A. W. B. Simpson

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Alfred William Brian Simpson, QC (Hon.), JP, FBA (17 August 1931[1][2] – 10 January 2011)[3] usually referred to as Brian Simpson, was a British legal historian and the emeritus Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.[3]

Born in Kendal, Cumbria, Simpson was educated at Oakham School and The Queen's College, Oxford, where he took a First in Law.

He was a fellow and tutor of Lincoln College, Oxford from 1955-1973, before various professorships at the Universities of Kent (1975-1983), Chicago, Michigan, Cambridge and Toronto. As a result of National Service with the Nigeria Regiment, he retained an interest in Africa, and was Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana in 1968-69.[4]

His most serious works of legal history were a History of the Land Law (2nd Edition, 1986) and a History of the Law of Contract (1975), but he is best remembered for his Cannibalism and the Common Law (1984) and Leading Cases in Common Law (1995). At the end of his career he also wrote two works on twentieth century human rights: In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention without Trial in Wartime Britain (1992) and Human Rights and the End of Empire: Britain and the Genesis of the European Convention (2001).[4]

Simpson returned to an aspect of his own legal education at Oxford in a book published posthumously in September, 2011, Reflections on `The Concept of Law,' delineating the environment in which H. L. A. Hart had produced the classic of jurisprudence in the setting of Oxford linguistic philosophy.


  1. ^ "Professor A.W. Brian Simpson : 17th August 1931- 10th January… · News · The AIRE Centre". airecentre.org. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  2. ^ date & year of birth, full name according to LCNAF CIP data
  3. ^ a b "University of Michigan Law School Faculty & Staff". cgi2.www.law.umich.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
  4. ^ a b http://www.ukwhoswho.com/search/quick?quicksearch=simpson+brian(subscription required)