Professor David Sugarman

Emeritus Professor

Research Overview

DAVID SUGARMAN is Professor of Law Emeritus at the Law School of Lancaster University, UK; Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London; and Senior Associate of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. Having gained an undergraduate law degree (LLB) at Hull University, he completed graduate work in law at Cambridge University as a William Senior Scholar in Comparative Law (LLM and Diploma in Comparative Legal Studies), and Harvard Law School (LLM), where he was awarded a doctorate (SJD). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History. His writing and teaching engage with law, history, politics and society, traversing legal history, company law, international human rights (with reference to the struggle to prosecute Augusto Pinochet and the 'human rights turn' in post-Pinochet Chile), the legal profession, legal education, European anti-discrimination law, women’s rights and gender equality, law and literature, law and the visual, legal life writing and socio-legal studies.

David has authored, co-authored and edited 24 books (including special issues of journals), and has written over 100 articles and book chapters. He contributed to the New Oxford Companion to Law, the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Economic History, the Oxford Reader's Companion to Charles Dickens, and the Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment. He has also published articles in The Times (of London), The Guardian, The Santiago Times (Chile), Open Democracy and El Mostrador, and has contributed to TV (including ITN and CNN) and radio (e.g. BBC Radio 4 and World Service, and Vienna Public Radio) on legal history and international human rights. His published work has been translated into Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

The recipient of research grants and scholarships within and beyond the UK, David has undertaken commissioned research for governments, inter-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations, most recently, the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Union Parliament Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee and the Law Society of England and Wales. He has held Visiting Professorships in Canada, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the USA, and has delivered over 300 invited lectures in more than 20 countries.

David has been extensively involved in institution building, through his leadership in creating and sustaining law schools in London and Lancaster, and through the establishment of and involvement in national and international working groups, associations, seminar and conference programmes and multi-authored, inter-disciplinary, and transnational scholarship. This has included engaging with non-academic and non-legal audiences.

As Founding Director, David established at Lancaster University the first Centre for Law and Society and the first Master’s Degree (LL.M,) Programme, “Law in History” in England and Wales. He also inaugurated and co-arranged the bi-annual Iredell Lecture Series in Law and History at Lancaster University. He founded and co-organised (with Paul Brand and John Styles) the first “History of Law and Society” Seminar Series in London (at the Institute of Historical Research, London University), inaugurated the “Legal History” Section of the Society of Legal Scholars and the “Cultural Histories of the Legal Professions” Section of the Working Group on Comparative Legal Professions, International Sociological Association (with Wes Pue), and convened the first conference on “Law and Society” under the auspices of History Workshop (with Joanna Innes and John Styles).

David has served as an Elected Trustee of the American Society for Legal History and the Law and Society Association and as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Legal History; Law and Society Review; Legal Ethics; The International Journal of the Legal Profession; The Canadian Journal of Law and Society; Studies in Law, Politics and Society; Continuity and Change: A Journal of Social Structure, Law and Demography; Law and Social Inquiry: Journal of the American Bar Foundation; Clio & Themis. European Electronic Journal of Law History; The Company Lawyer. At Lancaster, he Co-Directed, "Conceptualising the contemporary 'professions': interdisciplinary debates", an Economic and Social Research Council-funded Research Seminar Programme and The Lancaster Professions Network. He was also a founder member of the "Dynamics of Memories" Research Group, which investigates the politics of memory, and the Latin America Research Group.

David's assistance has been acknowledged by over 100 authors in more than 150 publications. He was awarded the Lancaster University Teaching Prize for innovative curriculum design and inspiring student learning.

Read and Access David’s Publications At:Academia:



David's most recent books are:

  • G.R. Rubin & David Sugarman, Editors. Law, Economy and Society, 1750-1914: Essays in the History of English Law (originally published in 1984) pp. 650. Reprinted in 2023 by LLMC Digital as an on-line, open-access download.
  • David Sugarman and Abdul Paliwala, Editors. Special Issue in Celebration of Peter Fitzpatrick and his Scholarship. International Journal of Law in Context Vol. 17, No. 1 2021.
  • David Sugarman and Avrom Sherr (eds.). Lawyers’ Empire, Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780–1950, W. Wesley Pue. A Special Issue of the International Journal of the Legal Profession vol. 24, No. 1, 2017 pp. 90. ISSN 0969-5958.
  • Linda Mulcahy and David Sugarman (eds.). Legal Life Writing: Marginalised Subjects and Sources. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. pp. 172. Journal of Law and Society Special Issue Book Series. ISBN: 978-1-119-05216-6.
  • Sylvia Walby, David Sugarman et al, Stopping Rape. Towards A Comprehensive Policy. Bristol: Policy Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781447322092

David's most recent essays, articles and reviews are: Contribution to Frontiers of Socio-Legal Studies blog, 15 March 2023.

“The Humanities and Law: More Intertwined Than You Might Think”. Lead blog in series, “Where Law Meets the Humanities”. (2022) Talking Humanities. School of Advanced Studies, University of London.

“Walking with Norman”. In Language and Power. Essays in Honour of Norman Fairclough. Isabela Fairclough, Jane Mulderrig and Karin Zotzmann (editors). London: Routledge, 2021 pp. 63-66.

“How America did (and didn't) influence English Legal Education, circa 1870-1965.” In American Legal Education Abroad: Critical Histories. Edited by Susan Bartie and David Sandomierski. New York: New York University Press, 2021 pp. 39-64.

“Becoming Peter Fitzpatrick (1941-2020)”. In Special Issue in Celebration of Peter Fitzpatrick and his Scholarship, International Journal of Law in Context. Vol. 17, no.1, 2021 pp. 2 – 16. Guest Editors, David Sugarman and Abdul Paliwala.

“Twining’s Tower and the Challenges of Making Law a Humanistic Discipline”. In: ‘Reflecting on Blackstone’s Tower’- A Special Issue of Amicus Curiae(the journal of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London). Guest Editors, Fiona Cownie and Emma Jones. (2021) Series 2, Vol 2, No 3, pp. 337-354.

“Robert Bocking Stevens 1933–2021. A Personal Appreciation of a Pioneering Socio-Legal Scholar.” Socio-Legal Newsletter. 2021, No. 94, Summer. pp.9-10.

“William Twining: The Man Who Radicalized the Middle Ground.” (2020) 16 International Journal of Law in Context pp.475-480.

Available at SSRN:

Jurist in Context: William Twining in Conversation with David Sugarman.” (2020) 47 (2) Journal of Law and Society pp. 195-220. Co-authored with William Twining. Open access:

“Law, Law-Consciousness and Lawyers as Constitutive of Early Modern England: Christopher W. Brooks’s Singular Journey”. In Law and Litigants in Early Modern English Society. Essays in Memory of Christopher W. Brooks ed. Michael Lobban, Joanne Begiato, Adrian Green (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019) pp. 32-57.

Available at SSRN:

“W.Wesley Pue (1954-2019): A Personal Appreciation”. RCSL Newsletter. (International Sociological Association Research Committee on Sociology of Law) No 2, 2019 pp. 29-31

SSRN Download

Book Review: Anthony Page and Wilfrid Prest, eds. Blackstone and His Critics. Oxford: Hart, 2018. (2019) 58 Journal of British Studies pp.629-631.

Robert W. Gordon in Conversation with David Sugarman”, (2018) Law and History Review Digital Edition (The Docket):


Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 653, Available at SSRN:

“Promoting Dialogue Between History and Socio-legal Studies: The Contribution of Christopher W. Brooks and the ‘Legal Turn’ in Early Modern English History,” (2017) 44 Journal of Law and Society issue S1, pp. S37- S60.

“Editorial”. In: David Sugarman and Avrom Sherr (eds.). Lawyers’ Empire, Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780–1950, W. Wesley Pue. A Special Issue of the International Journal of the Legal Profession vol. 24, No. 1, (2017) pp. 1-2.

“Foreword”. In: W. Wesley Pue, Lawyers’ Empire, Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780–1950 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016). pp. ix-xii.

Publications in Press and in Preparation

  • Histories of English Law and Society, 1600-2020: Transcending Disciplinary Tribalism. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2024.
  • Prosecuting Pinochet.
  • Prominent Law Professors speak about their Lives and about University Legal Education and Scholarship in England, c.1930 to 1990.


On-line Conference Presentations Include:

“The ‘Pinochet Effect’– the Impact of Transnational Legal Action”. Event Marking the 15th Anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s Arrest in London. The State Parliament of Berlin, 30 September 2013.

“Quotas as an Instrument of Non-Discrimination and Positive Action”. Conference, “Getting Women on Board. Will the EU Do What It Takes?”. The European Parliament, Brussels, 7 March 2013.

On-line Interviews

“Hart Interviewed: H.L.A. Hart in Conversation with David Sugarman”.

Overview of the worldwide best practices for rape prevention & assisting women victims of rape
01/11/2012 → 31/10/2014

Gender quotas in management boards
01/01/2012 → 31/03/2012

Battlegrounds of Memory and Justice
01/09/2011 → 28/02/2015

  • African Studies Group
  • Centre for Law and Society
  • Dynamics of Memories
  • Latin America Research Cluster