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Mr Fred Motson

Profile summary

Professional biography

After teaching Law part-time while studying for the Bar, Fred was called to the Bar in 2008 but decided to instead pursue the academic study of law. Fred began his career at the University of Westminster, achieving first lectureship and then senior lectureship. After leaving Westminster Fred combined a wide array of teaching and assessment-focused roles including lecturing on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Buckingham, working for Kaplan Open Learning at the University of Essex, for BPP University on their LPC and LLB programmes and working as Partnership Curriculum Leader for Law at the University of Northampton.

He also maintained strong links to the profession in providing CPD for legal professionals through Central Law Training and continues to combine his Open University role with involvement as a marking team leader for the Bar Standards Board and a Chief Examiner and Reviewer for The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Fred joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Law in 2020.


Research interests

Fred has a wide range of research interests which include sports law, property law and the law of obligations. He has a particular interest in the intersection between law and technology, both in how technology can shape or change the practice of law and in how law responds to technological advances.

Fred founded, along with his colleague Dr Sophie Doherty, the Law and Humanities Research Cluster within the OU Law School in 2022. Fred's work in law and humanities focuses on how representations of the law in science fiction can inform legal policy today. Law and humanities is one of a number of areas where he takes a interdisciplinary approach, having also carried out interdisciplinary work on law and psychology (forthcoming 2023), and much of Fred's work is sociolegal in nature. 

This includes his ongoing part-time study toward a Doctorate of Philosophy with the Open University. His thesis, provisionally entitled "The Herculean Referee in the Age of Technology", will explore how the introduction of technological decision-making aids has impacted on the role of the referee in interpreting and applying the rules of sport. Fred intends to focus on the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in professional football and his research will examine the extent to which legal theory (particularly that of Ronald Dworkin) can inform and assist match officials in training, preparing and performing their role. He is supervised by Professor Simon Gardiner and Professor Stephanie Pywell of the Open University and Professor Simon Lee of Aston University.

Fred is currently working, in collaboration with Professor Pywell, on a large-scale empirical research project exploring how people who led weddings and similar ceremonies felt about, and implemented, COVID-related laws and guidance at ceremonies, and how these things changed when all restrictions were removed on 'freedom day', 19 July 2021.


Most recent publications

Motson, F. (2021) 'Space invaders: the legal status of meteorites in England and wales' Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, vol. 3, pp. 278. Read here (Westlaw) 

Motson, F. (2021) 'Geronimo the alpaca - the case for animals having the same legal rights as people' The Conversation, August 16 2021. Read here

Motson, F. (2021) 'Impractical Jokers: Employers' Liability for 'Horseplay'', Journal of Professional Negligence, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 73. Read here (Westlaw)


Most recent conference papers

Motson, F. (2022) 'Laying the foundations of frustration' The Neglected Decade: legal issues of the 1950s. Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 23 November. Watch here

Motson, F. (2021) 'The “accountability deficit” in sortition: is it a problem and what is the solution?' Questions of Accountability. Worcester, 1-5 November. Watch here (Routledge Prize for Best Paper - Post-Graduate Student)

Motson, F. (2021) 'The Rights of the Living Dead' Critical Legal Conference 2021: Frankenlaw. Dundee, 2-4 September.

Motson, F (2021) 'Future Law for Future Cities', Urban Assemblage : The City as Architecture, Media, AI and Big Data. London/Hatfield, 28-30 June. Watch here


Teaching interests

In his career to date, Fred has taught all of the "core" LLB subjects and has been involved in designing and leading modules in most of these areas. He has also taught across a range of qualifications from level 3 (i.e. "A" Level) to level 7 (i.e. postgraduate and professional study), including legal qualifications such as the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course Masters and in cross-disciplinary programmes in International Relations, Diplomacy and socio-legal studies.

Fred has written academic texts on, inter alia, contract law, advocacy, negotiation and the law of tort.


Most recent teaching and learning scholarship

Motson, F. (2022) 'Access to Justice' Postdigital Science and EducationRead here 

Motson, F. (2022) 'Contract Law and Colonialism' Legal History in the Curriculum. Open University, 15 December. Read accompanying blog here

Motson, F. (2022) 'Finding appropriate research sources' Belonging Project Lecture Series. Open University, 10 November. Read accompanying blog here



Double jeopardy: The effects of retrial knowledge on juror decisions (2024)
Munro, James; Motson, Fred; Frumkin, Lara; Turner, Jim and Curley, Lee
Journal of Criminal Psychology ((In press))

Access to Justice (2023-10)
Motson, Fred
Postdigital Science and Education (pp. 578-579)

Impractical Jokers: Employers' Liability for 'Horseplay' (2021-06-01)
Motson, Fred
Professional Negligence, 37(2) (pp. 73-84)

Space invaders: the legal status of meteorites in England and Wales (2021)
Motson, Fred
Conveyancer and Property Lawyer(3) (pp. 278-289)

The Rights of the Living Dead (2021-09)
Motson, Fred
In : Critical Legal Conference (CLC) 2021: Frankenlaw (2-4 Sep 2021, Dundee, Scotland)