Michael Zander took a Double First Honours Degree at Cambridge, obtained a First Class in the LLB and was awarded the Whewell Scholarship in International Law. He took an LLM at Harvard and worked for a year with Sullivan and Cromwell on Wall Street. He then returned to this country, qualified as a solicitor and practised for a period before joining the Department in 1963. He was appointed to a Chair in 1977. He was Convenor of the Department from 1984 to 1988 and again in 1997-98. He was made an Honorary QC in 1997.
His main fields have always been Criminal and Civil Procedure, Legal System, Legal Profession and Legal Services. His many books include four that are especially well known to generations of law students: Cases and Materials on the English Legal System (9th ed., 2003), The Law Making Process (6th ed., 2004), A Bill of Rights? (4th ed. 1997) and The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (5th ed.2005) which is used extensively also by practising lawyers, police officers and judges. In 1999 he gave the Hamlyn Lectures under the title The State of Justice (Sweet & Maxwell, 2000).
He was a member of the Runciman Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (1991-1993). In addition to being a member of the Commission he also conceived and conducted the Commission's largest research project - The Crown Court Study - the biggest study ever carried out in the English courts.
For twenty-five years (1963-1988) he was Legal Correspondent of The Guardian for whom he wrote over two thousand articles. Since 1988 he has been a freelance legal journalist writing articles for different papers. He is a frequent broadcaster on legal issues on both radio and television.
Professor Zander retired from full-time teaching in September 1998.