Patrick McAuslan MBE, 1937 – 2014: an Appreciation (Edesio Fernandes)

                      Patrick McAuslan 1937-2014

Following an inspiring life fully committed to the promotion of land reform, social justice, legal education and institutional modernisation in developing and urbanising countries, Professor Patrick McAuslan passed away on 11 January 2014, after a short illness. Through his inseparable academic and policy-making work, he left a unique legacy.

A landmark figure, he was internationally recognized as a pioneer and world expert in the fields of law and development; land law; law reform; sustainable development; poverty alleviation; and planning law, initially within a postcolonial African and Asian context, extending to other parts of the world, notably the Caribbean. He was the founding father of a growing and increasingly influential field of Public Law, namely, Urban Law.

Patrick McAuslan studied at Oxford University. He was a member of the group that established the first African Law School in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in 1961 where he taught for five years. He also taught at the LSE, latterly as Professor of Public Law (1986-92), The University of Warwick (1990-93) and Birkbeck College, London University, where he was instrumental in the establishment of the School of Law in 1993, becoming Professor of Law. He was Professor of Urban Management at the DPU, UCL (1992-99) and was an active member of DPU-Associates from 1997 until his death on 2014.

He left a solid body of ground breaking published work: Law, land and planning; The ideologies of planning law; Land policy for the urban poor; Urban land and shelter for the poor; ‘Bringing the law back’ in Essays on Land, Law and Development; and Land Law Reform in East Africa: Traditional or Transformative?; as well as countless articles and consultancy reports.

For over 50 years, he also had an active policy-making career, working in different capacities for several international organisations and national governments. Among other positions, he was Land Management Advisor and later Co-ordinator of the World Bank/UN-Habitat Urban Management Programme (UMP), based in Nairobi (1990-93), as well as regularly acting as an advisor for other UN Agencies, and World Bank programmes, the European Union and UK-DFID. He visited over 35 countries to carry out advisory missions, often in precarious and even dangerous conditions. His reports and proposals for new laws and policies effectively contributed to legal and institutional reform in many of those. He was made an MBE by the British Government in recognition of his international contribution to law and development.

Professor McAuslan was an intellectual mentor and personal role model to generations of lawyers, legal scholars, urban planners and policy-makers throughout the world.

He is survived by his wife Dorrette, daughter Fiona and a grandson.

He will be missed.

Edesio Fernandes

(See: ‘Emergency Lex – and other improbable tales from the Law Zone’ (in the Recent News and Reflections’ column), which Patrick wrote for the DPU-Associates website in 2010)







The views expressed in 'Recent News & Reflections' are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any of the governments, organisations or agencies with whom they have been working.