John Gardner (legal philosopher)

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John Gardner
Born(1965-03-25)25 March 1965
Glasgow, Scotland
Died11 July 2019(2019-07-11) (aged 54)
Alma materNew College, Oxford
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Legal positivism
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford
Main interests
Legal philosophy
Criminal law
Tort law

John Gardner FBA (23 March 1965 – 11 July 2019) was a Scottish legal philosopher. He was senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and prior to that the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and a fellow of University College, Oxford.

Life and career[edit]

Gardner attended Glasgow Academy from 1970 to 1982.[1][2] The following year he moved to the University of Oxford, where he received his BA, BCL (winning the Vinerian Scholarship), MA, and DPhil, under the supervision of Joseph Raz and Tony Honoré. He was associated with New College (as a student, 1983–7), All Souls College (as a fellow, 1986–91 and 1998–2000), and Brasenose College (as a fellow, 1991–1996).[2] From 1996 to 2000 he was Reader in legal philosophy at King's College London.[3]

In 2000, at the age of just 35, he was appointed Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, taking over the chair previously held by H. L. A. Hart and Ronald Dworkin.[4][5] In order to dedicate more time to his research he resigned the chair in 2016 and returned to All Souls as a Senior Research Fellow.[6]

Gardner died of cancer in July 2019, aged 54.[7][8]

Honours and awards[edit]

Gardner held several visiting positions, including at Columbia (2000), Yale (2002–3, 2005), Princeton (2008), the Australian National University (2003, 2006, 2008), and most recently Cornell (2015).[3][2] A (non-practising) barrister since 1988, Gardner was elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (one of the Inns of Court) in 2002.[9] He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 2013.[10]



  • Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (2007)[11]
  • Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General (2012)[12]
  • From Personal Life to Private Law (2018)[13]
  • Torts and other Wrongs (forthcoming, late 2019)[1]

Full list of publications at Gardner's Faculty Homepage


  1. ^ a b "John Gardner 1965 - 2019". Oxford Law Faculty. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "John Gardner at Home". Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "John Gardner". Oxford Law Faculty. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  4. ^ "RIP John Gardner". University College Oxford. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  5. ^ "John Gardner 1965-2019 - Brasenose College, Oxford". Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Obituary: John Gardner, internationally-renowned legal philosopher". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  7. ^ Lacey, Nicola (22 July 2019). "John Gardner obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ "OBITUARY: Talented academic was a familiar face in West Oxford". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  9. ^ "John Gardner". The Aristotelian Society. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Professor John Gardner". The British Academy. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  11. ^ Gardner, John (1 April 2012). "In Defence of Offences and Defences". Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies. 4 (1): 110–128. doi:10.1093/jrls/4.1.110. ISSN 2219-7125.
  12. ^ Bix, B. (2013). Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General. By JOHN GARDNER. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 314 pp. Hardback £39.99. ISBN: 978-0-19-969555-3.].The Cambridge Law Journal, 72(2), 443-446. doi:10.1017/S0008197313000573 [author copy at Academia.Edu]
  13. ^ McBride, Nicholas J. (2019). "From Personal Life to Private Law. By John Gardner. [Oxford University Press, 2018. viii + 242 pp. Hardback £29.99. ISBN 978-01-98818-75-5.]" (PDF). The Cambridge Law Journal. 78 (1): 217–219. doi:10.1017/S0008197319000035. ISSN 0008-1973.

External links[edit]



Lectures (video/podcast)[edit]

Further Resources[edit]

  • University of Oxford profile (short biography, full list of publications, research interests).
  • Personal home page (which includes drafts of works in progress, 'post preprints' (completed but pre-refereed versions) of all his book reviews, of some of his articles and chapters, of interviews and memoirs plus links to video and audio broadcasts).

Open Access Papers[edit]

(Incomplete list) [also see homepage 'publications' for Preprints/drafts]

see Gardner's SSRN author page for papers free for PDF download (or browser viewing with registration) titles include Law as a Leap of Faith (2000)