John Gardner (legal philosopher)

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John Gardner
File:John Gardner (legal philosopher) in 2018.jpg
Gardner in 2018
Born (1965-03-25)25 March 1965
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 11 July 2019(2019-07-11) (aged 54)
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic
Legal positivism
Institutions University of Oxford
Main interests
Legal philosophy
Criminal law
Tort law

John Gardner FBA (23 March 1965 – 11 July 2019) was a Scottish legal philosopher. He was senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and prior to that the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and a fellow of University College, Oxford.

Life and career

John Blair Gardner[1] was born in Glasgow on 23 March 1965, the elder of two sons, to William Russell Williamson Gardner and Sylvia Gardner (née Hayward-Jones).[2][3][4] His parents were both Germanists.[4] His mother being a secondary school teacher.[5] And his father a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and Chairman of the city's Goethe-Institut.[4]

John Gardner attended Glasgow Academy from 1970 to 1982.[6][7] He won (in 1982) a place to study modern languages at New College but switched to law before his first term (in 1983) began.[4][1]

At the University of Oxford, Gardner received his BA, BCL (winning the Vinerian Scholarship), MA, and DPhil, under the supervision of Joseph Raz and Tony Honoré. He was associated with New College (as a student, 1983–7), All Souls College (as a fellow, 1986–1991, 1998–2000 and 2016–2019), and Brasenose College (as a fellow, 1991–1996).[7] From 1996 to 2000 he was Reader in legal philosophy at King's College London.[8]

In 2000, at the age of just 35, he was appointed Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, taking over the chair previously held by H. L. A. Hart and Ronald Dworkin.[9][10] In order to dedicate more time to his research he resigned the chair in 2016 and returned to All Souls as a Senior Research Fellow.[5]

Gardner died of cancer in July 2019, aged 54.[2][11]

Honours and awards

Gardner held several visiting positions, including at Columbia (2000), Yale (2002–3, 2005), Princeton (2008), the Australian National University (2003, 2006, 2008), and most recently Cornell (2015).[8][7] A (non-practising) barrister since 1988, Gardner was elected an (Academic or Honorary) Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (one of the Inns of Court) in 2003.[12][6] He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 2013.[13][14]



  • Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (2007)[15]
  • Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General (2012)[16]
  • From Personal Life to Private Law (2018)[17]
  • Torts and other Wrongs (2020)[18]

Full list of publications at Gardner's Faculty Homepage


  1. 1.0 1.1 "John Blair Gardner". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 29 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lacey, Nicola (22 July 2019). "John Gardner obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Obituary: John Gardner". The Times. 2 August 2019. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 29 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "John Gardner 1965 - 2019". Oxford Law Faculty. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Obituary: John Gardner, internationally-renowned legal philosopher". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 18 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "John Gardner 1965 - 2019". Oxford Law Faculty. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "John Gardner at Home". Archived from the original on 16 June 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "John Gardner". Oxford Law Faculty. Retrieved 28 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "RIP John Gardner". University College Oxford. Retrieved 12 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "John Gardner 1965-2019 - Brasenose College, Oxford". Retrieved 12 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "OBITUARY: Talented academic was a familiar face in West Oxford". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 16 August 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Death Notices - Inner Temple (as accessed 26 August 2019) "Professor John Gardner, Master of the Bench, sadly died on Thursday 11 July 2019. The Inn’s flag flew at half-mast on Friday 19 July in his memory... Master Gardner was a Professor of Law and Philosophy and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1988 and elected as an Academic Bencher in 2003. A funeral service will be held for Master Gardner at All Souls College Chapel on Thursday 25 July at 11am,.. "
  13. "Professor John Gardner". The British Academy. Retrieved 12 July 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Collins, Hugh; Duff, Antony. "Gardner, John, 1965-2019" (PDF). The British Academy. Retrieved 17 April 2021.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Gardner, John (1 April 2012). "In Defence of Offences and Defences". Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies. 4 (1): 110–128. doi:10.1093/jrls/4.1.110. ISSN 2219-7125.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Bix, B. (2013). Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General. By JOHN GARDNER. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 314 pp. Hardback £39.99. ISBN: 978-0-19-969555-3.].The Cambridge Law Journal, 72(2), 443-446. doi:10.1017/S0008197313000573 [author copy at Academia.Edu]
  17. McBride, Nicholas J. (2019). "From Personal Life to Private Law. By John Gardner. [Oxford University Press, 2018. viii + 242 pp. Hardback £29.99. ISBN 978-01-98818-75-5.]" (PDF). The Cambridge Law Journal. 78 (1): 217–219. doi:10.1017/S0008197319000035. ISSN 0008-1973.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Gardner, John (18 February 2020). Torts and Other Wrongs. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-885294-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links



Lectures (video/podcast)

Further resources

  • University of Oxford profile (short biography, full list of publications, research interests).
  • Personal home page (which includes 'post preprints' (completed but pre-refereed versions) of all his book reviews, of some of his articles and chapters, of interviews and memoirs plus links to video and audio broadcasts).

Open access papers

(Incomplete list) [also see homepage 'publications' and Gardner's page for Preprints/drafts]

see Gardner's SSRN author page for papers free for PDF download (or browser viewing with registration) titles include Law as a Leap of Faith (2000)