The Law and Public Affairs Discussion Group will celebrate 20 years of Prof. William Twining's Hamlyn Lecture with our special term event Reflecting on Blackstone's Tower and the English Law School: 20 years on. After coffee and refreshments at 16:45, we will start our discussion at 17h00 with three discussants covering different parts of the book (Law in culture and society; Law in the universities; What are Law Schools for?; Law School culture; Law Library; Legal scholarship and the roles of the jurist, the quest for a core) and themes from their own research agenda (e.g., diversity, socio-legal studies, and legal profession) that are also related to Blackstone's Tower:

  • Prof. Fiona Cownie holds a chair in Law at Keele since 2006 and became Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) in September 2013. Her work covers all areas of legal education. It includes analysis of the ways in which law is taught, especially arguments about the importance of educational theory and philosophy to legal education. It also includes work on the purpose of the law school and on relationships between the academic study of law and vocational training as required by the legal professions. Professor Cownie has also written a monograph and a series of articles exploring different aspects of legal academic life.
  • Prof. Fernanda Pirie is Associate Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford, Director of Graduate Studies, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. An anthropologist, Prof. Pirie has used her research into legal practices and legal codes to develop the anthropology of law and recently published The Anthropology of Law (OUP, 2013). Her approach builds on themes and debated developed in the Legalism research group, which she convenes with colleagues in anthropology and history. Her research interests include also the English Bar.
  • Prof. Andrew Sanders is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology and Head of the Birmingham Law School. Professor Andrew Sanders researches on criminal justice from a socio-legal perspective and his publications include a textbook Criminal Justice (now in its 4th edition). He has used his knowledge to develop and implement policy by advising on several governmental and third sector bodies, and serving on Parole Boards/Commissions. He also has Board-level experience of higher education by being a Trustee of a university-sector college, and is active in UK legal education policy through his leadership role in CHULS (Committee of Heads of University Law Schools).

After their commentaries on Blackstone's Tower and the English Law School, Prof. William Twining will respond to their comments and reflect on the subject of legal education nowadays. After Prof. William Twining's exposition, there will be a Q&A session for further discussion.

  • Prof. William Twining held the chair of Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at UCL until 1996, taught also in Belfast and Warwick and had numerous visiting appointments. At the start of his career William Twining taught for seven years in Sudan and Tanzania. He has maintained an interest in Eastern Africa, and more broadly the Commonwealth, ever since. He has studied and taught in several leading UK and American law schools. A prominent member of the Law in Context movement, he has contributed especially to jurisprudence, evidence and proof, legal method, legal education, and intellectual history.His recent work explores the implications of globalisation for legal scholarship and legal theory. Central themes include the variety and complexity of legal phenomena; that many so-called global processes and patterns are sub-global, linked to empires, diasporas, alliances and legal traditions; that diffusion, legal pluralism, and surface law are important topics for both analytical and empirical jurisprudence; that, in a world characterised by profound diversity of beliefs and radical poverty, the discipline of law needs to engage with problems of constructing just and workable supra-national institutions and practices; and that adopting a global perspective challenges some of the main working assumptions of Western traditions of academic law.