Watch Professor Ben McFarlane's Inaugural Lecture in Law

The recording of Ben McFarlane’s inaugural lecture as Professor of English Law is now available on the Law Faculty’s YouTube site . The lecture was given on 31 March 2022, and was chaired by Lord Burrows JSC.

Ben McFarlane with colleagues, in procession to the Sheldonian lecture theatre

The title of the lecture is “The Persistence of Equity: Lessons from the Trust”. It has two points of departure. First, the view that English law is characteristically pragmatic, “more comfortable with practice than theory”; second, the view that the trust consists of a division between common law title and equitable title. It challenges each of those views, and argues that the practical success of the trust can only continue if its conceptual nature is understood. This involves identifying a particular function of equity as providing rules and principles which regulate the use of existing legal entitlements. There are references along the way to Maitland, F. Scott Fitzgerald, proprietary estoppel, and a planned series of musicals based on the life of Hohfeld. An online word game, popular at the time, also features in passing.