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Warwick Law School Celebrates the Work of Professor Hugh Beale

hughThe Law School bid a fond farewell to one of our longest standing faculty members last week when we celebrated the work and contributions of Professor Hugh Beale. After more than three decades of teaching at Warwick, Hugh will be retiring in the summer and we couldn’t let him go without saying thank you.

The school marked this momentous occasion with a special seminar titled ‘Making Sense of Commercial and Contract Law’ and invited a number of Hugh’s colleagues and friends to deliver short presentations on the subject. The seminar was followed by a drinks reception and dinner giving people the opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to Hugh. Stefan Vogenauer, one of the invited speakers, commented, “The afternoon was a fitting tribute to Hugh.” A copy of the event schedule can be found below:


Christian Twigg-Flesner


“Will the English law of secured transactions ever be reformed?”

Louise Gullifer


“Connected Lender Liability under s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974”

Eva Lomnicka


“Smart Contracts: Asking the Right Questions, Having the Right Conversations”

Roger Brownsword


“The Exercise of Contractual Discretion”

Michael Bridge


"Standard Terms and Negotiability"

Simon Whittaker


“Intelligibility in general conditions in B2C contracts”

Jacobien Rutgers


"English language contracts governed by another law"

Stefan Vogenauer

Max Planck Institute of European Legal History

“Lessons from the Common European Sales Law”

Diana Wallis


Goodbye and thank you

Hugh Beale


Concluding comments & gift presentation

Jackie Hodgson



At the event, Professor Simon Whittaker talked about the reasons for legal controls on the fairness of standard contract terms, in particular, where the contract is made between two traders, referring to Hugh's work as Law Commissioner on the unfair contract terms project. Simon has known Hugh for well over 20 years in a number of contexts but predominantly as one of the editors of Chitty on Contracts of which Hugh is the general editor. Simon told us, “I was delighted to speak at the seminar marking Hugh's retirement and thoroughly enjoyed listening to colleagues' presentations.”

Professor Roger Brownsword commented, “I think that the event was a really nice combination of academic and social elements. It is hard to pay proper tribute to Hugh's contributions in such a short period, but we certainly tried!” Roger spoke about so-called smart contracts and offered some thoughts about the Law Commission's current project on the relationship between the law of contract and smart contracts. He thanked Hugh for his immense contribution to academic law and wished him a long and happy retirement.

Hugh has been teaching Contract and Commercial Law at the University of Warwick since 1987, having previously taught at the universities of Bristol, Aberystwyth, and Connecticut. He was also a Law Commissioner for England and Wales between 2000 and 2007. He has published extensively on many aspects of Contract and Commercial Law. He has made a significant contribution to Warwick Law School during his time with us and he will be greatly missed by colleagues and students alike.


Following the event Hugh told us, “I would like to say thank you to everyone at the Law School for the help, encouragement, support and comradeship that have made my years at Warwick so happy and fulfilling. I have really enjoyed being part of our School community; you have all been wonderful. I know that I am leaving my little niche of contract and commercial law, in the very best of hands and I am confident that the School will continue to be as outstanding as ever.”

From everyone at the Law School we wish him the happiest of retirements, he has certainly earned it.

Goodbye Hugh and thank you!