Sir Ross Cranston FBA

Administrative support: Bradley Barlow

Sir Ross Cranston is a judge of the High Court, Queens Bench Division. He is also a Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was a member of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom from 1997-2005. He was Solicitor General from 1998-2001. Previously he was Centennial Professor and Cassel Professor of Commercial Law at LSE. Before that he was Lubbock Professor of Banking Law and Director of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary & Westfield College. He was educated in Australia and at Harvard Law School and Oxford. He has held consultancies with UNCTAD, the World Bank, the IMF and the Commonwealth Secretariat to advise different countries on commercial, banking and securities laws. He has also undertaken peer reviews of the legal system for the European Commission in Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey. He was a long time member of the legal advisory panel of the National Consumer Council in Britain until 1997 and chair of trustees of the whistleblower’s charity, Public Concern at Work. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Research Interests

Presently his main research interest is the history of commercial law in Britain as it relates mainly to manufacturing, trade and finance in the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth centuries.

External Activities
  • President of International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law 2004-6

  • European Commission Expert (with Chamber President Judge Bjornberg) on Functioning of the Judiciary System in Turkey, 2005

  • Member, Advisory Council, Public Concern at Work (the whistleblowers’ charity)

  • Trustee, BUILD-IT (promoting sustainable building)

  • Chair, Expert Working Group on Legal Implications of the Interdiction of Terrorist Property, Society of Legal Scholars (2001-2)


How Law Works (Oxford, OUP, 2006), i-xiii, 1-325 

How Law Works

Access to justice, equality before the law, and the rule of law are three fundamental values underpinning the civil justice system. This book examines these values and how, although they do not have great leverage in decision making by the courts, they are a crucial foundation of the civil justice system and a powerful argument for arrangements such as legal aid, the impartial application of law, and the independence of the judiciary.

The second theme of this book concerns the role of procedure, often regarded as of secondary importance compared with substantive law. Taking the definition of procedure at its widest, the book discusses Lord Woolf's Inquiry, and demonstrates how procedural reform can maximize a fundamental value like access to justice. This linkage is furthered in a later analysis of access to justice comparatively, in relation to civil and commercial law.

Thirdly, the book looks at understanding how law works, and how it could be made to work better, and concludes that this demands both a knowledge of law and of law's context. This theme offers a framework for the book, which then goes on to deal with the machinery of the law, and discusses what the courts do, civil procedure, and the ethics of lawyer's conduct, all in relation to the broader context of access to justice.

This broader context of the law is particularly prominent in the latter half of the book which deals with various dimensions of the impact of the law. Including studies of civil and social rights in practice, the role of European law in the destruction of Aboriginal society in Australia, and commercial law in Asia, these examples raise issues about the gap between the law and reality, the potential law has to destroy social patterns, and the relationship between law and economic development.


Principles of Banking Law, 2nd edition (Oxford, OUP, 2002), i-xiii, 1-470 

Principles of Banking Law

Written by a leading figure in the field, this book provides the most authoritative treatment of international banking and services law, with in-depth expert coverage of global banking regulation, global payment systems, international bond instruments and foreign exchange systems Unlike other texts, Cranston takes an international perspective on the subject, thus helping locate domestic banking/financial law in its wider context.


Cranston’s Consumers and the Law, 3rd edition, C. Scott & J. Black (ed) (London, Butterworths, 2000) (Law in Context Series), i-xxvi, 1-546 

Cranston's Consumers - cover

The third edition of Cranston's Consumers and the Law brings the reader fully up to date with developments in consumer law and includes important new material on utilities and financial services regulation. An internet home page has also been established for readers of this book. The home page has two main purposes. First, it provides links to websites containing primary sources such as codes, consultation documents and reports which are not always accessible in law libraries. Secondly it provides periodic updating information on key developments in law and policy.


Law, Government and Public Policy (Melbourne, Oxford, 1987), i-xiv, 1-247 

Legal Foundations of the Welfare State (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985) (Law in Context Series), i-xxxv, 1-453

Regulating Business (London, Macmillan, 1979, Oxford Socio-Legal Studies), xi + 186

Selected articles / chapters in books

“Commercial Lore and Commercial Law” in J. Lowry & L. Mistelis (eds), Commercial Law: Perspectives and Practice (London, LexisNexis, 2006)

Commercial Law - cover

Commercial Law: Perspectives & Practice features innovative contributions from today’s top commercial lawyers looking at the future direction of commercial law.

Unique and with a strong practical focus, the book contains authoritative and wide-ranging commentary on commercial law from esteemed experts in the field. Including contributions on commercial topics from arbitration to security, and from contract to tax avoidance, its UK focus is complemented by penetrating global comparisons.


“Globalisation. Its Historical Context” in S. Worthington (ed.), Commercial Law and Commercial Practice (Oxford, Hart, 2004), 1-23

Commercial Law and Commercial Practice - cover

This edited collection brings together leading scholars and practitioners from various jurisdictions with essays and commentaries co-ordinated around the theme of alignments and misalignments between commercial law and commercial practice. The purpose of the book is to prompt a more critical and constructive reassessment of current commercial law and its practices, and to instigate a more fruitful dialogue between academics, judges, law reformers and practitioners.

The result is a series of provocative and challenging essays addressing an enormous range of problems that are of intimate concern to commercial practice. Some essays focus on broad themes, such as globalization and trust. Others address more specific issues, such as contract interpretation or constraining modern management. Yet another group targets special problems, such as dematerialisation or super-priority, in order to assess the success of commercial law in meeting commercial demands. The depth and breadth of issues addressed is a credit to the authors. Taken as a whole, the volume makes some pointed suggestions for improving the practices and processes, and indeed the future progress, of commercial law.