Becoming Peter Fitzpatrick (1941-2020)

International Journal of Law in Context, 2021

41 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by David Sugarman

David Sugarman

Lancaster University - Law School

Date Written: November 30, 2020


Peter Fitzpatrick (1941-2020) was a much-loved and inspirational scholar, friend and mentor. He contributed significantly to the intellectual, organisational, and cultural life of postcolonial legal studies, critical legal studies and law and the humanities – fields he helped to consolidate. This paper examines the reciprocal interplay between Peter’s life and work, between significant people, events, ideas and values, and the ways he made and re-made himself. It assesses and clarifies his key ideas and their intersection with his ethics and lived experiences. It illuminates his struggle, especially from the 1990’s onwards, to place ethics centre-stage in both life and law. Drawing on archival and secondary research, including interviews with his family, former colleagues and students, this contribution to legal life writing adds to what we already knew about his personal and professional biography. It is hoped that the paper will encourage those who are less familiar with Peter’s work, or who find his writing daunting, to tackle it anew and appreciate its significance.

Keywords: legal biography, intellectual history, postcolonialism, socio-legal studies, law and society, critical legal studies, legal education, post modernism, jurisprudence, law and racism, law and colonialism, law and postcolonialism, imperialism, Foucault, Derrida, Marxism, HLA Hart, law and mythology

Suggested Citation

Sugarman, David, Becoming Peter Fitzpatrick (1941-2020) (November 30, 2020). International Journal of Law in Context, 2021, Available at SSRN:

David Sugarman (Contact Author)

Lancaster University - Law School ( email )

Law School
Lancaster University
Lancaster, LA1 4YN
United Kingdom
(01524) 848137 (Fax)


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