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Dr Charlotte Smith – University of Reading

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Dr Charlotte Smith

Dr Charlotte Smith
Job Title:
Associate Professor
Dr. Charlotte Smith



Charlotte Smith is the Co-Director of Postgraduate Research and the Programme Director for M Res Legal History. She currently teaches on the following undergraduate modules:

  • History of English Law
  • Land Law

Charlotte Smith has supervised a number of doctoral candidates in the fields of modern and early modern legal history. She is a founding member and Co-Director of the Forum for Legal and Historical Research.

Areas of Interest

Charlotte Smith's research interests lie predominantly in legal history, and particularly in an examination of the relationship between church and state. There are two main dimensions to her work. The first is domestic and explores the impact of church-state relations upon various aspects of clergy discipline and ecclesiastical court reform in the nineteenth century. She has published widely in this field and is currently preparing a monograph on this subject to be published by Cambridge University Press. In recent years Charlotte Smith has developed her research in ways which intersect with imperial and colonial history. Her research in this area explores the transmission and experience of English law to and in British settler colonies in the nineteenth century, and the impact that this has had upon the history and formation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. Charlotte Smith's historical research in these areas has led to publications in connection with developments in modern constitutional law and equity and trusts.

Charlotte Smith's two areas of research are united by an ongoing interest in the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, as both the Final Court of Appeal of the British Empire and the Final Court of Ecclesiastical Appeal. In connection with this she was Co-Investigator (2010-2013) of an AHRC-funded research network - 'Subjects of law: rightful selves and the legal process in imperial Britain and the British empire'. In collaboration with Dr Nandini Chatterjee of the University of Exeter she created an online catalogue of historic Privy Council papers and, in 2014, curated the summer exhibition at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The exhibition - A Court at the Crossroads of Empire - was run alongside a number of public events and schools days led by Charlotte Smith and was visited by approximately 26,000 people. More recently, in 2016, she co-organised a workshop on the papers of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

External Activities

Charlotte Smith is the Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Legal History and is an active member of the London Legal History Seminar Series.

She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anglican Chaplaincy at the University of Reading.

Research groups / Centres


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Further Publications

  • "A Curious Episode in the History of Appellate Jurisdiction", 74 Amicus Curiae (Summer, 2008), pp. 17-23.
  • "Allcard v Skinner (1887)" in C. Mitchell and P. Mitchell (Eds.), Landmark Cases in the Law of Restitution (Oxford: Hart, 2006).
  • " Allcard v Skinner Revisited: Historical Perspectives on Undue Influence", in E. J. Cooke (Ed.), Modern Studies in Property Law (vol. III) (Oxford: Hart, 2005)
  • "The Place of Representatives of Religion in the Reformed Second Chamber", (2003) Public Law, pp 674-696.
  • "Martin v Mackonochie/Mackonochie v Penzance: A Crisis of Character and Identity in the Court of Arches?" (2003) Legal History, vol. 24, pp. 250-272.
  • "Episcopal Seats and Proposals for Reform of the House of Lords" (2002) Kings College Law Journal, vol. 13, pp. 109-117.


LL.B. (King's College), Ph.D. (King's College)

Biographical Details

Charlotte Smith joined the School of Law in September 2002 while putting the finishing touches to her doctoral thesis at King's College London.

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