Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-gq7q9 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-18T10:44:32.120Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Pioneering the Laws of Commerce: Conversations with Professor Leonard Sedgwick Sealy for the Cambridge ESA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2013


The calm and courteous mannerisms that Professor Len Sealy's interviews radiate belie a pragmatic determination that has been the hallmark of his long and productive career. For nearly six decades he has been a legal pioneer, working assiduously to elevate the law of commerce, and in particular company law and insolvency, to scholarly respectability in academia and practical understanding in boardrooms. Yet typically, for one who spent his entire professional life collaborating with wealth creators of the commercial world, he eschewed direct personal involvement in such activities. His loyalty to the scholastic tradition, mirrored in his unstinting service to his college and the Faculty, has generated a legacy of fond regard and intellectual respect. These reflections by Professor Sealy are based on interviews with Lesley Dingle at the Squire Law Library during February and April 2013. They should be read in conjunction with Professor Sealy's entry in the Eminent Scholars Archive1.

Occasional Series
Copyright © The Author(s) 2013. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



2 Kenneth William Wedderburn, (1927–2012). Baron Wedderburn of Charlton, Labour politician, Cassel Professor of Commercial Law, LSE (1964–92). He was a Fellow of Clare College and taught law 1952–64. He wrote The Worker and the Law, Penguin Books Ltd, 1965.

3 Q125

4 Emlyn Capel Stewart Wade (1895–1978), Downing Professor of the Laws of England (1945–62). A constitutional lawyer.

5 Sir Robin Brunskill Cooke (1926–2006), Baron Cooke of Thorndon P.C., Judge of the Court of Appeal, New Zealand (1976–96).

6 Laurence Cecil Bartlett Gower, (1913–1997) MBE, Cassel Professor of Commercial Law, LSE. 1st Ed 1954, L. C. B. Gower, The Principles of Modern Company Law, Stevens & Son, London 599pp. [9th Ed. 2012, Davies & Worthington, Gower & Davies: Principles of Modern Company Law, Sweet & Maxwell, 1180pp.]

7 Cases and Materials in Company Law, CUP (1st ed 1971). (9th edn 2010) with Sarah Worthington.

8 (b. 1952-) Professorial Fellow, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge (2004-), Director of Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London (1995–2004).

9 Rider, B. (Ed). The Realm of Company Law, Kluwer (1998).

10 Q126

11 Quoted from notes supplied to me by Professor Sealy during the interviews.

12 Fiduciary Obligations in the Management and Promotion of Companies, PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, (1958) 374pp.

13 Q23

14 Fiduciary relationships (1962) CLJ 69–81. 1963. Some principles of fiduciary obligation (1963) CLJ 119–140. 1967 The Director as Trustee (1967). CLJ 83–103.

15 Q122

16 Professor Justice Paul Finn (b. 1946 ), Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, 1995- present, Goodhart Professor 2010–11.

18 Fiduciary Obligations Law Book Co (1978).

19 Q121

20 Stoljar, Samuel (Sam) J. (?–1990). 1975, A History of Contract at Common Law, ANU PressGoogle Scholar, 220pp.

21 Professor Geoffrey Sawer (1910–96), Professor of Law, Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.

22 CUP, 879pp.

23 Up to Benjamin's Sale of Goods, (7th Ed 2006) Guest, A.G., Miller, C.J., Harris, D., Treitel, G.H., Ellinger, E.P., Morse, C.G.J., Lomnicka, E., Sealy, L.S., Reynolds, F. M.B.. Sweet & MaxwellGoogle Scholar, 2720 pp. (There is now an 8th edition).

24 Fn 8, p. xix

25 E.g Regal (Hastings) Ltd v Gulliver [1942] 1 All ER 378.

26 A loose-leaf reference source. Professor Sealy was the Commonwealth Editor 1997–2005. Jordan Publishing.

27 Q99

28 Q99, 101.

29 As expounded, for example, in Finn 2007. The Unidroit Principles. Federal Court of Australia Conference. See Qs 34–36 of Finn interviews in ESA.

30 Q99

31 Q102

32 Q101

33 Rider, B. A. K., (Ed) The Realm of Company Law: A Collection of Papers in Honour of Professor Leonard Sealy, SJ Berwin Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Cambridge. Kluwer (1998)Google Scholar, at page xix.

34 Q106

35 Q105

36 Q114

37 Q94

38 Q125