Rachel Charman

Rachel Charman

Birmingham Law School
Teaching Fellow
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact details

Rachel Charman is a lawyer-linguist who works part time at University of Birmingham.  She also runs her own training business, Rachel Charman English and Law, which trains groups of Chinese government lawyers and judges in various aspects of the English Legal System.


  • BA (Hons) Oriental Studies (Chinese), St Anne’s College, Oxford University
  • Modern Chinese Language, National Taiwan Normal University
  • CPE and LPC (GDL and LPC equivalents), Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University)
  • Qualified as a solicitor since 1993
  • Cambridge University Certificate of English Language Teaching (CELTA)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


After her Chinese studies and two years’ work in China, Rachel trained as a solicitor and practiced for ten years. Having started teaching in China, she continued this in the evenings throughout her legal career, teaching English and then lecturing Legal Executive students in the law core subjects at Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham.  She left practice in 2001 to join the new University of Law (UL) in Birmingham.  After 13 years, Rachel left UL to start her training business and freelanced as a Visiting Lecturer (VL)  at various local universities, with a three year spell as a part time senior lecturer at Birmingham City University. She started carrying out VL work for UoB in 2017, and in 2021 became a part time Teaching Fellow.


Since the late 1990s, Rachel has taught and designed courses in most of the seven core academic law subjects, but specialises in Public Law, EU law and Family Law.. She wrote those modules for UL’s new LLB degree, and also wrote an in-house EU law textbook for UL students.  She has also taught and designed courses in many ‘skills’ subjects such as Advocacy, Interviewing, Civil and Criminal Litigation. At UoB, Rachel currently teaches Public Law, EU law and Law, Justice and Ethics.


As a lawyer-linguist, Rachel is part of the Law and Language Research Group at UoB.  Through her work in her Chinese training business over the last ten years she has become increasingly  interested in how legal terms are translated into other languages.  When producing learning materials in Chinese, she frequently finds that there is disagreement among Chinese lawyers and linguists as to the appropriate Chinese term for an English concept (e.g. ‘The Rule of Law’).  This disagreement often has a political aspect. Rachel therefore began to work with academics in Hong Kong, in particular members of the group who translated the English-Language ‘Basic Law’ of Hong Kong into Chinese in the 1990s.  This led her to the concept of ‘language engineering’ – sometimes, new words have to be invented by translators, and there may be disagreement among them. Rachel is gradually developing her own work as a ‘language engineer’.