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Professor David Sugarman
Professor of Law, Director for the Centre of Law and Society, Editorial Board Membership of six journals
David is best known for his contributions to legal history, the legal profession, legal education and corporate law. He is also an acknowledged expert on aspects of international human rights law, particularly, the struggle to prosecute Augusto Pinochet and the ‘human rights turn’ in the post-Pinochet Chile.
In 2011 David co-edited with Avrom Sherr, and contributed to, Legal Education: Past, Present and Future - a Special Issue of the International Journal of the Legal Profession (2011) in Honour of William Twining, which can be found at
In 2011, David co-authored the Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law with Dr Mark Butler, which was published by the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union and the European Court of Justice. The Handbook is both a source for training stakeholders involved in matters pertaining to discrimination, and the Council of Europe’s official guide on discrimination issues. It is used by law enforcers, prosecutors, practitioners and the judiciary as the reference point when an instance of discrimination occurs. The Handbook is being translated into all 37 Council of Europe languages.
A full list of David’s publications can be found on his research profile.
Importance of research outside academia
Improved public understanding:
In August 2011 David was an expert panelist on ‘Voice of the Old Bailey’ on BBC Radio Four, ‘Whose Law Is It Anyway?’, which is available on BBC iPlayer.
In 2010 David provided advice on legal history on the BBC 1 series ‘Who do you think you are?’, tracing the family history of actor Rupert Everett.
David has been quoted as an expert in newspaper and allied media articles. For example, 'Pinochet’s Lost Millions: the UK Connection', in The Independent on Sunday, 23 August 2009 and 'Spain honours volunteers as civil war row grows' in The Guardian , 26 October 2008.
David gave several interviews concerning the tenth anniversary of General Augusto Pinochet’s arrest and detention in London, and the significance of the ‘Pinochet precedent’ in September and October 2008, including Austrian Public Radio on 18th September, 2008 and '’Caso Pinochet’: la pesadilla de los tribunals británicos'. Latin American News, 30 de Noviembre al 6 de Diciembre, 2010, Número 560 (London, Madrid and Miami) p. 24.
The publication of David’s work in Italian and Spanish, as well as English – and in popular newspapers, magazines and web sources - has enabled him to reach a new/wider audience.
Since 1998, David has published articles on the domestic and transnational struggles to bring Augusto Pinochet to justice, the Pinochet precedent, and the Pinochet-era human rights trials in Chile in a broad range of outlets including;
Shaping or influence on policy made by government and/or quasi-government bodies:
In May 2008, David visited Chile to observe and assess the work of the Criminal Public Defenders (Defensoria Penal Publica) at the invitation of the Defensoria, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Chile and the British Council.
David contributed to the Report on Gender Quotas on Management Boards commissioned by the European Parliament's Committee on Gender Equality and published by the European Parliament in March 2012. The Report reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of legally imposed as compared with voluntary regimes in narrowing the gender gap on corporate management boards. The Report is posted on the European Parliament web-site.
David is a Member of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Research Group that in 2011 won the right to bid as a preferred contractor for research funds from the European Union Parliament Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee.
Influencing the work of NGOs:
David has contributed to the work of Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) on recent developments in universal jurisdiction. He delivered an invited lecture on ‘The prospects for prosecutions of leaders who commit genocide and other international crimes ten years after the Pinochet case’ at Chatham House on 9th October 2008.
David gave a special public lecture; ‘Amnesty International and the Struggle to Vindicate Human Rights’ at a workshop ‘Amnesty International at 50: Retrospect, Prospect and Birthday Celebration’ in May 2011. This workshop was held in association with Amnesty International.
In 2009, David delivered the City of Lancaster Annual Holocaust Day Lecture. The Lecture, entitled, ‘Unspeakable Truths, Hatred and Justice in Chile since the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990)’ was supported by Lancaster City Council, the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) and Amnesty International (Lancaster).
In 2008, David organized and contributed to the International Conference, ‘The Pinochet Case and its Consequences, Ten Years On.’ This was a collaboration between several organisations including the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and JUSTICE (the British section of the International Commission of Jurists). The conference, which took place on 11th November 2008, brought together over 100 representatives from Britain, the USA, Spain, Germany, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Chile and Bolivia – including judges, NGO’s, victims, lawyers, journalists and government representatives.
Impacts on public policy, law and services:
The Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law was distributed across all Council of Europe member states and is freely available from the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Launching the Handbook at a seminar for judges and legal practitioners at the European Court of Human Rights on 21st March 2011, the Court’s President Jean-Paul Costa said: ‘The Handbook will improve access to justice for victims of discrimination across Europe.’
David is member of a consortium of academics, judges and practitioners awarded the contract to prepare a Handbook on Case-Law covering the fields of Asylum, Immigration and Border Control in the European Context by the European Court of Human Rights and EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. The contract is to produce a practical learning tool for judges, prosecutors, lawyers, law-enforcement officials, and others involved in giving legal advice, such as national human rights institutions and legal advice centres to whom it will be distributed. The Handbook will be published in late 2012.
Impact on case law:
David’s historical scholarship, and an expert opinion that he wrote for the Law Society, formed part of the arguments addressed to the High Court and Court of Appeal in Prudential PLC v Special Commissioner of Income Tax ( 2010). This important case concerns the efficacy and scope of legal professional privilege (LPP).
David is a legal history consultant for the Law Society.
Impacts on practitioners and professional services:
In February 2009, David was invited to contribute to a working dinner on diversity and the legal profession hosted by the president of the Law Society and including The Master of the Rolls, Rt Hon Alan Milburn MP, The Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board and a range of partners from large law firms.
David organized and contributed to the Conference on ‘Legal Services in North West England: the Changing Landscape’ at Lancaster University on 27th September 2007. Over 80 delegates attended including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, The Citizens Advice Service, The Law Society of England and Wales and local judges. The proceedings were published as: Legal Services in North West England: the Changing Landscape (Special Issue of Amicus Curiae, issue 76, 2008, David Sugarman (Editor). This conference brought together representatives of The Office of the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner and Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales; Ministry of Justice; North West Development Agency; LawWorks North West; Citizens Advice Service; Legal Action Group; Law Society of England and Wales; Association of Women Solicitors; Association of Black Solicitors; Association of Personal Injury Lawyers; Institute of Legal Executives; Cumbria Community Legal Services; Shelter Cumbria; Law Centres Federation; local judges and academics.
Between 2008 and 2010 David was one of the Principal Investigators on a large-scale Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project on ‘Conceptualising the contemporary ‘professions’: interdisciplinary debates’. Multi-disciplinary and multi-user in focus, it created a platform where academics and practitioners from different backgrounds could discuss issues of common interest.
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