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A day in the life Of...
Kara Swift
Kara Swift
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A Day in the Life of ... Claire Fenton-Glynn (lecturer, University of Cambridge)

Date:19 SEP 2016

What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am a lecturer in law at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Jesus College. When I'm not teaching (family law and criminal law), I spend my time researching and writing. My main focus is on children's rights, and I am currently writing a book on the way in which the European Court of Human Rights has dealt with claims by children and alleged violations of their rights. I am also working on the issue of international surrogacy, and the legal implications on a domestic, regional, and international level.

Over the past few years I have also done a lot of work with the United Nations, working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on issues relating to children and youth. This has allowed me to work on overarching issues of policy, such as sexual exploitation of children online, investing in children's rights, and systems of birth registration.

How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?

I am originally from Australia, and did my undergraduate degree there before coming to the UK eight years ago.

I have only been a lecturer at Cambridge for a year. Before that, I taught at King's College London, where they have a fantastic centre for transnational law. Academia was something I almost fell into - I kept going back to university and learned more and more, and in the end never wanted to leave!

What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with students every day, and see their understanding of the law grow from first principles to challenging my papers and telling me how and why they think I am wrong! It's fantastic to see that evolution in their thinking, and know they will go on to become great lawyers.

I am also very lucky to be part of a (relatively) big team of family lawyers at Cambridge - there are four of us who all have very diverse areas of interest, but complement each other in our work.

What is the best and worst part of the day for you?

The best part of my day is waking up and thinking, 'What shall I read about today?'. There is a wonderful freedom in academia to focus on the things that interest you most and to follow your passion. There are not a lot of jobs that let you do that.

The worst part is marking essays!

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What adjectives best describe you?

Nerdy, a bit intense, but also passionate.

What keeps you motivated?

Knowing that there is still such a long way to go before basic human rights are respected around the world.

Tea or coffee?

Definitely tea. Preferably with a chocolate Hobnob...

What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?

It's a fantastic career and you will never be bored. It requires a lot of self-motivation, but there's always something new to think about and learn.

What song do you listen to the most?

I usually listen to music while I'm running, so anything with a good beat to keep me motivated.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

I love to cook and am always trying new recipes (some more successfully than others!). On the weekends I also watch a lot of sport - cricket, football, rugby, Australian Rules...anything and everything.

If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?

Ensure quality of access to the justice system. It is not possible to achieve justice while there are differences in access to legal support and advice, differences in opportunities to challenge decisions, and, most of all, differences in power.

Claire is shortlisted for Commentator of the Year at the 2016 Family Law Awards. To find out more and place your vote please visit the Family Law Awards homepage.

To book your table for the Awards ceremony click here.

If you are interested in sponsoring an award please contact Becky Wall.