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Thursday, 27 January 2022
Lionel Smith to join Faculty as Downing Professor of the Laws of England
Photo: Lysanne Larose

We are delighted to announce that Professor Lionel Smith will join the Faculty of Law later this year as Downing Professor of the Laws of England. The Downing Professorship was founded in 1800, supported from a bequest from Sir George Downing, the founder of Downing College. Previous holders have included Andrew Amos, FW Maitland, Sir William Ivor Jennings, Stanley de Smith, Gareth Jones and Sir John Baker. Professor Smith will take up the Chair in October 2022, following the retirement of Dame Sarah Worthington, whose distinguished tenure as Downing Professor will end on 30 September.

Professor Smith’s research interests lie principally in the field of private law, including in the areas of equity and trusts, restitution, comparative law, and the philosophical foundations of private law. He is the author of The Law of Tracing (OUP 1997) and a co-author of Waters' Law of Trusts in Canada (Carswell 2021) 5th edn. Professor Smith is also a co-author and the English reporter of Commercial Trusts in European Private Law (CUP 2005; paperback 2009) and is the editor or co-editor of several books and special issues of law journals, including Equity and Trusts (Edward Elgar 2019) (with Alexandra Popovici), Comparative Property Law: Global Perspectives (Edward Elgar 2017) (with Michele Graziadei), The Worlds of the Trust (CUP 2013), La fiducie en droit civil (a special issue ((2013) 58:4) of the McGill Law Journal) and Re-imagining the Trust: Trusts in Civil Law (CUP 2012; Chinese translation, Law Press China 2021). His book The Law of Loyalty will be published by OUP in the near future.

Professor Smith holds degrees from the Universities of Toronto, Western Ontario, Cambridge, Oxford and Montreal. In 2021, he was awarded a Doctorate of Civil Law from the University of Oxford. Professor Smith is currently the Sir William C Macdonald Professor at McGill University, having previously held posts at the University of Oxford and the University of Alberta.

Commenting on Professor Smith’s appointment, Professor Mark Elliott, Chair of the Faculty of Law, said: "I am delighted that Professor Smith will be joining the Faculty of Law as our new Downing Professor of the Laws of England. An outstanding researcher, teacher and academic leader, Professor Smith will be an enormous asset to the Faculty; we look forward very much to welcoming him to Cambridge and to working with him."

I look forward to contributing to the Faculty’s global leadership in teaching and research in private law Professor Lionel Smith

Professor Smith commented: "I consider it a tremendous honour to be entrusted with the Downing Professorship. I am excited to be coming back to the Cambridge Faculty of Law, where I began my postgraduate studies in law, and I look forward to contributing to the Faculty’s global leadership in teaching and research in private law."