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Catharine MacMillan joined The Dickson Poon School of Law in 2016 as a Professor of Private Law. She previously held positions at Queen Mary University of London, as a Reader in Legal History, and the University of Reading, as a Professor of Law and Legal History. Catharine MacMillan’s initial interest in private law has expanded over time to include modern legal history. Prior to entering into academia she practised law in Vancouver, specialising in private law litigation. She is the Vice President of the Society of Legal Scholars and the Treasurer for the Selden Society. Catharine MacMillan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London and an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Research interests

Catharine MacMillan is engaged in researching the nineteenth and early twentieth century development of English private law. Her recent publications have concerned the doctrines of frustration, mistake, privity and unconscionability and have provided an historical analysis of contemporary private law. Her historical analysis has laid the basis for further research and publications concerned with contemporary contractual doctrines and issues.

She has a particular interest in the adjudication of mercantile disputes by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council within the nineteenth century British Empire. In connection with this research she is currently engaged in writing a legal biography of Judah Benjamin. The work explores the importance of the individual in the development of English common law and the transfer of law and juristic concepts between different legal jurisdictions.

Catharine MacMillan has published and spoken widely on the results of her research.

Catharine MacMillan welcomes PhD supervisions in Contract Law and Modern Legal History.


  • Elements of the Law of Contract
  • British Legal History
  • Commercial Law