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Biography Earlier in my career I practised as a commercial real estate solicitor in law firms such as Tods Murray WS (now Shepherd & Wedderburn LLP, Edinburgh) and Richards Butler (now Reed Smith LLP, City of London). More recently I have been engaged, on a consultancy basis, as a professional support lawyer in firms such as Dickson Minto LLP (Edinburgh). In the academic setting I have taught in institutions as diverse as Glasgow University, LSE, Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Napier University. When I undertook doctoral studies at Glasgow University, supervision was assigned externally to Sir Neil MacCormick at Edinburgh – one of the foremost jurists of the last hundred years. This proved to be a formative experience. MacCormick encouraged me to develop a distinctive position on legal theory, and on the nature of legal rights, drawing on insights from classical social theory. Initially this position was outlined in my doctoral thesis. It was further developed in my later monograph, Law as a Social Institution (Hart Publishing, 2001).

My experience as chair, for 7 years, of London-based charity, Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust (1995 to 2002), and an earlier experience serving as Scottish regional representative on Amnesty International UK Section Council, have helped to inform my outlook on legal rights using human rights as a moral benchmark.
Research Interests I am currently working on a new book, aiming for publication in 2025 – Legal Rights and the Institutional Imagination (also Hart Publishing). The book will offer a perspective on legal rights centred around the longstanding debate between adherents to the rival theories of rights: will theory and interest theory. Important aspects of the debate, in its modern idiom, will be contextualised within a classical social theory setting developed out of Max Weber’s writings. One key argument is that the idea that rights are protective of interests (traceable to interest theory) and empowering (traceable to will theory) are mutually complementary, not irreconcilable, theoretical positions.

Recent published articles have focused on children's rights (including theoretical issues around children’s rights) and denial of justice arising from the use of civil limitation laws in historical child abuse cases.
Teaching and Learning Currently I teach construction law and contracts in the Construction Law and Arbitration master’s programme, and legal theory in the Online LLB programme.