Blog by Julie Grant, Communications Officer at Registers of Scotland.
As part of a year-long series of events and partnerships helping to mark the 400th anniversary, RoS has sponsored a Masters in research at the University of Glasgow. Julie Grant, communications officer at RoS, talks to Masters student Michael Arthur and his supervisor Dr Jill Robbie about the sponsorship of his degree by RoS.
Q: Can you tell us a little background information about yourself?
A: My name is Michael Arthur and I am originally from Penicuik just south of Edinburgh. I moved to Glasgow in 1991 to start studying at the University of Glasgow and have lived there ever since, simply because I love the city. I had always gone to Glasgow for music concerts finding it a fascinating place and once I moved there I didn’t want to leave. As well as being keen to leave home at that stage I had also chosen not to study at the University of Edinburgh as my dad taught there at the time and he would have been teaching some of the lectures I would have had to attend which would have been a strange experience.
So I began my studies with a mathematics degree and graduated with 1st class honours. I then worked in the oil exploration industry, including working offshore in Azerbaijan followed by a position in BAESYSTEMS doing life cycle cost analyses for army and naval equipment, including working on the Type 45 destroyer project. I then returned to the University of Glasgow in 2001 working in various administrative positions. During this time I completed a part-time Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Strathclyde. After nearly 15 years working at the University I decided the time was right to start the accelerated LLB degree, something I had always hoped to do, and I graduated in June of this year with a distinction.
Q: How did you find out about this opportunity?
A: I first found out about the Registers of Scotland sponsoring the Masters in research project from an email the Property Law course convenor sent out to the second year accelerated LLB students informing us about this rare opportunity for a Masters scholarship. As soon as I saw it I knew it was an exciting chance to try something I had become interested in doing during my law studies. Arriving just before my LLB graduation ceremony, it was an unexpected and exciting twist to my current plans at that time which had been to commence on to the Diploma in Legal Professional Practice. There were so many exciting aspects to the project; the fact that this was a Property Law research project with clear goals with Jill Robbie as supervisor (who had taught the Trust Law module and was one of our best lecturers); and the research was linked to what I have done in the past in my professional life. It joins my recent academic experience with my professional background and definitely a fantastic opportunity!
Q: What do you hope to achieve through this project?
A: The Registers of Scotland will be sponsoring my Masters in research which will be looking at the privacy and publicity aspects of land registration investigating how the proposed publicity changes in this area can be achieved without causing privacy and data protection issues. I think everyone is focused on this being a useful and actionable piece of research with recommendations which can be put in to practice. After completing the project, I plan to utilise the skills I obtain to either go down the route of becoming a practising solicitor or to see if I can expand it into a possible PhD and a career in academia.
Dr Jill Robbie
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became involved in Registers of Scotland’s (RoS) sponsorship of a Masters student at the University of Glasgow?
A: I am originally from Dundee and I started my law degree at the University of Edinburgh in 2004. I then continued to live there for my PhD, Diploma in Legal Practice and my subsequent traineeship at Brodies LLP.
I got my job at the University of Glasgow last year, in August 2015, and moved to Glasgow in February. I commuted for a small amount of time but thought in terms of work/life balance, it was much better to move. I absolutely adore Glasgow. It is a fantastic city to live in and a great University to teach at. I am a lecturer in private law so I teach and research in that area. I will be Michael’s supervisor for his LLM by research.
I drafted the proposal that was sent to RoS to apply for the scholarship that is forming part of the 400 year anniversary celebrations of the General Register of Sasines. There is a vibrant private law community of academics at Glasgow that is always looking for innovative projects and ways to increase the reach of our academic expertise. Part of our approach is responding to consultations, submitting written evidence on bills going through parliament and this was another way that we could reach a non-academic audience. As soon as this opportunity came up, we had a meeting to decide who would submit a proposal from amongst my private law colleagues and as the opportunity really resonated with my research interests, I was tasked with the job. I was delighted to hear that my proposal had been selected.
Q: What benefits do you feel such an opportunity affords to both the student and the partner institutions?
A: I think property law is a very current issue and it is an exciting legal landscape that we are all working in. The opportunity can benefit the University because we have the academic expertise that can feed into the process of land reform and land registration as well as help provide solutions where I think problems have been found. I believe it will be of benefit to RoS as they are looking for academic expertise to help them achieve their practical outcomes. Finally, for Michael I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to really be part of a living, breathing legal process and hopefully he can use, whether as a practicing lawyer or an academic in the future, the invaluable skills that will be acquired over the course of his studies.