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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

FISHER, James Clayton FISHER, James Clayton

特任准教授 / Project Associate Professor FISHER, James ClaytonFISHER, James Clayton

Courses in AY 2018

  • 5111210 Introduction to Japanese Law
  • 5121223 Comparative Trusts Law
  • 5121224 Making Legal Arguments: Legal Writing in Theory and Practice
  • 5121225 English Contract Law
  • 5121226 English Contract Law

Education & Employment

Project Associate Professor (University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law & Graduate Schools for Law and Politics)
2017 ~
Visiting Lecturer (Meiji University, School of Law)
2013 - 2015
Daiwa Scholar (Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation)

Research Fields

Comparative private law (property, obligations and the murky middle-ground); Japanese public law; legal theory.

My doctrinal legal scholarship focuses on the common law of obligations and property, particularly the dividing line between these two categories, and increasingly from a comparative perspective. I have additional research interests in constitutional and human rights law, especially in Japan and wider East Asia, legal history, and legal theory and reasoning.

Wider activities

James is an elected Fellow of the European Law Institute, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of various legal and scholarly bodies, including the Society of Legal Scholars and the Society for Advanced Legal Studies. He serves on the Board of the Linkages and Engagements Advisory Group of the American Society of Comparative Law's Younger Comparativists’ Committee, and the Advisory Committee of the Australian academic journal Legal History. In addition to his scholarly publications, James writes for a general audience on Japanese law, politics and society:

Conference presentations

Sept. 2017 “The Trust as Trojan Horse: Quiet Revolution in the Japanese Law of Property and Succession” at Wealth Transfer Law in International and Comparative Perspective, University of Iowa (USA); July 2017 “Administrative Law in Japan: Politics, Culture and the Rule of Virtuous Men” at WG Hart Workshop: Law, Society and Administration in a Changing World, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (UK); Aug. 2016 “England’s experiments in the attribution of illegal acts” at Recent Developments in Corporate and Financial Law, University of Tokyo (Japan); July 2016 “Making trusts civilised: War, revolution and the English trust in Japan” at the Eighth International Conference on the Law of Obligations, University of Cambridge (UK); May 2016 “Two Quasi-Constitutional Norms in Japan”, at the International Symposium on Quasi-Constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes, Victoria University Wellington, (New Zealand); Apr. 2016 “New rules for the ‘in rem’ effect of freehold covenants” at Modern Studies in Property Law, Queen’s University Belfast, (UK); Sept. 2015 “Changing criminal justice: the ‘cultural defence’ and the jurisprudence of multiculturalism” at the Law and Culture Conference, St Mary’s University (UK); Aug. 2015 “The rights of foreigners in Japan” at the Fourth East Asian Law & Society Conference, Waseda University (Japan); July 2015 “Whaling in the Antarctic and the power of public international law”, at the European Conference on Politics, Economics and Law (UK); Feb. 2013 “Dworkin and the cultural defence”, at the International Law Student Colloquium, Trinity College Dublin, (Republic of Ireland)

Major Publications

Contract Law in England and Wales
(Wolters Kluwer, 2018) (

“Rethinking the rules for the proprietary effect of freehold covenants”
in Robin Hickey & Heather Conway (eds), Modern Studies in Property Law (Volume 9), (Hart Publishing, 2017)

“The trust as Trojan Horse: A comparative perspective on trusts’ role in Japanese succession law”
(2018) 102 Iowa Law Review (forthcoming)

“The Curious Case of the Criminal Tattooist: Japanese Criminal Law in Action”
(2017) 44 Journal of Japanese Law 277

Douglas Howland, International Law and Japanese Sovereignty: The Emerging Global Order in the 19th Century (book review)
(2017) 44 Journal of Japanese Law 308

“Pirates, Giants and the State: Legal Authority in Manga and Anime”
in Ashley Pearson et al. (eds), Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture (Routledge, 2018) (forthcoming)

“The quasi-Constitutionality of non-statutory norms: executive Constitutional interpretation in Japanese law”
in Richard Albert & Joel Colon-Rios (eds), Quasi-Constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes: Forms, Functions, Applications (forthcoming)

“Implied terms again, or how Lord Hoffmann got treated in Marks & Spencer”
(2016) 45 Common Law World Review 236

“The making and breaking of contractual licences”
(2016) 80 The Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 403

“The latest word on illegality”
[2016] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 483

“Rearticulating the rule against penalty clauses”
[2016] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 169

“Article 9, the rise of China and the US-Japan security alliance”
(2016) 21 Journal of Japanese Law 165

Hiroyuki Kihara, Tort Law in Japan (book review)
(2016) 41 Journal of Japanese Law 260

Alastair Hudson, Equity and Trusts (book review)
(2017) 51 The Law Teacher 104

“The ex turpi causa principle in Hounga and Servier”
(2015) 78 Modern Law Review 854

“The Constitution, international law and the rights of foreigners in Japan”
(2015) 39 Journal of Japanese Law 109

“Uncertainty, opportunism and the intermediate term: The Hong Kong Fir principle in English and Irish contract law”
(2015) 14 Hibernian Law Journal 96

“Kettel v Bloomfold and the ouster principle in the law of easements”
(2014) 3(2) Westminster Law Review

“Morality in cultural defence cases: Insights from a Dworkinian analysis”
(2013) 1(2) Birkbeck Law Review 281