Professor William A. Robson (Professor of Public Administration, 1947-1962)

robson, william

W.A. Robson came to LSE shortly after the First World War, studying for the BSc (Econ), a PhD and an LLM. Although called to the bar in 1922, he was appointed as a lecturer at the School in 1926 and remained here for the rest of his career. Robson’s great achievement was to do more than any other scholar to establish the study of administrative law in the UK. He made his mark early with a remarkable study, Justice and Administrative Law (1928), a work that demonstrated beyond doubt that there existed a vast body of administrative law and that the challenge was to reduce it to order and coherence. This classic work was quickly followed by major studies on local government and city planning and, after the Second World War, on national industries and social security. In 1948, Robson assumed the Chair of Public Administration at the School. Working at the intersection of law and policy, he also made important contributions beyond scholarship through his founding of the Greater London Group at the School, which produced policy-based evidence on London government. He was active in consultancy at home and abroad, and held the editorship (with Leonard Woolf) of Political Quarterly from its founding in 1930 through to 1975.