Professor Nick Taylor retires after 30 years of dedication to the School of Law

Professor Nick Taylor bids farewell to the School of Law after an impactful career spanning three decades.

On 19 April 2024, various staff members gathered to celebrate Professor Nick Taylor’s profound influence as a teacher, mentor, and cherished friend. The event saw a cascade of tributes, commemorating Nick’s enduring legacy at the University of LeedsSchool of Law

Nick first joined the School of Law in 1989 as an undergraduate student. He graduated in 1992 with a Law LLB and in 1993 he returned to the School for a one year lectureship. It was also during this year that Nick met his late wife and beloved member of the School of Law community, Rachael.  

Since then, Nick sought to develop his teaching around his research interests in criminal procedure, surveillance and privacy; influencing and marking the lives of many students, including that of alumna and Professor Lydia Bleasdale. Reflecting on Nick’s impact at the School of Law, she says,

I did not have an easy introduction to studying Law, and without Nick’s tremendous support I would not have completed my degree. Nick always knew just what to say to inspire a reaction in his students and to make them feel they had someone in their corner – someone who believed in them. He was able to do this because he saw his students as people, not numbers, and he took the time to get to know to them. His teaching brought the subject areas to life, making us all think for ourselves and not just absorb and regurgitate the law. Until I took one of his second-year modules, I had never thought of myself as someone who was capable of doing well on the degree: he made that, and the career which followed, possible.

Nick also held a number of posts within the School, including LLB programme manager and that of Widening Participation Coordinator during which time he initiated the School’s very successful externally-funded Pathways to Law project

From 2008 to 2012, Nick was the School’s Director of Learning and Teaching responsible for the successful development of student education and the student experience across all taught programmes, success that was reflected in continuous improvement in National Student Survey (NSS). In 2015, he returned to the position of Director of Student Education and oversaw the School’s very successful relationship with the student body. 

Reflecting on Nick’s incredible impact on the School, Professor Louis Ellison, Head of the School of Law, says, 

Passionate about delivering the very best for our students, Nick served as Director of Student Education not once but twice! In that capacity he had a major positive and lasting impact on the development of student education in the School and on the student experience more widely. As a researcher, a teacher, as a leader, and a fantastic colleague, Nick has contributed so much to the School, bringing good humour, humility, and an ethic of care to bear, benefitting students and staff alike.

What is more, Nick’s contributions transcended the confines of academia. Throughout his time at Leeds, he repeatedly took part in our famous ‘Law’s Got Talent’, raised money for multiple charities, and even became the captain of England’s Parkinson’s walking football.  

Nick’s enduring mark on the School was further underscored by his most recent achievement: the Faculty of Social Science Partnership Award for Contribution to Student Experience. One of the nominators praised Nick’s transformative approaches to student education, highlighting, 

Nick revolutionised student education in our School. He had the trust of all colleagues and students because he was an authentic leader who took time to listen to and address any concerns or complaints, and who intuitively knew what made different people 'tick'. Collegiate, confident in his strengths and skills without being arrogant, and never, ever taking the students and their support for granted. He is one in a million.

As Nick embarks on a new chapter, the School of Law extends its heartfelt gratitude for his unparalleled dedication and invaluable contributions to the School of Law. While his departure will certainly leave a void, Nick’s legacy will continue to influence the lives and careers of many within and beyond the walls of the Liberty Building.