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Professing Criminal Law

posted on 07.07.2020, 20:19 by Anthony SmithAnthony Smith
© Cambridge University Press 2013. This celebration of Glanville Williams’ contribution to the world of criminal law scholarship presents an occasion upon which to reflect not only on that contribution, but also upon wider considerations of what professors of the criminal law (the subject broadly conceived) have done and can do in carrying out their professorial duties. The rather limited purpose of this chapter is to alert younger academics, in particular, to the extent to which they become increasingly free to define themselves by what they choose to do as their careers progress. Glanville’s was a career that exemplified many dimensions of what is possible, and he excelled in many of them. A survey of his career also affords an opportunity to draw attention to a corollary, namely, that there are certain activities to which academic criminal lawyers are by and large unable to aspire, and in particular the practice of the discipline that they profess. A principal attraction for those who pursue academic law as a career path is that they are relatively free to make of it what they will. There is no paradigm – we cannot be prescriptive as to what professors of the criminal law should or even might do. Instead, there is a menu of possibilities from which scholars are relatively free to choose, within the boundaries dictated by individual aptitudes and the institutional circumstances in which they find (or to which they steer) themselves as careers develop. As a minimum, the modern university-based academic is expected to engage in research and teaching in about equal measure, with the remainder of her or his time devoted to ‘administration’ or general contribution. Apart from this, there is much more that the academic could do outside the lecture halls and corridors, and Glanville participated in many, perhaps most, of the available options.


Preferred citation

Smith, A. (2013). Professing Criminal Law. In D Baker, J Horder (Ed.), The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law: The Legacy of Glanville Williams (pp. 328-344). Cambridge University Press.

Book title

The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law: The Legacy of Glanville Williams


Cambridge University Press

Place of publication





D Baker; J Horder




Source info: “Professing Criminal Law” in eds D Baker and J Horder, The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law: The Legacy of Glanville Williams CUP, 2013

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