Jane Stapleton

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Jane Stapleton DCL FBA (born 26 March 1952)[1] is an Australian academic lawyer with a specialism in tort law. As of 2016, she holds professorships at the Australian National University, Canberra and the University of Texas at Austin (USA), and is the Master of Christ's College, Cambridge.

Early life and education[edit]

Stapleton was born in Sydney, Australia in 1952.[1] She initially studied the sciences, gaining a BSc in chemistry from the University of New South Wales (1974) and a PhD in physical organic chemistry from the University of Adelaide (1977). She came to the UK in the mid-1970s and in 1977 took up a post-doctoral research post at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cambridge in the laboratory of Dudley Williams.

She then decided to switch to law. She gained an LLB from the Australian National University as a mature student (1981), followed by a DPhil in private law from the University of Oxford (1984).[1][2][3][4] Her thesis, supervised by Patrick Atiyah, was on compensation for non-traumatic injuries.[4] In 2008 the University of Oxford bestowed upon her a doctorate of civil law.[1][2][3][5]

Career and research[edit]

She briefly lectured at the University of Sydney.[1][3] and then returned to the UK, where she taught at the University of Oxford from 1985 until 1997, rising to the position of Reader in Law and holding a fellowship at Balliol College.

She remained a visiting professor at the university until 2015. In 2016 she was made Distinguished Professor of Law at the Australian National University in Canberra, and has been the Ernest E. Smith Professor of Law at the University of Texas at Austin since 2002.[1][2][3][5] She has held visiting professorships at Washburn University School of Law (2000), University of Auckland (2001), European University Institute (2001), Columbia Law School (2007), University of Cambridge (2011–12) and Harvard Law School (2012).[1][3]

She holds legal positions in three countries: Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, Council Member of the American Law Institute, and Honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn, London.[1][2][3][5]

In March 2016, Stapleton was appointed the next (38th) Master of Christ's College, Cambridge, to succeed Frank Kelly. She assumed the position in September 2016.[6]

Her research has focused on tort law. Other specialisms include comparative law.[2][5] She retains her early interest in compensation for non-traumatic injuries, such as drug-induced injury and cancer, and subsequently became interested in product liability. She also studies the philosophical principles underlying common law, including duty and more recently the ideas of causation and consequences.[2][3][4]

Her publications include the books Disease and the Compensation Debate (1986) and Products Liability (1994).[2] She was a co-editor of OUP's Clarendon Law Series (1992–97).[1]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Peter Cane, also a law professor.[4][5]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2013, Stapleton was the first non-American to receive the William L. Prosser Award of the Association of American Law Schools.[2][5] She became a Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.[2][5][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lesley Dingle, Daniel Bates, Professor Jane Stapleton, Squire Law Library, University of Cambridge, retrieved 2 March 2016
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jane Stapleton, University of Texas at Austin, archived from the original on 14 September 2015, retrieved 2 March 2016
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jane Stapleton, Australian National University, retrieved 2 March 2016
  4. ^ a b c d Lesley Dingle, Daniel Bates (6 February 2012), A Conversation with Professor Jane Stapleton, Squire Law Library, University of Cambridge
  5. ^ a b c d e f g The Master-elect, Professor Jane Stapleton, Christ's College, Cambridge, 2 March 2016, retrieved 2 March 2016
  6. ^ New Master for Christ's, Christ's College, Cambridge, 2 March 2016, retrieved 2 March 2016
  7. ^ British Academy Fellows: Record for: STAPLETON, Professor Jane, British Academy, archived from the original on 4 April 2016, retrieved 2 March 2016
Academic offices
Preceded by
Frank Kelly
Master of Christ's College, University of Cambridge