William Twining

William Twining

FBA, QC (Hon), FAcSS, AAAS (foreign member) MA, JD, DCL, LLD

Quain Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus


William Twining, was Quain Professor of Jurisprudence from 1983 until 1996; after a period as Research Professor he became Emeritus in 2004. He  has held chairs in Belfast and Warwick and numerous visiting appointments.

At the start of his career William taught for seven years in Sudan and Tanzania. He has maintained an interest in Eastern Africa, and more broadly the Commonwealth, ever since. He has studied and taught in several leading UK and American law schools. A prominent member of the Law in Context movement, he has contributed especially to jurisprudence, evidence and proof, legal method, legal education, intellectual history and legal archives.

His recent work explores the implications of globalisation for legal scholarship and legal theory. Central themes include the variety and complexity of legal phenomena; that many so-called global processes and patterns are sub-global, linked to empires, diasporas, alliances and legal traditions; that diffusion, legal pluralism, and surface law are important topics for both analytical and empirical jurisprudence; that, in a world characterised by profound diversity of beliefs and radical poverty, the discipline of law needs to engage with problems of constructing just and workable supra-national institutions and practices; and that adopting a global perspective challenges some of the main working assumptions of Western traditions of academic law.

His main current research is for the Legal Records at Risk project (LRAR) which is concerned with the preservation of records of private sector institutions specialised to law in England and Wales.

William Twining was awarded the 2016 Halsbury Legal Award for Academic Achievement.

View William’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website




Twining, W. L., (2015), Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (ed. with M. Del Mar).

Twining, W. L., (2012), Karl Llewellyn and the Realist Movement (1973, 1985); 2nd ed. with a new Afterword, 2012).

Twining, W. L., (2011), Globalisation and Legal Scholarship (Montesquieu Seminars Tilburg).

Twining, W. L., (2011), Evidence, Inference and Enquiry (ed. with Philip Dawid, and Mimi Vasalaki).

Twining, W. L., (2010), How To Do Things With Rules (with David Miers, 5th edn.).

Twining, W. L., (2009), General Jurisprudence: Understanding Law from a Global Perspective.

Twining, W. L., (2009), Human Rights: Southern Voices.

Twining, W. L., (2006), Rethinking Evidence (2nd edition).

Twining, W. L., (2005) Analysis of Evidence (2nd edition, with Terence Anderson and David Schum).

Twining, W.L., (2002), The Great Juristic Bazaar.

Twining, W. L., (2000), Globalisation and Legal Theory.

Twining, W. L., (1997), Law in Context: Enlarging a Discipline.

Twining, W. L.(1994) Blackstone’s Tower: The English  Law School (Hamlyn lectures).

Twining, W. L., (1994) Legal Records in the Commonwealth (ed. with Emma V. Quick, 1994).


Book chapters and recent articles

Twining, W. L., (2016), Legal R/realism and Jurisprudence: Ten Theses, in Elizabeth Mertz and Stuart MacAulay (eds), The New Legal Realism Vol I.

Twining, W. L., (2015) Interview by Manuel Atienza and Raymundo Gama, reprinted in U. Baxi, C. McCrudden and A. Paliwala (eds.) Law’s Ethical, Global and Legal Contexts pp. 1-17.

Twining, W. L., (2014) LETR: the role of academics in legal education and training: 10 theses 48, The Law Teacher no. 1 pp.94-103.

Twining, W. L., (2013) Globalisation and Legal Scholarship: A Response Transnational Legal Theory Vol.4 pp.714-725.

Twining, W. L., (2012) Donald Neil MacCormick 1941-2009 in Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the British Academy XI pp.448-471..

Twining, W. L., (2012) What is the Point of Legal Archeology? in Transnational Legal Theory 3(2) pp.166-72.

Twining, W. L., (2011) Professionalism in Legal Education, 18 Int. Jo. Legal Profession No. 1 and 2 pp.165-72.

Twining, W. L., (2010) Moving Beyond Law: Interdisciplinarity and the Study of Evidence”, in Philip Dawid, William Twining and Mimi Vasalaki (eds.) Evidence, Inference and Enquiry pp. 73-118.

Twining, W. L., (2009-2010) Normative and Legal Pluralism (Bernstein Lecture, 2009) Duke Jo. of Comparative and International Law vol. 20 pp.473-517).

Twining, W. L., (2009),  ‘Implications of globalisation for law as a discipline’, in A. Halpin and V. Roeben (eds.), Theorising the Global Order.

Twining, W. L., (2004), ‘The Hutton Inquiry: Some Wider Legal Aspects’, in W. G. Runciman (ed.) Hutton and Butler: Lifting the Lid on the Workings of Power, (British Academy/ Oxford University Press).

Twining, W. L., (2003), ‘The Role of Academics in the Legal System’ (UK) in P. Cane and M. Tushnet (eds) Oxford Handbook of Legal Studies,  pp.920-29.

Twining, W. (2005). ‘General Jurisprudence’, in M. Escamilla, M. Saavedra (Eds.), Law and Justice in Global Society (XXII World Congress on Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy) (pp. 645-688).

Twining, W. L., (2005), ‘Social Science and Diffusion of Law’ Jo. Law and Society, 32: 203-40.