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TT Arvind



Professor TT Arvind
BA, LLB (Hons) (NLSIU), PhD (UEA), PG Dip HEP (UEA)

Head of York Law School

I am Professor of Law and Head of Department at York Law School. I joined York in September 2007 as one of the founding members of the law school and returned to it in September 2018, after spending six years at Newcastle from 2012-2018.

I have also previously worked at the University of East Anglia, and spent some time in commercial practice in India.

My research draws on frameworks from across the social sciences to develop new ways of understanding the relationship between law, individuals, and governing bodies, particulrly in the context of commercial societies.



My research focuses on studying the human dimensions of commercial societies, and the role of legal institutions (and the state more broadly) in balancing conflicting expectations and goals, and in determining the shape, structure, and effects of interpersonal interaction in these societies.  I have written on, and retain an interest in, a range of areas of law, including private law, public law, financial law, legal realism, and legal history.  I also have a strong interest in using empirical and other systematic methodologies in the study of law.  Together with Lindsay Stirton (Sussex), I have pioneered the extension to legal analysis of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Bayesian IRT models.  I have also done considerable work on using evolutionary and historical approaches to analyse current legal questions, with specific emphasis on the intellectual, social, economic and other influences that shape legal change. 

My current areas of interest for the purpose of supervision are listed below.  Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in pursuing research on a topic related to any of these areas.  Interdisciplinary research is particularly welcome, but I’m also keen to see good proposals taking a more traditionally legal approach:

  • Private law

  • Public law

  • Commercial law, including commercial arbitration

  • Legal realism (both American and Scandinavian)

  • Empirical study of legal decision-making (especially empirically studying judgments)

  • Legal history, especially of the 18th and 19th centuries

  • Law and emerging technologies (including, but not limited to, AI and autonomous systems)

  • Private law and the regulatory state

  • Policy reasoning in the law (including private and public law)

  • Legal control of discretionary decision making (whether in public law, private law, or commercial law)

  • Popular constitutionalism and legal consciousness (from theoretical or historical perspectives)


Projects I have recently completed include:

  • an analysis of the reaction of lawyers and judges in developing countries to the introduction of transplanted harmonised laws,

  • a series of critiques of the constitutional basis of the decision of the House of Lords in Bancoult (No 2),

  • the role of statute in shaping the principles of tort law(published as a collection jointly edited with Jenny Steele, titled Tort Law and the Legislature: Common law, statute and the dynamics of legal change (Hart, 2012),

  • a series of articles rethinking the relevance of legal realism, and especially Scandinavian legal realism, to current debates around the role of private law.

Projects on which I am currently working include:

  • Contract law and the legislature: I am working on an edited collection (in contract with Hart), together with Jenny Steele, to use legislative action in the area of contract law to examine the full range of motives, interests, and norms at play in the legal regulation of contracts; and the interaction between social, political, and economic considerations in shaping the legal approach to contracts in the modern world.

  • Courts as institutions: Courts tend to be regarded as black-boxes in legal theory, rather than institutions comprised of people and subject to interpersonal, environmental, and institutional dynamics.  In collaboration with computational linguists and communication scientists, I am working to devise new ways of studying the courts as institutions, focusing in particular on empirical ways of studying differences between judges, the role of institutional factors in adjudication, and the impact of sentiment on judicial decision-making. 

  • Administrative constitutionalism: Drawing on archival material, I have begun to examine the internal logic and thought-styles underlying the rise of the regulatory-administrative state from the perspective of its administrative proponents, and their ideas of the state’s role in governance.  Using these, I am examining whether the law (including both private law and public law) provides an adequate basis for institutional dialogue between the judiciary and the administrative branch. 

  • Executive decision-making and the courts: I am working on an edited collection which brings together a collection of leading experts from across the common law world—including scholars, practitioners and judges—to critically assess the system of administrative law that evolved out of four seminal House of Lords judgments (‘the Quartet’) decided fifty years ago, and the jurisprudence of the state that is implicit in them.

  • The social dimensions of financial crises: The aftermath of the recent financial crisis suggests that there is a strong need to study crises as social and cultural phenomena (rather than purely economic phenomena), and to explore the relevance of these social and cultural dimensions of crises for financial policy.  I aim to study how regulation can be informed by experiential perspectives—and not merely technocratic ones, by examining the consequences and aetiology of the disjunction between demotic and technocratic perspectives in financial regulation, and the contribution different legal, institutional, and conceptual mechanisms can make in incorporating demotic experiences and understandings within the policymaking framework.


ICLQ Young Scholar Prize 2010

SLS Best Paper Prize 2009 (with Lindsay Stirton).


Selected publications


  • TT Arvind, Contract Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

  • TT Arvind and J Steele (eds.), Tort law and the Legislature: Common Law, Statute and the Dynamics of Legal Change (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2012)


  • ‘The Curious Origins of Judicial Review’ (2017) 133 LQR 91 (with Lindsay Stirton)

  • ‘Legal Ideology, Legal Doctrine and the UK’s Top Judges’ [2016] Public Law 418 (with Lindsay Stirton)

  • ‘Private law theory and taxonomy: reframing the debate’ (2015) 35 Legal Studies 480 (with Duncan Sheehan)

  • ‘Vilhelm Lundstedt and the Social Function of Legislation’ (2013) 1 The Theory and Practice of Legislation 33-57

  • ‘“Though it shocks one very much”: Pragmatism and Formalism in the Zong and Bancoult’ (2012) 32 OJLS 113

  • ‘Explaining the Reception of the Code Napoleon in Germany: A Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis’ (2010) 30 LS 1 (with Lindsay Stirton)

  • ‘The transplant effect in harmonisation’ (2010) 59 ICLQ 65.

Book Chapters

  • ‘The Philosophy of Law: Vilhelm Lundstedt’ in S Peterson (ed), Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (Springer 2018)

  • ‘Financial Elites, Law, and Regulation: A Historical Perspective’ in G Telesca and Y Cassis (eds.), Financial Elites and European Banking: Historical Perspectives (Oxford University Press 2018) (with J Gray and S Wilson)

  • ‘The subject as a civic ghost: Law, dominion, and empire in the Chagos litigation’ in Stephen Allen, (ed.) Fifty Years of the British Indian Ocean Territory: Legal Perspectives (Springer 2018)

  • ‘Paradigms lost or paradigms regained? Legal revolutions and the path of the law’ in S. Worthington, A Robertson, and G. Virgo (eds.), Revolution and Evolution in Private Law (Hart Publishing 2018)

  • ‘The limits of technocracy: Private law's future in the regulatory state’ in K Barker, K Fairweather, and R Grantham (eds.), Private Law in the 21st Century. (Hart Publishing, 2017) (with Joanna Gray)

  • ‘Obligations, Governance and Society: Bringing the State Back In’ in A Robertson and M Tilbury (eds.), Convergence and Divergence in Private Law (Hart Publishing 2016)

  • ‘Contracts, transactions and equity’ in S Saintier and Q Zhou (eds.), Current issues in commercial contracts: Transatlantic perspectives (Cambridge University Press 2013)

  • ‘Restraining the state through tort? The Crown Proceedings Act 1947 in retrospect’ in TT Arvind and J Steele (eds.), Tort law and the legislature: common law, statute and the dynamics of legal change’ (Hart Publishing 2012)

  • ‘Beyond ‘rights’ and ‘duties’: Lundstedt’s theory of obligations’ in A Robertson and D Nolan (eds.), Rights and Private Law (Hart Publishing 2011).

External activities


  • AHRC Peer Review College member

  • Founder member of the North-East Regional Obligations Group

  • Council member, British Association of Comparative Law

Editorial duties

  • Articles editor of the Indian Law Review, published by Taylor and Francis



  • I teach the law of Obligations in Years 1 and 2 of the degree, and am the subject co-ordinator for Obligations in Year 2.

  • Advanced Legal Skills (autumn term only)

  • Law, Commerce, and Finance

I also have a strong interest in developing problem-based and experiential approaches to teaching and learning in law, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

Contact details

Professor TT Arvind
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325811