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Author Q&A: Richard Stone and James Devenney

Richard Stone and James Devenney are leading academics in contract law. In our latest Q&A, Routledge co-author Richard Stone discusses the most recent editions of their highly-regarded Law textbooks, The Modern Law of Contract: 12th Edition and Text, Cases and Materials on Contract Law: 4th Edition.

"Try to learn cases as examples of principles – don’t worry about remembering details of the facts... if you tackle it step by step it’s not that complicated!"


Richard Stone
Emeritus Professor of Law and Human Rights
Lincoln Law School, University of Lincoln


Richard Stone holds an LLB from the University of Southampton and an LLM from the University of Hull. He was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1998. Over a 40-year career in higher education he has worked at a variety of institutions in the East Midlands and London, including the University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University, the Inns of Court School of Law and most recently, the University of Lincoln. He has taught and researched in Contract Law throughout his career, as well as having a strong interest in civil liberties and human rights. His publications include The Modern Law of Contract, Text Cases and Materials on Contract Law, Textbook on Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and The Law of Entry, Search, and Seizure.


1. What motivated you to write new editions of The Modern Law of Contract and Text, Cases and Materials on Contract Law?
There is always new case law that needs explaining. For these editions we also needed to take account of Brexit, and the impact of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

2. How do these books differ from other contract law books currently on the market?
They aim to fill the gap between basic introductory texts and “heavy weight” academic and practitioner treatises. The basic principles of each topic are explained clearly, but there is also sufficient additional material to challenge the student who wants to delve deeper into the subject – see, for example, the “For Thought” and “In Focus” sections of The Modern Law of Contract.

3. How did you approach writing the new editions of these two textbooks? Did you encounter any new challenges with these editions?
Gathering material for a new edition is an ongoing process – it starts as soon as the previous edition is completed. I didn’t face any particular challenges with these editions.

4. What or who inspired you to become an educator?
Some of my tutors at the University of Southampton, in particular John Cronin and Robert Grime, encouraged me to think about law in a broader way, and to investigate its nature as well as how it operates in practice. I became an academic because I became interested in exploring wider aspects of law than I would have encountered as a practitioner. I started writing for students because I felt that I could explain the law in a way which they would find easy to follow, while not ignoring its complications.

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to students studying contract law?
Try to learn cases as examples of principles – don’t worry about remembering details of the facts. And don’t be put off by promissory estoppel – if you tackle it step by step it’s not that complicated!

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About the Authors

Richard Stone is Emeritus Professor of Law and Human Rights at the University of Lincoln, UK. 

James Devenney is McCann FitzGerald Chair in International Law and Business at UCD Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, Ireland.