Richard Moorhead becomes UCL’s first Chair in Law and Professional Ethics

2 April 2012

Richard Moorhead

Professor Richard Moorhead, a highly-respected voice in legal education and legal aid, has been appointed as the first Chair in Law and Professional Ethics at UCL.

As holder of the Chair, he will take on the Directorship of UCL’s Centre for Ethics and Law, based at UCL Laws. In his new role, Professor Moorhead will advance the strengths and raise the profile of UCL as a world-leading centre of research excellence in law and professional ethics.

The Centre for Ethics and Law fosters intellectual leadership and knowledge-sharing between industry, academics, practitioners, policy-makers and the professions. It recognises that business and the professions are going through profound periods of commercial change. Ethical and reputational concerns are at the heart of many of these changes. Professor Moorhead said:

“There has never been a better time to be focusing on ethics. Ethical crises are everywhere. Businesses, professions and the media are discovering that reputational risk damages bottom lines in the short term and legitimacy in the long term. All are struggling with greater accountability and diminished trust. At the same time, technology and the power of markets are challenging conventional modes of regulation. The language of compliance is being exchanged with the language of proper justice, but it remains to be seen if this shift delivers more justice.”

There has never been a better time to be focusing on ethics. Ethical crises are everywhere. Businesses, professions and the media are discovering that reputational risk damages bottom lines in the short term and legitimacy in the long term.

Professor Richard Moorhead

Moorhead will be working to establish a high calibre research and teaching agenda at UCL. He will help to shape multi-disciplinary scholarship on law and professional ethics, through research, teaching, publications, and events, within UCL and worldwide. He says of the future:

“The connected, contested world of the modern economy has made most of us more interested in right and wrong. Corporates and professionals need to take more rounded decisions. Regulators are shifting from compliance to more substantive modes of regulation. The legal professions in particular are going through paradigm-busting shifts which challenge their ethics and their identities. As academics we have a tremendous opportunity to engage with those constituencies. We can do so conceptually and through applied research skills and should lead with ideas. Through the Centre, we aim to seize that opportunity.”

Richard Moorhead's main research interests to date have been access to justice, lawyer ethics, legal services and the regulation of legal systems. He specialises in applied, empirical research which has been influential on professional regulation, legal aid and debates on legal services. He has three times acted as special adviser to select committees on legal aid reform and has conducted a range of studies into legal aid. He is a former member of the Civil Justice Council and the Lord Chancellor’s Legal Services Consultative Panel. He has acted as a consultant to several international organisations and governments on legal aid and legal services reform. His blog, Lawyer Watch, provides research and commentary on the legal professions.

Professor Moorhead will take-up his post at UCL Laws in September 2012.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn QC, Dean of the UCL Laws, said: “We are delighted that Richard has accepted this important new post as Chair in Law and Professional Ethics at UCL. He has a global reputation for his research on the legal profession, access to justice, regulation and legal services reform. He will be a great asset to the Faculty and is well-placed to work with our partners in industry to take forward the work of the Centre for Ethics and Law.”

Media contact: Ruth Howells


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