Arthur Lehman Goodhart

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Arthur Goodhart in the Master's Garden at University College, Oxford.

Arthur Lehman Goodhart, KBE, KC (1 March 1891, New York City – 10 November 1978, Oxford) was an American-born British academic jurist and lawyer; he was Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, 1931–51, when he was also a Fellow of University College, Oxford. He was the first American to be the Master of an Oxford college, University College and was a significant benefactor to the College.[1]


Arthur Goodhart was born in New York and educated at the Hotchkiss School, Yale University and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Yale, he was an editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[2] After returning to the United States, he practiced law until World War I. Following the war, he started to pursue an academic career in law, initially at Cambridge University and later at Oxford University where he became Professor of Jurisprudence and subsequently the Master of University College. He was editor of the Law Quarterly Review for fifty years.

Personal life and legacy[edit]

He was married to Cecily Goodhart (née Carter) and had three children: Sir Philip Goodhart, Lord Goodhart of Youlbury and Charles Goodhart (after whom Goodhart's law is named).

Students during Goodhart's Mastership of University College included Bob Hawke, matriculated 1953, who was later Prime Minister of Australia.

The Goodhart Quad and the Goodhart Building (to the east, overlooking the quad and used for student accommodation) at University College, Oxford, off Logic Lane, are named in his memory. Cecily's Court, a small open area containing a fountain, located between the Goodhart Building and 83–85 High Street, is named in memory of Goodhart's wife.


Rejected for service with British forces in World War I, in 1914, he became a member of the American forces when USA joined the war in 1917; he became counsel to the American mission to Poland, in 1919.

He was called to the bar (Inner Temple), 1919, and became a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and university lecturer in jurisprudence; he edited the Cambridge Law Journal, 1921–5, and the Law Quarterly Review, 1926. In 1931 he moved to Oxford to become professor of jurisprudence. He gave up that chair when he became Master of University College, Oxford, 1951–63.

As a member of the Law Revision Committee, he helped to promote improvements in various branches of the law.

Honours and titles[edit]


  1. ^ Darwall-Smith, Robin, A History of University College, Oxford. Oxford University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0. The Great Benefactor: Arthur Goodhart, pages 485–491.
  2. ^ Yale Banner and Pot Pourri. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1926. p. 238.


Academic offices
Preceded by
J. H. S. Wild
Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Redcliffe-Maud