Graham Virgo

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Graham Virgo

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, University of Cambridge[1]
Assumed office
October 1, 2014 (2014-10-01)
Preceded byProfessor John Rallison
Professor of English Private Law, University of Cambridge
Assumed office
October 1, 2007 (2007-10-01)
Personal details
Alma materDowning College, Cambridge
Christ Church, Oxford
OccupationAdministrator, legal academic, barrister

Graham Virgo is a legal academic and barrister who is currently serving as the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Cambridge.[2] He is also Professor of English Private Law and a Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. He is a leading academic in the law of restitution.[3]

Alongside his academic roles, Virgo is an academic bencher at Lincoln's Inn and an academic door tenant at XXIV Old Buildings. Before assuming his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, he was the Deputy Chair of the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge.

Education and career[edit]

Virgo did his B.A. in Law at Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under John Hopkins. Influenced by Hopkins's passion as a Director of Studies, Virgo later returned to Downing College and assumed the same appointment.

Downing College, Cambridge, where Virgo has been a Fellow since 1989

He graduated from Downing College, Cambridge in 1987 with first-class honours. In 1988, he graduated from Christ Church, Oxford with a first-class honours B.C.L., winning the Vinerian Scholarship for the best performance in the subject.

In 1989, Virgo was made a Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. He was the Senior Tutor of Downing College from 2003 and 2013, and concurrently Director of Studies in Law.

In 2007, Virgo was appointed Professor of English Private Law. Alongside his administrative duties, he lectures and supervises in criminal law, the law of restitution, and lectures in the law of contract. He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education in 2014.[4]

In 2013, Virgo engaged in a debate with Lord Sumption at the University of Cambridge on the topic "Those Who Wish to Practise Law Should Not Study Law at University", arguing against the motion.[5]

As Pro-Vice-Chancellor[edit]

Virgo has addressed problems of sexual misconduct within the University of Cambridge[6] and suggested that the University may phase out the traditional academic 1st/2.i/2.ii/3rd system with a US-style GPA system in an attempt to stem grade inflation.[7]

Academic interests[edit]

Virgo is credited with making major contributions to the growing law of restitution in the United Kingdom. His work has been cited in the English courts, including in the Supreme Court, and has shaped the direction of the law of unjust enrichment, mistake, and other related areas of restitution.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2002, he was awarded the Pilkington Prize from the University of Cambridge in recognition of outstanding teaching in Law. Virgo was also a finalist for OUP Law Teacher of the Year in 2013.[9]

Virgo was the New Zealand Law Foundation's Distinguished Visiting Fellow in 2016, during which he gave lectures at various universities including the University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago and University of Waikato.[10]

In recognition of his contributions to the law of restitution, he was appointed Queen's Counsel honoris causa in 2017.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He is a keen actor and is currently a member of the Gamlingay Players.

Selected publications[edit]

Graham Virgo, The Principles of the Law of Restitution (3rd ed, 2015)

Graham Virgo, The Principles of Equity and Trusts (2012)

Graham Virgo and Paul Davies, Equity & Trusts: Cases and Materials (2013)


  1. ^ "Professor Graham Virgo QC". Vice-Chancellor's Office, University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Professor Graham Virgo QC". Vice-Chancellor's Office, University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
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