Private law is one of Oxford's traditional strengths and the private law community, which includes a large number of post-graduate students, continues to produce ground-breaking research across a wide number of topics, and by adopting diverse approaches.

Post-graduate students convene the well-established Obligations Discussion Group and Property Law Discussion Group and their online events attract participants from across the globe. A new Private Law Post-Graduate Research Student Discussion Group, open to post-graduate students from Oxford and beyond, allows such students to meet to present their work and discuss general issues relating to post-graduate life.

Faculty members also regularly organise events and conferences, often working with other groups and centres within Oxford. For example, the 2022 iteration of the Modern Studies in Property Law Conference was hosted in Oxford and organised by three group members, Natalie Mrockova, Aruna Nair and Luke Rostill. Many of our events are open to all so please do take a look at the forthcoming events related to the Private Law Research Group.  

The Persistence of Equity: Lessons from the Trust

Held on 31st March 2022, this was the inaugural lecture of Professor Ben McFarlane, who was appointed as Professor of English Law, and a Fellow of St John's College, in October 2019. It was suggested by Maitland, over 100 years ago, that the "development from century to century of the trust idea" is the "greatest and most distinctive achievement" of English law. This lecture showed how understanding the nature and operation of the trust, and its continued operation nearly 150 years after the Judicature Reforms put an end in England to a separate set of Chancery courts, helps us to make sense of the relationship between common law and equity more generally.  

Research Projects

One recent project is 'Futureproofing Flats'. This research by Susan Bright and others looks at the barriers to the installation of environmental improvements and energy-saving initiatives in blocks of flats. Read more about the project