Graham Virgo


Graham John Virgo [4] QC (Hon)[5] is an English legal academic and barrister. Since 2018, he has been Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge.[6][1] He is concurrently Professor of English Private Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. His work is regularly cited both in the English courts and those of other common law jurisdictions.[5] He is known for being among the leading academic voices in developing the law of restitution, and for his contributions to the teaching of law.[5]

Graham Virgo

Graham Virgo.jpg
Born
Graham John Virgo

(1966-06-08) 8 June 1966 (age 53)
OccupationProfessor of English Private Law and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge[1]
Spouse(s)The Rev Dr Caroline Hammond [2][3]
Children2
Academic background
Alma materDowning College, Cambridge, Christ Church, Oxford
Academic work
DisciplineLawyer
Sub-disciplineLaw of restitution, unjust enrichment, law of mistake
InstitutionsDowning College, Cambridge
Main interestsLaw of restitution, Law of contract, Equity, trusts, criminal law
Notable worksThe Principles of the Law of Restitution, The Principles of Equity and Trusts, Equity & Trusts: Cases and Materials

EducationEdit

Virgo completed his secondary education at a comprehensive school in the Midlands.[7] In 1983, he applied to read law at Downing College, Cambridge. He was interviewed by Charles Harpum QC (later, the principal architect of the Land Registration Act 2002),[8] John Hopkins, and David Lloyd Jones (now a Justice of the Supreme Court).[7] While deciding on a career, Hopkins suggested that Virgo consider Coward Chance (which in 1987 merged with Clifford Turner to form Clifford Chance) and various mini-pupillages.[7] Virgo graduated from Downing College, Cambridge in 1987 with first-class honours. The following year, he graduated from Christ Church, Oxford with a first-class honours B.C.L. degree, winning the Vinerian Scholarship for the top mark on the course. Upon graduation, Virgo decided on a career at the Bar. While at Bar school, he received a letter from Hopkins suggesting that he return to Downing College to teach, which he accepted.

CareerEdit

As an academicEdit

In 2003, Virgo was promoted to Reader in Law.[9] In 2007, he was appointed to the newly-constituted[10] Professorship of English Private Law at the University of Cambridge. In 2008, he was elected an Academic Bencher at Lincoln's Inn. In 2012, he was appointed Deputy Chair of the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge.[11] He stepped down from this role in 2014.[12]

Virgo's research interests are in criminal law, restitution, the law of contract, equity and trusts.[13] Known for his unorthodox and spirited opinions, he once described the decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd v Menelaou as "the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court, betraying such ignorance of the law and legal principle and such confusion about the nature of judging",[14] prompting Lord Neuberger, who had delivered the leading judgment, to lament the article as "over-the top" in his retirement lecture at Oxford.[15] In 2009, he delivered a paper at the Law Society of England and Wales titled The Law of Unjust Enrichment in the House of Lords: Judging the Judges.[16]

Virgo is credited with making major contributions to the growing law of restitution in the United Kingdom. In 2014, he was the Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Law Fellow at the University of Melbourne law school.[12] In 2017, he was appointed Queen's counsel (honoris causa) in recognition of his work in restitution.[5] In 2019, he was the Jones Day Visiting Professor in Commercial Law at Singapore Management University.[17][18] His work has been frequently cited in the English courts, including in the Supreme Court, and has shaped the direction of the law of unjust enrichment, mistake, and other related areas of restitution.[19]

Over the course of his career, he acted as academic consultant to barristers on various seminal cases, including Patel v Mirza and Foskett v McKeown. In the latter, the Supreme Court approved his view of equitable tracing as based on a vindication of property rights principles rather than unjust enrichment, the latter view advanced by other senior academics such as Peter Birks and Andrew Burrows.[20]

As a teacher and Tutor at Downing CollegeEdit

Virgo has described his teaching and pastoral style as being influenced by his former Tutor, John Hopkins.[7] In particular, he describes having learnt how to interview, supervise, and develop a genuine fondness for his students from him. In 2002, he was awarded the Pilkington Prize from the University of Cambridge in recognition of outstanding teaching in Law. On 1 April 2003, he was appointed Senior Tutor of Downing College,[21] a role which gave him responsibility over both educational matters and the overall well-being of the students at the College. He stayed in this role until 2013.[21] When he stepped down as Senior Tutor, he described the students of Downing College as having made his time as Senior Tutor "the happiest of [his] life".[21] In 2004, he was appointed Director of Studies for Law at Downing College.[22] He stepped down as Director of Studies in 2014.[23]

In 2013, Virgo engaged in a debate with Lord Sumption at the University of Cambridge on the topic "Those Who Wish to Practise Law Should Not Study Law at University", arguing against the motion.[24] That year, Virgo was also a finalist for both the OUP Law Teacher of the Year and the LawCareers.net Law Teacher of the Year Award.[25] In 2017, when he was appointed Queen's counsel (honoris causa), the announcement celebrated his "significant contribution to the teaching of law."

As a university administratorEdit

He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education in 2014, with responsibility for developing education policy and strategy for the University.[25] Virgo has addressed problems of sexual misconduct within the University of Cambridge[26] and suggested that the University may phase out the traditional academic 1st/2.i/2.ii/3rd system with a US-style GPA system in an attempt to stem grade inflation.[27]

Awards and honoursEdit

Virgo was the New Zealand Law Foundation's Distinguished Visiting Fellow in 2016, during which he gave lectures at various universities including the University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago and University of Waikato.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

He is keenly interested in drama[2] and is the Vice-Chair of the dramatic society the Gamlingay Players.[29] He is married to the Rev Dr Carolyn Hammond, Director of Studies in Theology and Dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.[2][3] He has two children, Elizabeth and Jonathan.[2]

Selected publicationsEdit

Graham Virgo, The Principles of the Law of Restitution (3rd ed, 2015)

Graham Virgo, The Principles of Equity and Trusts (2012)

Graham Virgo and Paul Davies, Equity & Trusts: Cases and Materials (2013)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Professor Graham Virgo QC". Vice-Chancellor's Office, University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Downing College Association Newsletter 2009" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b QC (Hon), Graham Virgo (31 March 2018). "Very proud of my wife who officiated at Stephen Hawking's funeral today.pic.twitter.com/EqMdSV1vAb". @grahamvirgo. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Downing College Annual Report and Accounts 2018-2019" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Lord Chancellor welcomes historic promotion of talent for new silks". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  6. ^ Jackson, Cordelia (29 June 2018). "Professor Graham Virgo appointed Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor". For staff. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Virgo, Graham. "John Hopkins: A Tribute from Professor Graham Virgo QC (Hon)" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Lord Chancellor welcomes promotion of new silks". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter 2003-2004" (PDF). Downing College. 2004. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  10. ^ "CHAPTER XI : UNIVERSITY OFFICES AND GRANTS OF TITLE - SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR UNIVERSITY OFFICERS". www.admin.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter 2012" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Downing College Association Newsletter" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Professor Graham Virgo | Faculty of Law". 14 February 2020. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  14. ^ Virgo, Graham (28 January 2016). "Restitution and Unjust Enrichment in the Supreme Court: Reflections on Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd v Menelaou". Rochester, NY. SSRN 2724024. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Neuberger, David (10 February 2017). "Neill Lecture 2017, Twenty Years a Judge: Reflections and Refractions, Oxford Law Faculty" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter 2010" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Event Page" (PDF).
  18. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter 2019" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  19. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lord-chancellor-welcomes-historic-promotion-of-talent-for-new-silks
  20. ^ Brudner, Alan (3 October 2013). The Unity of the Common Law. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-100254-0.
  21. ^ a b c "Downing College Association Newsletter 2013" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Downing College Association Newsletter" (PDF). Downing College, Cambridge. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  24. ^ https://www.law.cam.ac.uk/press/news/2013/03/those-who-wish-practise-law-should-not-study-law-university/2190
  25. ^ a b http://www.law.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/events-1/events/events-2016/2016/08/public-lecture-professor-graham-virgo.html
  26. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-42958025
  27. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/01/12/cambridge-don-claims-rapid-grade-inflation-tuition-fees-students/
  28. ^ http://www.lawfoundation.org.nz/?p=5959#2016DVF
  29. ^ "The Committee". Gamlingay Players. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.

External linksEdit