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Tributes to Professor Gary Slapper

Photo of Gary Slapper

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the untimely death of Professor Gary Slapper. Gary was Professor of Law, and the first Head of the Law School at The Open University until 2011. The legacy of his work can be seen through the ongoing success of the Law School, the growth of the LLB programme and its vibrant student community. Tributes have already been paid by colleagues and former students who cite Gary as a true inspiration, particularly due to his humour and ability to make complex matters relevant and engaging.

Part of his dedicated mission as Head of Law at The Open University was to inspire wider public interest in legal scholarship, and to enhance social access to the law. He will be greatly missed by colleagues, students and the wider academic and legal worlds. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Professor Rebecca Taylor
Executive Dean at The Open University pays tribute

Academic Career

Professor Slapper was educated at University College London and went on to study his doctorate at the London School of Economics. He was a Door Tenant at 36 Bedford Row, the Chambers of Frances Oldham QC, and was a member of the Society of Legal Scholars. He was a Senior Academic on the Bar Standards Board's Education and training Committee and a Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Gary wrote and co-wrote many law books and published a wide range of academic journal papers. His research into corporate crime was pioneering and in the foreword to his book Blood in the Bank, the philosopher and writer Noam Chomsky described his work as ‘pathbreaking'. Other books include How the Law Works, and The English Legal System which influenced legal education and is described as "a law student staple". The work English Lawwritten with Dr David Kelly, was the first work of its kind in the UK to use a companion internet site to keep its readers informed of any changes to the law that occurred after publication of the book. You can read more about Gary's publications and research interests online: 

Professor Slapper was also a co-founder and editor of The Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education. He was a legal consultant to BBC drama productions and for documentary series. In 2008 he was the legal consultant to Channel Four's series on the history of English Law, and to the BBC2 series The Barristers. In 2010 he was appointed as the legal consultant to a BBC television series on the history of crime and punishment. 


The Open University Remembers Gary Slappper