John Cyril Smith 1922–2003

Andrew Ashworth

in Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 130, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IV

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263501
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734212 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

John Cyril Smith 1922–2003

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John Cyril Smith (1922–2003), a Fellow of the British Academy, was Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Nottingham where he headed the Law Department for three decades. In 1952–1953, Smith was awarded a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship at Harvard University and became impressed by the casebook method of teaching. The only subject he had taught every year throughout his career was evidence. His deep understanding of the law was apparent in his case commentaries on the subject for the Criminal Law Review, although by the mid-1980s he was handing over many evidence cases to his colleague and former student Diane Birch for commentary. He was a strong advocate of the presumption of innocence, in the form of the principle. It is chiefly for his work on the substantive criminal law that Smith will be long remembered. In addition to his three decades as Head of the Law Department at the University of Nottingham, and all his academic writings, Smith gave considerable time to official committees and other public service work.

Keywords: John Cyril Smith; University of Nottingham; criminal law; evidence; Harvard University; public service; presumption of innocence

Chapter.  3473 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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