more socially interactive, and cannot wait to help expand relations between members.
Treasurer: Ann-Marie O’Neil
Ann-Marie has just completed her LLB with the OU and has been awarded a First Class (Honours). She hopes to join the Bar and is undertaking the BPTC full-time in September 2018 following a busy career in Project management at the Home Office.
The purpose of her project is to update and improve the communications systems for the emergency services including the police, fire service and ambulance. She was one of the first members of staff to be placed into the project and has been responsible for setting up the processes and procedures for cost control.
Ann-Marie first took the reigns of Treasurer last year and is very happy to continue contributing to the fantastic work that she has experienced from the OULS herself.
Ann-Marie jointly won the 2017 Internal Mooting Competition where she appeared before the, then Deputy President and now President of the UK Supreme Court, Lady Hale. She was also a member of the very successful OULS team in the European Academy of Religion International (ECtHR and USSC) Law and Religion Moot Competition (EUARE) in Italy.
Mistress of the Moots: Abigail Hendon
Based in Manchester, Abigail is in her fourth and final year of her Bachelor of Laws (Hons) LLB. Her final module is W330.
Abigail has been a member of the OULS since 2016. Since joining she has competed in external mooting competitions, including the 2017/18 EUARE international mooting competition in Italy where the OU team saw great success. Not only that but Abigail has found that the workshops provided by the OULS have been crucial to her learning and growth as a law student and she hopes that she can continue to provide engaging workshops to all future and current mooters.
Outside of work Abigail enjoys a good book or metaphysical poem, (although reading for pleasure is a scarcely found joy while studying).
Mistress of the Moots: Jennifer Wharton
Based in Coventry, Jennifer completed her LLB and graduated in 2017. She will commence her BPTC LLM in September 2018. Jennifer began studying Law in 2013 with the aim of changing career after running her small business for a number of years. After starting her Law degree, Jennifer found the OULS and after attending a workshop, developed a passion for mooting. As a result, she has competed in internal and external competitions over the past three years.
Keen to remain involved in OULS mooting events, Jennifer took up the role of ‘Mistress of the Moots’ in 2017 and looks forward to continuing in the role for 2018, supporting OULS mooters through mooting events and competitions over the forthcoming year. She aims to increase participation in OULS events and encourage OULS members to take part in mooting.
Outside of her studies she volunteers for her local Citizens Advice and a local animal rescue group and can often be found out leading lost pet searches around her local area.
Careers Coordinator: Dave Ascough
Based in Newton-Le-Willows (between Manchester and Liverpool – the birthplace of 80’s legend Rick Astley!) Dave is in his final year of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), having begun in early 2016. In addition to studying, he applies his experience as a former police sergeant to his work as a consultant for a risk and reputation management company. As part of the OU’s Open Justice project he volunteers in the Manchester Personal Support Unit.
Dave’s aspiration for his role on the OULS committee is to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for careers advice through the OULS website and to provide greater access to law careers events in the North of the country.
In his spare time Dave is an advanced motorcycle tutor for the Manchester ROSPA group as well as an organiser of motorcycle related events in aid of air ambulance charities
Data Compliance Officer: Gwyn Hopkins
Called to the bar in 2018, Gwyn studied law with the OU before completing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) with BPP University. Gwyn is the OULS’s longest standing committee member, having joined in 2010, helping to re-establish the society which had been dormant for several years prior to this time. The following year he took up the role of Mooting Coordinator and established the OULS’s first mooting workshop in 2012.
Having spent a year serving as Vice Chair, Gwyn is now the Data Compliance officer for the OULS and faces the challenge of ensuring the OULS’s policies and practices are in line with present data protection legislation, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
News Editor: Harriet Trevor-Allen
News Reporter: Victoria-Jayne Scholes
Victoria-Jayne has been studying Law with the Open University since October 2013 and has recently sat her final exam. She is hoping to start her BPTC in 2019 and has recently been accepted into Middle Temple. In her year off she is hoping to gain experience into the legal world. Victoria-Jayne’s background is a vast one from a Walt Disney World expert for Virgin Holidays to owning her own business to performing at the Theatre Royal Windsor and Richmond Theatre
Her passion for the law has grown and grown over the years and now finds herself as a News Reporter for the OULS. She hopes to bring articles that are not only relevant to the current affairs but to hopefully bring some fun to them along the way.
After Victoria-Jayne’s health declined she found herself having to rely on a wheelchair to get about. This has made her passion soar and now wants to push the boundaries in to making not only the barristers pathway more accessible but also the criminal Justice System. Getting in and out of chambers is not an easy feat and nothing can be changed if it is not challenged.
Victoria-Jayne’s passion comes from the saying ‘Carpe Diem’ and that is exactly what she is hoping to do. She hopes that with the help of the OULS, she can show to students just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t shoot for the stars.
News Reporter: Anna Augustyn
Based in Edinburgh, Anna has been a member of the news team since 2017. She has many interests outside of law including loving fashion, various publications and sports. Anna also loves cooking various recipies that she discovered throughout her extensive travels. Anna has just completed level two modules of the OU LLB and is really enjoying learning all the skills that will help her master her undrstanding of Enlish Law.
Officer for Scotland: Lidia Dancu
Based in Edinburgh, Lidia has completed her LLB with the Open University obtaining a First Class (Honours). She has lived, studied and worked in a variety of fields all over the world and intends to bring this experience to her studies.
Lidia has been working on creating a strong presence for the OULS in Scotland, providing opportunities for other students to improve their skills, experience, access to law resources and career prospects. She has worked with the mooting team to bring the first mooting workshops to Edinburgh and has ran a number of socials across Scotland. Mooting is also on the agenda for Lidia when time and geography allows and she was part of the winning team at the EUARE Bologna moot.
Lidia has been involved with the OU’s Open Justice Project from its inception and is now on its Advisory Board. She volunteers for public legal education projects and contributes regularly in the pro-bono legal advice clinic.
Outside of work and study, Lidia loves cycling, sailing, playing cricket, travelling and cooking and spending time with friends and family. Apart from her writing for a number of magazines on legal issues, Lidia is also an occasional contributor to an international design magazine.
Systems Manager: Tymoteusz Paul
Tymoteusz is a Bristol-based IT-entrepreneur who over almost two decades of his life dabbled in all sort of projects in virtually any industry that was or was not touched before by the hand of progress. Just now finishing his second year of studies, it’s another stepping stone in migrating from the career in IT into full-time law, hopefully as a criminal barrister as this was his passion since his early years.
Outside of work and study, he is a parent of two kids, an avid poker player and long-lasting fan of Airsoft, especially ones focusing on military simulations and as a result doesn’t shy from waddling through deep woods over the weekend. The very little spare time all of the above leaves, he spends on playing games and following interesting legal cases, with a recent focus on IP and copyright law, especially how a growing presence of the internet impacts what constitutes Fair Use. Occasionally also travels to IT conferences to speak about the upcoming technologies and reinstate some of his well-known no-nonsense pragmatism with jumping onto the newest bandwagon.