Helen Scott is Professor of Private Law in the Oxford Law Faculty and Tutorial Fellow in Law at Lady Margaret Hall. Her research interests fall within the law of obligations and civilian legal history (particularly Roman law). She is the author of Unjust Enrichment in South African Law: Rethinking Enrichment by Transfer (Hart, 2013), recently reviewed by Hector MacQueen in the South African Law Journal (here), and is currently writing a textbook on the South African law of delict with Anton Fagan and Alistair Price of the University of Cape Town. She is also working on projects concerning the history of the concept of foreseeability, the taxonomy of the law of unjust/unjustified enrichment, and the significance of hurt feelings in establishing the delict of iniuria.

She studied classics and law at the University of Cape Town and subsequently completed BCL (2000), MPhil (2001) and DPhil (2005) degrees at Oxford. Before taking up her current position at Oxford she was a professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Cape Town, where she taught courses on comparative legal history, delict, unjustified enrichment and Roman law. Between 2005 and 2009 she was a tutorial fellow in law at St Catherine's College Oxford, and before that a fixed-term fellow at Trinity College. Between 2008 and 2014 she was also a visiting professor at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), where she taught a course in the common law of tort. At Oxford she teaches courses on Roman law, tort, contract and the restitution of unjust enrichment.

In December 2017 she received a B rating (denoting an 'internationally acclaimed researcher') from the South African National Research Foundation.


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  • R Evans-Jones and Helen Scott, 'Lord Atkin, Donoghue v Stevenson and the Lex Aquilia: Civilian Roots of the "Neighbour" Principle' in PJ du Plessis (ed), Wrongful Damage to Property in Roman Law: British Perspectives (Edinburgh University Press 2018)
    ISBN: ISBN 978-1-4744-3446-1
  • Helen Scott and Anton Fagan, 'Regulating Risk Through Private Law: South Africa' in Matthew Dyson (ed), Regulating Risk Through Private Law (Intersentia 2018)
  • Helen Scott, '“South Africa” in “Reflections on the Restitution Revolution”' in Sarah Worthington, Andrew Robertson and Graham Virgo (eds), Revolution and Evolution in Private Law (Hart Publishing 2018)
  • Helen Scott, 'JF Uys, Harm by Animals: The South African Law through the Cases (Fontes Iuris, 2012)' (2017) 134 South African Law Journal 712 [Review]
  • Helen Scott, 'Transforming the South African Law of Unjustified Enrichment' (2017) 25 Restitution Law Review 29
    ISBN: ISSN 1351-170X
  • Helen Scott, 'Defence, Denial or Cause of Action? “Enrichment Owed” and the Absence of a Legal Ground' in James Goudkamp and Frederick Wilmot-Smith  (eds), Defences in Unjust Enrichment (Hart Publishing 2016)
  • Helen Scott, 'The Death of Doctrine?—Private Law Scholarship in South African Today' in Jürgen Basedow, Holger Fleischer and Reinhard Zimmermann (eds), Legislators, Judges, and Professors (Mohr Siebeck 2016)
  • Helen Scott, 'Liber homo suo nomine utilem Aquiliae habet actionem: D. 9,2,13 pr in context' in Jan Hallebeek, Martin Schermaier, Roberto Fiori, Ernest Metzger and Jean-Pierre Coriat (ed), Inter cives necnon peregrinos: Essays in honour of Boudewijn Sirks (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2014)
  • Helen Scott, 'Rationalising the South African law of enrichment' (2014) 18 Edinburgh Law Review 433
  • Helen Scott, 'Contumelia and the South African Law of Defamation' in Helen Scott and Eric Descheemaeker (eds), Iniuria and the Common Law (Hart Publishing 2013)
  • Eric Descheemaeker and Helen Scott (eds), Iniuria and the Common Law (Hart Publishing 2013)
  • Helen Scott, 'Iniuria and the Common Law' in Helen Scott and Eric Descheemaeker (eds), Iniuria and the Common Law (Hart Publishing 2013)
  • Helen Scott, 'Jacques du Plessis, The South African Law of Unjustified Enrichment (Juta, 2012)' (2013) 24 Stellenbosch Law Review 638 [Review]
  • Helen Scott, 'Killing and Causing Death in Roman Law' (2013) 129 Law Quarterly Review 101
  • Helen Scott, 'Pits and Pruners: Culpa and Social Practice in Digest 9.2' in Andrew Burrows, David Johnston and Reinhard Zimmermann (eds), Judge and Jurist: Essays in Memory of Lord Rodger of Earslferry  (Oxford University Press 2013)
  • Helen Scott, Unjust Enrichment in South African Law: Rethinking Enrichment by Transfer (Hart Publishing 2013)
  • Helen Scott and Daniel Visser, 'Excess baggage? Rethinking risk allocation in the Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment' (2012) 92 Boston University Law Review 859
  • Helen Scott, 'Absolute ownership and legal pluralism in Roman law: two arguments’ Acta Juridica [2011] 23–34' [2011] Acta Juridica 23
  • Helen Scott and Daniel Visser, 'The impact of legal culture on the law of unjustified enrichment: the role of reasons' in Elise Bant and Matthew Harding (eds), Exploring Private Law  (Cambridge University Press 2010)
  • Helen Scott, 'Daniel Visser, Unjustified Enrichment (Juta, 2008)' (2009) 17 Restitution Law Review 258 [Review]
  • Helen Scott, 'Ernest Metzger, Litigation in Roman Law (OUP, 2005)' (2007) 66 Cambridge Law Journal 234 [Review]
  • Helen Scott, 'Liability for the mass publication of private information in South African law: NM v Smith (Freedom of Expression Institute as Amicus Curiae)' (2007) 18 Stellenbosch Law Review 387
  • Helen Scott, 'The requirement of excusable mistake in the context of the condictio indebiti: Scottish and South African law compared' (2007) 124 South African Law Journal 827
  • Helen Scott, 'Omnes unius aestimemus assis: A note on Liability for Defamation in Catullus V’' (2006) 3 Roman Legal Tradition 95
  • Helen Scott, 'Restitution of extra-contractual transfers: limits of the absence of legal ground analysis’' (2006) 14 Restitution Law Review 93
  • Helen Scott and Nicholas Barber, 'State Liability under Francovich for Decisions of National Courts' (2004) 120 Law Quarterly Review 403

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