Jane Stapleton

  • Ernest E. Smith Professor


  • DPhil Oxford
  • DCL Oxford
  • LLB The Australian National University
  • PhD Adelaide University
  • BS The University of New South Wales

Jane Stapleton specializes in the law of Torts. As a result of her work on three continents, she offers a comparative perspective that complements the Law School's strength in these fields. She continues to serve as a Distinguished Professor of Law at the Australian National University College of Law in Canberra, Australia. Stapleton is also a Statutory Visiting Professor of Law at Oxford University and an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, where she taught for a dozen years before moving to the ANU in 1997. In 2008 the University of Oxford bestowed on Professor Stapleton her third doctorate, the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), her others being a PhD in physical organic chemistry and the D.Phil in law. In 2011-12 she was Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science, University of Cambridge. In the US she is a Council Member of the American Law Institute (the only non-US Council Member), in the UK she is an Honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn, and in Australia she is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. In 2013 the Association of American Law Schools bestowed on Professor Stapleton the Prosser Award (the only non-US recipient) which honors those "who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of tort law scholarship". In 2015 she was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. She has accepted invitations to teach and lecture as a Visiting Professor in the United Kingdom, the USA (teaching Torts at Columbia and Harvard), Germany, Spain, Israel, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Colombia and Brazil. She has acted as a consultant in major commercial, pharmaceutical, medical and environmental litigation in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Her scholarship centers on the private law of obligations, liability and compensation systems, and ranges from comparative product liability to the philosophical foundations of common law concepts such as causation, duty, and good faith. Apart from authoring many journal articles, she is the author of Disease and the Compensation Debate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) and Products Liability (London: Butterworths, 1994), and co-editor of Essays for Patrick Atiyah (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) and The Law of Obligations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).

Recent Publications

  • An ‘Extended But-For’ Test for the Causal Relation in the Law of Obligations, 35 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 697 (2015).
  • Un Recorrido por el Mundo del Common Law, 34 Responsabilidad Civil y del Estado 13 (2014).
  • Unnecessary Causes, 129 Law Quarterly Review 39 (2013).

Full list of publications…

Recent Activities

  • “Philosophy and Law: the case of causation”

    September 10, 2012

    Harvard Law School

    Delivered paper to the HLS Program on the Foundations of Private Law

  • ‘Unnecessary Causes: Hotson, Bailey v MoD, Sienkiewicz etc’

    November 17, 2011

    Inner Temple Hall, London

    Delivered the Richard Davies QC Memorial Lecture

Full activities list…