Legal biographies and autobiographies are a rich and important source of information about the legal system, the evolution of case law and statute and legal cultures more generally. Yet, despite a growing interest over the last fifty years in the information such studies contain, they have been much neglected in the study of law.
The Legal Biography Project, convened by the Law Department at the LSE, seeks to remedy this omission by providing a focus in Britain for biographical research in law. The aim of the project is to create a rich foundation for scholarship on legal history, legal biography and the history of the legal profession. Drawing on published works, official records, personal letters, oral histories, art work and film we aim to facilitate a broader discussion than has taken place to date about ideas of lawyering, judgecraft, judicial identity, judicial diversity and the changes which have occurred to these notions over time.
The pursuit of this goal has two main aspects. First, the Project aims to promote scholarship in the field through a number of activities, including workshops and public lectures, and the establishment of a network of scholars working in related fields in both other departments at LSE and beyond;
Second, the Project aims to raise funds to develop the collection of legal biographies that it received through the generous bequest of an anonymous donor in 2011. Full details about the collection, and a catalogue to enable research access, will be uploaded to this website in late November 2011.
The project is managed by Professor Michael Lobban FBA and Professor Linda Mulcahy of the LSE Law Department, with the support of an advisory board of external experts led by Sir Ross Cranston FBA.
Staff in the law Department are currently working on two projects that have relevance to the way that stories about law and the judiciary are told. The first of these is the Irish Feminist Judgments project which is exploring how seminal cases might have been decided differently if a feminist had been judging:http://www.feministjudging.ie/. The second AHRC funded project focuses on how judicial identity and biography are mediated by images of the judiciary: http://judicial.images.org
Sources of Funding for MPhil/PhD Projects
Legal Biography Project: Judicial Interviews
The Legal Biographies Project is very pleased to announce the posting on its website of seven substantial video interviews with senior lawyers involved in some of the most profound constitutional changes affecting the judiciary in the UK for many years. The interviews were conducted by the legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg for the Constitution Unit of University College. We are very pleased to have worked in partnership with the Constitution Unit in finding the videos a permanent home. We believe that these interviews will be an invaluable resource for researchers, students and the press for some years to come
Click here to browse the video interviews.
The Legal Biographies Book Collection
The Legal Biographies Book Collection is housed within the LSE Law Department in room 6.18 of the New Academic Building. The Collection is available for public access during normal Reception hours, 10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday. Appointments, however, are essential: please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time. Please note that this is a reference collection only, and all researchers will be required to provide appropriate identification, and to fill out a form, in order to access the Collection. Access to photocopying services can be arranged through Reception.
Click here to browse the catalogue of books in the Legal Biographies Book Collection.
Links to other scholarly projects
Eminent Scholars Archive (University of Cambridge)
First 100 Years
'Exploring the Social World of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards', a research collaboration between the Legal Biography Project and National Life Stories (British Library)
South Asian Legal History Resources website
(in particular South Asians at the Inns)
Women Trailblazer Project
Legal Biography Project Co-ordinators
Professor Michael Lobban FBA
Professor Linda Mulcahy
Professor Hugh Collins FBA
Professor W.R. Cornish FBA (Magdalene College, Cambridge)
Sir Ross Cranston FBA (chair)
Dr Stephen Cretney FBA (Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford)
Professor Neil Duxbury
Guy Holborn (Librarian, Lincoln's Inn)
Professor Nicola Lacey FBA
Professor Patrick Polden (Law School, Brunel University)