Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Prest

Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Prest
  • Biography/ Background

    Wilfrid Prest was educated at the University of Melbourne (BA Hons.), and the University of Oxford (DPhil, Modern History); after a brief stint as publishing trainee in London, he came to a lectureship in the Department of History in 1966. 

    Apart from two years as Assistant Professor at The Johns Hopkins University (1969-71), and visiting posts elsewhere (ANU, Cambridge, Oxford, Princeton, St Andrews), Prest taught and wrote history at Adelaide until 2002. He  then took up an ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship, transferring to the Law School in 2003; his  final academic appointment before retirement was as Professor of Law. He is currently Emeritus Professor and Visiting Research Fellow in History and in Law, a Fellow of Queen's College, University of Melbourne, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Royal Historical Society (UK), and a member of the Council of the Selden Society. 


  • Research Interests


    A New History of Law in Post-Revolutionary England, 1689-1760 (contribution, with co-authors David Lemmings and Mike Macnair, to volume 9 of the Oxford History of the Laws of England, ed. J H Baker, under ARC DP160100265)

    Bentham and Blackstone

    Corruption, political and judicial, in early modern England

    The history of history, and universities, in Australia

    South Australian history



    1. Publications

      Books (as author and editor):

      The Oxford Blackstone; a variorum edition of William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1765-69; 2016)  [General editor; with David Lemmings, Simon Stern, Thomas Gallanis and Ruth Paley: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-edition-of-blackstone-9780199601035?cc=us&lang=en&]

      Pasts Present: History at Australia's Third University (Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2014)

      Re-interpreting Blackstone's Commentaries: a Seminal Text in National and International Contexts (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2014)

      Blackstone as a Barrister (Selden Society, London, 2010)

      Blackstone and his Commentaries: Biography, History, Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2009)

      William Blackstone: Law and Letters in the Eighteenth Century  (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008; paperback 2012)

      Body and Mind: Historical Essays in Honour of F. B. Smith (Melbourne University Publishing, Melburne, 2009) [with Graeme Davison and Patricia Jalland]

      The Letters of Sir William Blackstone 1744-1780 (Selden Society, London, 2006)

      Litigation Past and Present (UNSW Press, Kensington, 2004) [with Sharyn Roach Anleu]

      The Wakefield Companion to South Australian History (Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2001) [with Carol Fort and Kerrie Round]

      Scatterlings of Empire (Queensland University Press, St Lucia, 2001) [with Graham Tulloch]

      British Studies into the 21st Century: Perspectives and Practices (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1999)

      Albion Ascendant: English History 1660-1815 (Oxford University Press, London, 1998)

      John Bray: Law, Letters, Life (Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 1997)

      The Diary of Sir Richard Hutton, Justice of Common Pleas 1613-39 (Selden Society, London, 1991)

      The Professions in Early Modern England (Croom Helm, London and Sydney, 1987)

      The Rise of the Barristers: A Social History of the English Bar, 1590-1640(Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986, 1991)

      Lawyers in Early Modern Europe and America(Croom Helm, London, 1981)

      The Inns of Court under Elizabeth I and the Early Stuarts 1590-1640 (Longman, London; Rowman and Littefield, Totowa NJ, 1972)


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    Entry last updated: Monday, 27 Nov 2017