Vinerian Professor of English Law



The Vinerian Professorship of English Law, formerly Vinerian Professorship of Common Law, was established by Charles Viner who by his will, dated 29 December 1755, left about £12,000 to the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the
University of Oxford , mottoeng = The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (2019) , budget = £2.145 billion (2019–20) , chancellor ...
, to establish a Professorship of the
Common Law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omniprese ...
in that University, as well as a number of Vinerian scholarships and readerships. Until the establishment of the Vinerian Chair, only
Canon Law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is t ...
and Roman (Civil) Law had been taught at Oxford and Cambridge. Therefore, only the
Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of Court – Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. All barristers must belong to one of them. They h ...
provided any instruction in the Common Law, which was of most practical use to practitioners. Upon Sir
William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most noted for writing the ''Commentaries on the Laws of England''. Born into a middle-class family in ...
's appointment to the Vinerian Professorship, his lectures were the first to be given on the English Common Law in any university in the world.


The holders of the Chair since its foundation are the following: # 1758–1766 Sir William Blackstone (lived from 1723–1780) # 1766–1777 Sir Robert Chambers (1737–1803) # 1777–1793 Richard Wooddeson (1745–1822) # 1793–1824 James Blackstone (1765–1831) (son of William Blackstone above) # 1824–1843 Philip Williams (1780–1843)