MPP Course Director
Reader in Law, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
Associate Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy
David gained a first class degree in Law from Cambridge in 1981 and then attended both law school and graduate school at Yale, gaining an LLM and a MA and an MPhil in Sociology.
He returned to his undergraduate college, Clare, in 1985 as a research fellow in comparative law and became a university teaching officer in the Department of Land Economy, where he taught company law, employment law, private law and the economic analysis of law. His book on tort law won the Butterworths Prize in 1994. In 2005 he became Reader in Private Law.
He followed a parallel career in politics, chairing the Liberal Democrats’ first economic policy committee and serving as a member of the party’s Policy Committee under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown. He was elected as a local councillor in Cambridge and became Leader of the Council in 2000, both the first Liberal Democrat and the first academic to hold that position. In 2005, he was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Cambridge.
In Parliament his successful campaign against provisions of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (the ‘Abolition of Parliament Bill’) led to his nomination as a candidate for ‘Backbencher of the Year’. Subsequently promoted to the Liberal Democrat front bench he became the party’s shadow Energy Minister and then Shadow Secretary of State for Justice.
Despite being one of the relatively few MPs not implicated in the expenses scandal, on 5 November 2009, he announced that he would be standing down as MP for Cambridge at the next election, citing a desire to return to academia. David was made a CSaP Associate Fellow in March 2010.
His latest book is ‘Law as Engineering: Thinking about what lawyers do’.