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Siobhan Cullen

Profile summary

Professional biography

Siobhan joined the Open University in 2022 as a lecturer in the Law School and is involved in both production and presentation of various modules including Justice in Action, Family Law, Exploring Legal Boundaries, Law & Socierty and SQE modules Legal System, Public Law & Criminal Litigation and Property & Private Client Law.

Siobhan obtained her LLb first class (Hons) at Middlesex University in 1989 and went on to qualify as a solicitor specialising in criminal defence and family law, working for eight years with a Legal Aid firm Porters in Tottenham, North London.

Siobhan then pursued an academic career with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT)  in Ireland where she remained for twenty-three years. During this time Siobhan delivered modules in Tort, Company Law, Family & Child Law, Legal Systems, Restorative Justice, Law in Action, ADR and Street Law and was Head of Department of Law, Public Service and Education (2017-2022)  managing academic programmes in law, governance, teaching and learning, languages and sport. During this time, she led the development of several new undergraduate degree programmes including B.A Corporate Law, B.A Communications and BSc in Athletic Therapy as well as postgraduate programmes including  M.A in Governance & I.T in Financial Services, MSc in Sports Performace, a CIPD accredited Diploma in HR & Employment Law and numerous micro-credentials including Certificates in Children's Rgthts, Online Dispute Resolution, GDPR and EDI in Education. During her time as HOD at LYIT ( now known as ATU) Siobhan was a member of the Governing Body, Academic Council, Academic Standards Sub-Committee, Research and Ethics Committee and Chaired the Faculty of Business Ethics Committee. She took a career break 2022-2024 to join the Open University.

She  developed a significant knowledge-exchange initiative with An Garda Siochana which led to the design and delivery of professional development courses for their serving members, namley Certificates in Licensing Law and in Grievance Procedures & Dispute Resolution, all of which are still delivered by ATU Donegal. Siobhan also re-designed the B.A in Law with Criminal Justice to include a Mock Trial conducted in the local courthouse during year 1 as an effort to improve retention which continues to remain a key aspect of the programme. Siobhan's key interests are experiential learning and clinical legal education, in particulat Street Law and Mediation.

Siobhan has delivered Street Law programmes with numerous schools and voluntary organisations and has presented widely at both national and international conferences on experiential learning, reflective practice, community engagement with law schools, EDI in Education and Street Law. 

Siobhan has also been a member of Associate Faculty with the Law Society of Ireland, tutoring Criminal Litigation on the Professional Practice II Programme (2006-2017).

Siobhan has led successful funding applications for Street Law programmes, most recently LGBTIQ+ Public Legal Information Clinic funded by the Dept of Children, Equality, Disability, Youth and Integration (€75,000 in 2020). Siobhan also obtained funding from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning , including Street Law: Developing Transferable Skills in Law students ( €150,000 in 2016) ; Re-Imagining Experiential Learning in Law ( €150,000 in 2018), Learning Enhancement projects including Peer Mentoring in Law (€5,000 in 2019), Exercise & Mental Health Study in collaboration with HSE Addiction Service ( €15,000 in 2020) as well as leading the design of a Digital Badge in Reflective Practice in Teaching (€20,000 in 2019) which is available open source at She is currently developing a Street Law programme on Migrant Rights which has been piloted by Open Justice students in collaboration with ATU.

In 2008 Siobhan gained a Masters’ degree in Equality Studies (UCD) with her Dissertation focused on gender equality for cohabitants and much of her external engagement focuses on various equality issues. She obtained a PG Diploma in Mediation (2015) and is an accredited Mediator with Mediators Institute of Ireland ( MII) as well as a trained Restorative Practice facilitator. Siobhan’s research interests include equality and the role of universities in driving the equality agenda as well as public legal education and the impact of experiential learning on learners.

Siobhan has a strong interest in knowledge exchange and is involved in various external engagement initiatives including her recent appointment as an Equality Commissioner for Northern Ireland (ECNI) (2022 to 2027) and is Chair of the Statutory Duties Invetigation Committee ( SDIC) and a member of the Legal Funding Committee. Siobhan is currently Chair of Donegal Women’s Centre, a Board Member with Donegal Sports Partnership and a member of the Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network (ICAAN) Licensing sub-group, having received  the Harm Reduction Champion Award 2022 by Alcohol Forum Ireland for her work in developing a training programme in Licensing Law & Practice.

Siobhan is a PT Tribunal member with both the Mental Health Commission and the International Appeals Tribunal ( IPAT) as well as an Athena Swan (Ireland) Review Committee Member which determines applications for gender equality awards at Institutional, Faculty and School level on behalf of Advance HE.

During 2023, Siobhan is currently involved in funded scholarship projects investigating the perceived barriers and enablers for students in secure environments ( SISE) studying law modules and is part of a team investigating the educational experiences of GRT ( Gypsy Roma Traveller) Students. She is currenytly Athena SWan lead for the OU Law School.