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Paul Raffield

Emeritus Professor

Legal History; Law & Literature; Critical Legal Studies; Tort Law


Research interests include legal history, law and literature, and critical legal studies. Areas of particular interest include the influence of the early modern legal profession over the development and formulation of the English constitution, and the historical and semiotic status of the legal community as a representation of constitutionalism. Specific research projects include historical analyses of theatre and law, and the embodiment in drama of juristic constructs, such as divine law, natural law, and the artificial reason of common law. Paul has published extensively on the subject of Shakespeare and the Law. To a considerable degree, Paul's research interests derive from his career as an actor and director, for 25 years prior to his appointment to Warwick. He was the co-organiser of a major international conference on Shakespeare and the Law, hosted by The University of Warwick in 2007: see P. Raffield and G. Watt (eds.), 'Shakespeare and the Law' (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008).</p> Paul is the author of 'Images and Cultures of Law in Early Modern England: Justice and Political Power, 1558-1660' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) and 'Shakespeare's Imaginary Constitution: Late-Elizabethan Politics and the Theatre of Law' (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2010). To facilitate completion of 'Shakespeare's Imaginary Constitution', Paul received a major research award from the AHRC. 'Shakespeare's Imaginary Constitution' was nominated for the 2011 Inner Temple Book Prize, awarded every 3 years for a book which has made a profound contribution to the understanding of law in the United Kingdom. Paul's monograph, 'The Art of Law in Shakespeare', was published by Hart/Bloomsbury in 2017; his latest monograph, 'Shakespeare's Strangers and English Law', was published by Hart/Bloomsbury in 2023.
Much of Paul's teaching stems from his research, and in 2010 he was awarded funding by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning for a project involving law undergraduates, entitled 'Lawyer Playwrights: Legal Themes and the Making of Drama'.
Paul is co-founder and consultant editor of the journal 'Law and Humanities' []: submissions are welcomed from scholars in the legal academy and any of the humanities' disciplines.
See also Articles and chapters published in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) may be accessed at