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Professor Chantal Stebbings

Professor of Law and Legal History


01392 723188

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Professor Chantal Stebbings researches into the legal history of the nineteenth century, with special reference to the law and practice of taxation. She was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Taxation by thesis and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She has held a British Academy Research Readership, a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, and has received regular Wellcome Trust and other British Academy funding for her research. She was Visiting Fellow in the University of Cambridge Centre for Tax Law, and Professeur Invité at the University of Rennes, France.


Her research involves doctrinal analysis at the interface of other disciplines in the nineteenth century, and explores the development of legal doctrine to reflect or initiate social or economic change, and the formal analysis of law in a practical context. Her research is into the legal history of tax in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, concentrating primarily on the law and administration of the direct taxes. She has researched and published in income tax, stamp duties, the assessed taxes and the excise, exploring, among other things, the taxation of asylums, the impact of taxes on the physical landscape, and the taxation of Georgian road transport. She is regularly invited to present her research at the major conferences in the field. In 2018 she delivered the Youard Lecture at the University of Oxford on the historical isolation of tax law and in 2019 she delivered the Selden Society Lecture at Gray's Inn on the Georgian Luxury Taxes and their contribution to the modern fiscal system.

She has written over 70 articles, has edited a number of books, and and is author of four monographs published by Cambridge University Press: The Private Trustee in Victorian England (2002); Legal Foundations of Tribunals in Nineteenth Century England (2006); The Victorian Taxpayer and the Law (20090; Tax, Medicines and the Law(2018).


Professor Stebbings is the Editor of the Journal of Legal History, the leading journal in legal history research. She serves on the Council of the Selden Society, the only learned society and publisher devoted entirely to English Legal History.

Professor Stebbings is a trustee of the Hamlyn Trust, the oldest series of public lectures in the Common Law world. Speakers are invited from eminent members of the legal profession, legal academia and public life from all Common Law jurisdictions, and the lectures are published by Cambridge University Press.

Selected Publications

For a full publication list, see ‘Publications’ tab


STEBBINGS, Chantal     Tax, Medicines and the Law: From Quackery to Pharmacy(Cambridge University Press, 2018), 240pp

STEBBINGS, Chantal     The Victorian Taxpayer and the Law: A Study in Constitutional Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 226pp

STEBBINGS, Chantal        Legal Foundations of Tribunals in Nineteenth Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 354pp

STEBBINGS, Chantal        The Private Trustee in Victorian England (Cambridge University Press, 2001), 257 pp

Articles and Book Chapters

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Tax and Pharmacy: A Synergy in Professional Evolution’ in Peter Harris (ed) Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2015) pp. 153-169

STEBBINGS, Chantal     ‘Tax and Quacks: the policy of the Eighteenth Century Medicine Stamp Duty’ John Tiley (ed) Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2014) pp. 283-304

STEBBINGS, Chantal     ‘Conflicts and Tensions in Lunacy Jurisdiction: the Case of Re Earl of Sefton [1898] 2 Ch 378 in Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell (eds) Landmark Cases in Equity (Cambridge University Press, 2012) 453-72

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Public Health Imperatives and Taxation Policy: the Window Tax as an Early Paradigm in English Law’ in John Tiley (ed), Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart Publishing, 2012) pp. 43-70.

STEBBINGS, Chantal     ‘Bureaucratic Adjudication: the Internal Appeals of the Inland Revenue’ in Joshua Getzler and Paul Brand (eds), Judges and Judging in the History of the Civil and Common Law: From Antiquity to Modern Times (Cambridge University Press, 2012), 157-174.

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Benefits and Barriers: the Making of Victorian Legal History’ in Anthony Musson and Chantal Stebbings (eds), Making Legal History: Sources and Approaches (Cambridge University Press, 2012) pp. 72-87

STEBBINGS, Chantal       ‘Protecting the Property of the Mentally Ill: the Judicial Solution in Nineteenth Century Lunacy Law’, (2012) Cambridge Law Journal vol. 71 pp. 384-411

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘’An Effective Model of Institutional Taxation: Lunatic Asylums in Nineteenth Century England’, (2011) Journal of Legal History Vol. 32 pp. 31-59.

STEBBINGS, Chantal     ‘Traders, the Excise and the Law: Tensions and Conflicts in early 19th Century England’ in John Tiley (ed), Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart Publishing, 2010) pp. 139-60

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Consent and Constitutionality in Nineteenth Century English Taxation’ in John Tiley (ed), Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart Publishing, 2009), pp. 293-321.

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Localism v. Centralism: Tensions in the Administration of Tax in Nineteenth Century England and America’ in Lewis, Brand and Mitchell (eds.), Law in the City (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2007), pp.119-62.

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Income Tax Tribunals: Their Influence and Place in the Victorian Legal System,’ in Tiley (ed.), Studies in the History of Tax Law (Hart  Publishing, 2004), pp. 57-79.

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘“Officialism:” Law, Bureaucracy and Ideology in late Victorian England’ in Lewis and Lobban (eds.), Law and History: Current Legal Issues vol. 6 (Oxford University Press, 2003), pp.317-42

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘State Intervention and Private Property Rights in Victorian England’ in Hudson (ed.), New Perspectives on Family Law, Human Rights and the Home (Cavendish Publishing, 2003), pp.217-37.

STEBBINGS, Chantal        ‘Victorian Perceptions of Medieval Jurisprudence’ in ed. Musson (ed.), Expectations of the Law in the Middle Ages (Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2001).

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