Promoting Positive Mental Health in International Postgraduate Law Students at a Time of Global Uncertainty: A Case Study from qLegal at Queen Mary, University of London

Authors

  • Emily Wapples Queen Mary, University of London

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.19164/ijcle.v27i4.1133

Abstract

Law student mental health and wellbeing was already a growing concern in the UK prior to COVID-19, but when the pandemic occurred, widespread uncertainty placed an unprecedented level of mental health burden on students. Law students were faced with dashed hopes, uncertain futures and the fear of negative academic consequences. This burden was exacerbated in respect of postgraduate international students in London, who were often also forced to decide whether to return home to their families, or to continue their studies abroad, albeit online. This paper uses a case study approach to discuss how one provider of postgraduate clinical legal education (CLE), approached the promotion of positive student mental health both before, and in response to, the pandemic. qLegal at Queen Mary, University of London provides CLE to postgraduates studying for a one year law masters, and in 2019-2020, qLegal delivered CLE to 134 students from 27 countries. The impact that the pandemic had on the mental health of international postgraduate law students was therefore witnessed first-hand. This paper discusses the challenges faced, and concerns raised by international postgraduate law students at qLegal as a result of the pandemic. It examines the steps taken by qLegal to maximise student engagement and promote positive student mental health when rapidly switching to a model of online delivery. The paper concludes by outlining the steps qLegal will take to monitor and address the impact that online delivery in this period of global uncertainty has on the mental health of the next cohort of postgraduate CLE students.

Author Biography

Emily Wapples, Queen Mary, University of London

qLegal Project Coordinator at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies.

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Published

2020-12-11

Issue

Section

Practice Reports