Professor of Law, Newcastle University

I became an academic in 2000, after spending some years in commercial practice. I have been at Newcastle Law School since September 2012, having previously worked at the University of York and the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

My teaching and research focus on the law of obligations and related aspects of commercial law, legal history, legal theory and comparative law. Much of my recent research uses history to analyse current legal questions, with specific emphasis on the intellectual, social, economic and other influences that shape legal change. I was awarded the ICLQ Young Scholar Prize in 2010 and the SLS Best Paper Prize in 2009 (with Lindsay Stirton).

Projects I have recently completed include an analysis of the reaction of lawyers and judges in developing countries to the introduction of transplanted harmonised laws, a historical study of the development of remedies against the state in the 20th century, and an analysis of the role played by equity in contractual transactions. I have also recently edited a collection (jointly with Jenny Steele) titled Tort Law and the Legislature: Common law, statute and the dynamics of legal change (Hart, 2012), to which I also contributed a piece analysing the debates surrounding the question of Crown liability in the early 20th century.

I have a strong interest in the use of empirical methodologies in the study of law. Together with Lindsay Stirton (Sussex), I pioneered the extension of Qualitative Comparative Analysis to law (for which we jointly received the SLS Best Paper Prize in 2009). Lindsay and I have also used Bayesian Item-response models to examine the nature and significance of differences between judges on the Supreme Court (and its predecessor, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords), and to examine the impact of the Human Rights Act on their decisions.

I also have a strong interest in teaching pedagogy, and have done considerable work on problem-based approaches to legal education, particularly in relation to using them as vehicles for discussing theoretical and contextual issues.


  • 2012–present
    Professor of Law, Newcastle University


  • 2008 
    University of East Anglia, Ph.D. in Law