Essays for Patrick Atiyah

Essays for Patrick Atiyah

Essays for Patrick Atiyah

Essays for Patrick Atiyah


One of the most important legal scholars of his generation, Patrick Atiyah's publications cover many topics: legal theory and history, the study of legal institutions, tort law (especially personal injury compensation), and contract law. This volume of essays--written by colleagues, friends, and admirers of Atiyah--reflects the breadth of his interests. The work includes discussions of aspects and theories of contracts and torts, the role of judges and law professors, as well as an assessment of the "law in context" movement of which Atiyah was a founder.


This volume of essays is a small expression of thanks to Patrick Atiyah for his many services to the study of law as tutor, lecturer, supervisor of research students, colleague, first general editor of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, advocate of law reform and above all, as scholar, thinker, and writer. His early retirement in 1988 was a serious and much lamented loss to the Oxford Law Faculty in particular, and to the world of legal scholarship in general. The contributors to this volume were invited to write on any subject they chose within the very broad range of interests which Patrick Atiyah pursued in his academic work. So the essays have no unifying theme: they reflect the diversity of Atiyah's achievements. But their authors all have something in common: they share a deep respect and affection for Patrick Atiyah, which each has sought to express by agreeing to take part in the enterprise.

A fitting tribute comes from Guido Calabresi who, because of the pressure of his commitments as dean of Yale Law School, was, to his great regret, unable to write an essay for the volume:

A Festschrift for Patrick Atiyah, what could be more appropriate, what could be a greater source of joy!

Patrick has been a model for us all of what a scholar should be. Always thorough, comprehensive and careful, he has, nonetheless, been willing to take on topics which were truly daunting and whose examination could never give rise to that 'perfect treatment' in which lesser scholars take comfort. He has been courageous and original, and always ready to revise his own thought (as he effectively criticized the thought of others) in the light of new ideas, further reflections and growth of knowledge.

These qualities which characterize his scholarship, have also defined him as a person. I have been fortunate to be able to count his as a friend. I have learnt an immense amount from him and I look forward to learning more from him, both through his writings and through conversations, over many, many years in the future.

Our thanks are due to Barbara Tearle, Law Librarian of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, for preparing the list of Patrick Atiyah's writings which appears at the end of this volume; and to Oxford University Press for enabling us to honour Patrick Atiyah in this way.

Peter Cane and Jane Stapleton . . .

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