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Dr Rachel Pimm-Smith


Amory 023


Rachel is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter where she teaches Family Law and Land Law. She is also the Director for International Student Affairs for the Law School.

Prior to her appointment at Exeter, Rachel taught at the University of Warwick where she completed her doctorate in 2018. Rachel's thesis explored the origins of child protection laws in England and the basis for initial public law intervention within the family. Rachel continues to publish in this area exploring issues such as the history of criminal child neglect, the inception of foster care and the disproportionate penalisation of poor parents throughout the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Rachel is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and holds a first class LLB from the University of Warwick. She is also a Queen Mother Scholar for the Honourable Society of Middle Temple Inn and a Diversity Access Scholar for the Law Society of England and Wales.

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Modules taught

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More information


Cretney and Probert's Family Law (11th ed, Sweet and Maxwell) 2023

'The origins of public foster care in England' Legal Studies (in preparation)

'Train them in habits of morality: Did boarding out deter poor law children from getting married?' Vol 25 Family and Community History 2023 

'A newborn of respectable birth would have weighed more: Class, gender and child-neglect in late nineteenth century England' Vol 32 Child and Family Law Quarterly 2022, 189-211

'District Schools and the Erosion of Parental Rights under the Poor Laws: A Case Study from London 1889-1899' Vol 34 (3) Continuity and Change 2019, 401-423

'Evaluating marital stability in late-Victorian Camberwell' Vol 21 Family and Community History 2018, 38-50

Juvenile de-pauperisation: The journey from public childcare to English citizenship 1884-1900 (The University of Warwick, 2018)

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