Karen joined the University of Cumbria in February 2020 after having already spent thirty years in Higher Education. As a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, Karen taught on both business and law undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, taking up roles of module leader and programme leader. Key areas of teaching included Contract Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law and Jurisprudence and in 2005, Karen was nominated to a shortlist of five for Association of Law Teachers' Law Teacher of the Year. She achieved her doctorate in 2006 and passed the New York Bar Exam in 2009. Karen also took on the roles of Prinicipal Lecturer, Head of Law, Associate Dean for Student Experience and Deputy Dean before joining the University of Cumbria.

As Director of the Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, Karen is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Institute as well as the leadership and management of over 110 staff and a diverse portfolio including business, criminology, law, and policing. The portfolio includes both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as a significant part of the university's apprenticeship offer (Chartered Management and Project Management). The Institute is also a key player in working with organisations in the region and beyond, particularly in the delivery of its Project Management apprenticeship (BAE, Rolls Royce and the BBC) and it CPD provision (Sellafield). 

Qualifications and memberships

iPhD Education and Applied Linguistics University of Newcastle upon Tyne "The Right to Education: Conflicts in Rehtoric and Reality"

MA Education (Learning and Teaching) University of Sunderland

LLB (Hons) Polytechnic of Wales

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academic

Quality Discovery Insights Practitioner


Academic and research interests

For the most part my research interest lies in understanding the concept of the right to education and this was the focus of my PhD. The UN Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention give clear recognition to a right to education. The domestic regulatory framework imposes significant obligations on all the key players within the state education system and politicians seek to reinforce the idea that parents are consumer of education with clear, identified rights. The UN Special Rapporteur for Education at the time of writing had identified the importance of a legal symmetry between rights and duties; rights cannot exist without obligations and ought to be accompanied by access to remedies for denials and violations. She noted that despite a significant amount of jurisprudence, there had been no analysis identifying the nature and scope of the right to education in England. My thesis provided that analysis demonstrating, through a critical examination of relevant legislative provisions, together with the judicial precedents of both the European and English courts, that the right to education has little, if any, legal value. It concluded that the judicial interpretation of legislative provisions is so wide as to deny the possibility of successful claims for a denial of the right to education. Further, it identified that there is little evidence of any legal symmetry between rights and remedies. The language of consumerism prevalent within compulsory education is inappropriate and mistakenly reflects the existence of rights, which simply do not materialize. Children are regarded as entirely incompetent, incapable of possessing rights themselves and no account is taken - as in other areas of law - of the child's increasing maturity and ability to contribute to the decision-making process. My supervisor was Professor James Tooley, Professor of Education Policy at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Director of the E.G. West Centre.

Research supervision

Three successful completions (2 x PhDs; 1 x DProf)



Barkas, L., Scott, J., Hadley, K. and Dixon-Todd, Y. (2021) "Marketing students’ meta-skills, and employability: between the lines of social capital in the context of the Teaching Excellence Framework", International Journal Education and Training, Emerald Publishing

Hoy, C and Hadley, K (2016) ‘Enhancing Student Engagement through the development and Implementation of a learner centered paradigm’. University of Aston May 2016 Chartered Association of Business School’s Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference


Hadley, K. (2008)Human rights: a rare example of parent power in the classroom’ Law Teach. 2008, 42(2), 236- 241

Hadley, K. (2008) ‘The Right to Education: Conflicts in Rhetoric and Reality’ Gender, Family Responsibility and Legal Change’ University of Sussex July 2008