James C. Fisher

Legal Scholar. 法学者

James C. Fisher



Project Associate Professor (2013 - )

University of Tokyo (Faculty of Law & Graduate Schools for Law and politics): 

Visiting Lecturer (2017 - )

Meiji University (School of Law) 

Daiwa Scholar (2013 - 2015)

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation



University of Oxford (UK) (2009-2013)

BA Jurisprudence (Law with European Law)

Utrecht University (The Netherlands) (2016 - )

PhD in Law (external)

Leiden University (The Netherlands) (2011-2012)

International & European Law

I am an academic lawyer teaching and researching at the University of Tokyo, Japan. My work focuses on the law of obligations and property--particularly the division between these categories--in England and Japan, and includes private law theory and comparative legal method. I have additional interests in constitutional and human rights law in Japan.

I am an elected Fellow of the European Law Institute, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Royal Asiatic Society. 

My work can be found on SSRN and Academia.eduOrchid and ResearcherID. My institutional webpage is here.




I convene several modules available to undergraduate, masters and taught doctoral law students at the University of Tokyo, and one special course at Meiji University. I also co-convene introductory law lectures and give specific graduate guidance in common law method and legal theory.

    Sole-taught programmes: 

    • English Contract Law
    • Comparative Trusts Law
    • Introduction to Japanese Law
    • Business Law in English (I) & (II)
    • Making Legal Arguments: Legal Writing in Theory and Practice
    • [2015-2016] Law and Society in Japan: Foreign Perspectives

    Collaboratively-taught programmes:

    • Fundamentals of Legal Study (II): (Common law history and method)
    •  [Summer School 2016] Global Trends in Company Law: (Development of English Company Law & Directors' Duties)


    “Contract variation in the common law: A critical response to Rock Advertising v MWB Business Exchange(2018) 47 Common Law World Review 196.

    “The trust as Trojan Horse: A comparative perspective on trusts’ role in Japanese succession law” (2018) 103 Iowa Law Review 1945.

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

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

    “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

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

    “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) 39 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 Westminster Law Review

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


    July 2018 “Public policy in private law: The ‘Civilisation’ of English law” at Younger Scholars’ Forum in Comparative Law (20th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law), Kyushu University (Japan)

    June 2018 “Against rights? Navigating the Left critique of human rights law for the 21st Century” at WG Hart Workshop: Building a 21st Century Bill of Rights, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (UK)

    Apr. 2018 “Trusts as legal transplants: Lessons from the trust in Japan” at Modern Studies in Property Law, University College London (UK)

    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 (N. Ireland)

    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)


    04 October 2017, TokyoReview.net: The Curious Case of the Criminal Tattooist

    09 August 2017, TokyoReview.net: The Dark Side of Japan’s “Okinawa Boom”

    28 July 2017, TokyoReview.net: Japan’s New Politics and the Rule of Law

    03 July 2017, TokyoReview.net: The Subversive Legal Philosophy of Anime

    24 July 2017, ABC: Japan in Focus