William Twining is Quain Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at University College London and an Associate of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, with which he has been involved in several capacities since the early 1970s. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy for Social Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

At the start of his career William Twining taught for seven years in Sudan and Tanzania and 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. He is a prominent member of the Law in Context movement, with significant contributions to jurisprudence,  evidence and proof, legal method, socio-legal studies,  legal education, and preservation of legal records.

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 requiring the attention of both analytical and empirically oriented jurists; that, in a world characterised by profound diversity of beliefs and radical poverty,  a more cosmopolitan  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.

Current Projects

  • Legal Records at Risk
  • Globalisation and legal theory


Recent additions

  • Twining, 'Legal R/realism and Jurisprudence: Ten Theses' in (ed), The New Legal Realism (New York: Cambridge University Press 2016)
  • Twining (ed), Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (Springer 2015)
  • Twining, 'LETR: The Role of Academics in Legal Education Training: Ten Theses' (2014) 48 Law Teacher 94

Chapter (4)

Twining, 'Legal R/realism and Jurisprudence: Ten Theses' in (ed), The New Legal Realism (New York: Cambridge University Press 2016)
Twining, 'Institutions of Law: Globalization, non-state law and legal pluralism' in M Del Mar | Z Bankowski (ed), Law as Institutional Normative Order (Ashgate 2009)
Twining, 'Law, Justice and Rights: Some Implications of a Global Perspective' in Ebbeson & Okowa (ed), Environmental Law and Justice (Cambridge University Press 2008)
Twining, 'The Law in Context Movement' in P Cane | J Conaghan (ed), The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford University Press 2008)

Edited Book (9)

Twining (ed), Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (Springer 2015)
Twining (ed), Evidence, Interference and Enquiry (Oxford University Press 2011)
Twining (ed), Human Rights: Southern Voices (Cambridge University Press 2009)
Twining (ed), Evidence and Interference in History and Law (Northwestern University Press 2003)
Twining (ed), Legal Records in the Commonwealth (Dartmouth 1994)
Twining (ed), Essays on Kelsen (Oxford University Press 1986)
Twining (ed), Legal Theory and Common Law (Basil Blackwell 1986)
Twining (ed), Sociological Jurisprudence and Realist Theories of Law (Duncker and Humblot 1986)
Twining (ed), Facts in Law (Weisbaden 1983)

Journal Article (11)

Twining, 'LETR: The Role of Academics in Legal Education Training: Ten Theses' (2014) 48 Law Teacher 94
Twining, 'Responding to Globalization' (2011) 49 Osgoode Law Journal 353
Twining, 'Globalisation and Comparative Law' (2007) 15 University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review 1
Twining, 'Glenn on Tradition: An Overview' (2006) Journal of Comparative Law 107
Twining, 'Taking Facts Seriously-Again' (2006) 55 Journal of Legal Education 360
Twining, 'Diffusion of Law: A Global Perspective' (2005) 49 Journal of Legal Pluralism 1
Twining, 'Have Concepts, Will Travel: Analytical Jurisprudence in a Global Context' (2005) International Journal of Law in Context 5
Twining, 'Social Science and Diffusion of Law' (2005) 32 Journal of Law and Society 203
Twining, 'A Post-Westphalian Conception of Law' (2003) 37 Law and Society Review 199
Twining, 'Evidence as a Multidisciplinary Subject' (2003) Law, Probablilty and Risk 91
Twining, 'Law Teaching as a Vocation' (2003) Speculum Iuris 161

Book (11)

Twining, Globalisation and Legal Scholarship (Wolf 2011)
Twining and D Miers, How To Do Things with Rules (5th edition Cambridge University Press 2010)
Twining, General Jurisprudence: Understanding Law from a Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2009)
Twining, Rethinking Evidence (2nd edition Cambridge University Press 2006)
Twining, T Anderson and D Schum, Analysis of Evidence (2nd edition Cambridge University Press 2005)
Twining, The Great Juristic Bazaar (Ashgate 2002)
Twining, Globalisation and Legal Theory (Northwestern University Press 2001)
ISBN: 0-8101-1904-8
Twining, Law in Context: Enlarging a Discipline (Oxford University Press 1997)
Twining, Blackstone's Tower: The English Law School (Sweet and Maxwell 1994)
Twining, Theories of Evidence: Bentham and Wigmore (Stanford University Press 1985)

Presentation/Conference contribution (1)

Research Interests

Jurisprudence; Socio-Legal Studies; Globalisation and Law; Private sector legal records

Research projects