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Professor Simon Lee

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Law
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Law School
  • The Law School
  • simon.lee

Professional biography

Simon Lee became Professor of Law at the Open University in December 2015 and is now also Director of Citizenship & Governance Research. He is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, and Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence, Queen’s University, Belfast. He was a Brackenbury Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford (1976-1979) and a Harkness Fellow at Yale Law School (1979-1980). After being a lecturer in law at Trinity College, Oxford, and King’s College London, he became professor of jurisprudence at Queen’s (1999-2005) and served as the dean of the faculty of law. He was then Rector & Chief Executive of Liverpool Hope University College (1995-2003) and Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University (2003-2009), both institutions winning various awards during his leadership. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Virginia Theological Seminary in 2011 and Liverpool Hope in January 2016.

His contributions to the peace process in Northern Ireland included being the co-founder of Initiative ’92, which established the Opsahl Commission. He was appointed by different governments to the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights in Northern Ireland (1992-6), to the Standards Task Force on schools (1997-2001) and to chair the Independent Monitoring Board for the Liverpool Education Authority (1999-2000). He chaired the board of the Playhouse and Everyman Theatres in Liverpool. He then chaired the professional rugby union club, Leeds Carnegie, with first Stuart Lancaster and then Neil Back as head coach. In 2009, he founded Level Partnerships in London, becoming in 2010 also the inaugural chair of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, which was launched by Pope Benedict XVI. He now chairs the advisory council of International School Partnerships.

Simon Lee writes about law, ethics, religion, politics, history and sport. His books include Law & Morals (Oxford University Press, 1986), Judging Judges (Faber, 1988), The Cost of Free Speech (Faber, 1990), Uneasy Ethics (Pimlico, Random House, 2003; Random House e-book, 2011) and Vincent’s Club Oxford 1863-2013 (Third Millennium, 2014, foreword by Sir Roger Bannister). He is currently re-reading a book by a different author each day and blogging a daily review: