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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

It is with deep sadness that the Faculty reports the death of Professor Hugh Bevan on 15 July 2021 at the age of 98. He was an immensely distinguished scholar in the field of Family Law. In particular, he has been described as ‘a pioneer of the study of child law in England and Wales’. Educated at Neath Grammar School and the University of College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Professor Bevan spent his formal academic career at the University of Hull, ultimately becoming a Professor of Law there in 1969 and serving as Head of Department and Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Bevan’s principal publications included Law Relating to Children (1973), The Children Act 1975 (with M L Parry) (1978) and Child Law (1988), and the ideas expressed in them had an influence on subsequent developments in the field. But he had a varied legal career, serving as a Justice of the Peace and Chairman of Rent Assessment Committees, in addition to a term as President of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (which has since become the Society of Legal Scholars). He collected numerous awards in recognition of his distinction, including honorary doctorates from the universities of Hull and Sheffield. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Swansea University in 2007.

It was not until after his retirement from Hull that Professor Bevan settled in Cambridge, at the invitation of Sir David Williams. He was elected a Fellow of Wolfson College in 1990 and then an Honorary Fellow in 1992, and taught the Faculty’s undergraduate and LLM students with great enthusiasm into his eighties.  The College named a prize for the most distinguished performance by a Wolfson student in the LLM in Professor Bevan’s honour, and he was a significant figure in College life.

Professor Bevan was a very kind and inspirational teacher, and will be will be fondly remembered for the clarity of his exposition as well as the stories he would tell in supervisions. Several of his students have become a Family Law academic or practitioner thanks to his example. He will be greatly missed.