Skip to content
Dr Leanne Smith

Dr Leanne Smith

Reader in Law and Director of Teaching

School of Law and Politics

+44(0)29 2087 4913
3.08, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am currently a Reader specialising in familly law. My research is concerned with the legal recognition of parenting relationships and the resolution of parenting disputes. I have published extensively on the subject of lesbian parenting and the law and have been involved in collaborative research studies related to family dispute resolution, including a Ministry of Justice funded project on litigants in person in the family courts, two projects on the use of Shared Parenting Information Programmes, and a Bar Council funded study of the work of McKenzie Friends in family cases.

My current work is exploring the use of the internet as a source of information and support for the resolution of family disputes. In partnership with Professor Jason Tucker, I am also developing a new student-led Family Law Assistance and Self-Help scheme (FLASH), inspired by the model of self help used across courts in California.

I am dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning in Higher Education. I have received nominations for multiple teaching awards and am currently Director of Teaching and Learning for the School of Law and Politics.

I joined Cardiff University as a Lecturer in Law in 2006. Prior to that I was a doctoral student and tutor at Queen's University, Belfast and I also taught on the LLB programme at the University of Bristol.

I have been a visiting scholar at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne, and at Emory University, Atlanta.

Honours and awards

  • Cardiff University Outstanding Contribution Award for teaching and learning leadership (2017)
  • Cardiff University Enriching Student Life Awards: Most Effective Teacher (winner, 2014)
  • OUP, Law Teacher of the Year (shortlisted, 2013)

Committees and reviewing

  • Cardiff University Centre of Law and Society Committee member
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Law and Society
  • Trustee, Family Mediation Cymru
  • Founding member, GW4 Network for Family, Regulation and Society
  • 2011 - 2017: Casenotes Editor, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law











I currently lead the final year Family Law module, which covers a range of topics related to the legal regulation of family relationships and the resolution of family disputes. I often teach on Cardiff's first year Legal Foundations module and the second year Research Methods in Law module and deliver skills training sessions for LLB students.

I am Director of Teaching and Learning for the School of Law and Politics and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of private family law, family justice and legal education.

I am currently lead supervisor for Rachael Blakey's PhD: Delivering Mediation in the Context of a Changing Family Justice System (funded by an ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre 1+3 scholarship).

Past projects

I was lead supervisor to Katherine Griffiths for a PhD thesis entitled, 'From form to function and back again: a comparative analysis of form-based and function-based recognition of adult relationships in law' (awarded in 2017).

External profiles