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Public Lecture: "A.W.B. Simpson in Context: The Life of Brian"

Date: 22 May 2012 Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Moot Court Room, London School of Economics.

Date: 22nd May 2012 6.30pm.

Venue: Moot Court Room, London School of Economics, 7th floor, New Academic Building, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

The death of Brian Simpson (1931-2011) has robbed academic law of one of its leading and most popular figures. This paper examines Simpson's influential contribution to the history of law in the context of the interplay between his personal and professional development.

The paper discusses the influence of his background, childhood, education (notably, his time reading Law at Oxford, and the importance of Derek Hall and HLA Hart on his thinking), his career in the British army and as a university law professor at schools ranging from Oxford, Cambridge, Kent and the University of Ghana to the Universities of Chicago and Michigan.

It is argued that Simpson's published work on the history of law and legal process spans three distinct but overlapping phases: the doctrinal phase (c. 1956-87); the leading cases in context phase (c. 1982-1996); and the history of human rights and colonialism phase (c. 1987-2011). Each phase is examined, assessed and related to both Simpson's personal and professional life.

The recent publication of Simpson's final book, Reflections on 'The Concept of Law' (Oxford University Press, 2011) renders a critical evaluation of Simpson's life and work especially timely. The paper draws upon interviews, correspondence and discussions with Brian Simpson and original archival research.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: David Sugarman

Associated projects: The transformation of English legal education and scholarship since 1945

Organising departments and research centres: Law


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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