The history of the Cape Town Convention Academic Project

The project was the brainchild of Professor Sir Roy Goode and Jeffrey Wool, whose vision in 2011 was to create an academic project to instigate and facilitate research and education relating to the Cape Town Convention and its Protocols, and the wider themes and principles which emerged from its creation and continued operation. The project was a joint undertaking by the University of Oxford Faculty of Law (of which the academic lead was Professor Louise Gullifer, working with Professor Sir Roy Goode) and the University of Washington School of Law. Professor Jeffrey Wool was the Executive Director of the project and the academic lead for the University of Washington. The Aviation Working Group was a founding sponsor of the project. The database and the journal were undertaken under the auspices of UNIDROIT, and the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail also cooperated with the project.

During the first 8 years of the project, eight annual conferences were held in Oxford (see The first three conferences were held at the Oxford Law Faculty, the fourth at the Andrew Wiles Mathematical Institute in Oxford, and the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford. The papers from the conferences have been published in the Cape Town Convention Academic Journal. The can be found in the Scholarly Articles section of this website.

Over the first few years of the project, the database was developed, and additional information was developed and added, such as the reports on judicial, and administrative and non-judicial, activity, and the annotations to the Official Commentary. Education materials were also developed. The two related projects on the Economic Assessment of International Commercial Law Reform, and Best Practices of Electronic Registration Design and Operation were also instigated during this period.

In 2019, following the departures of Jeffrey Wool and Louise Gullifer from the University of Washington and the University of Oxford respectively, the University of Cambridge and UNIDROIT became the project collaborators, with the Aviation Working Group remaining the founding sponsor. The links with the University of Oxford remain through Professor Sir Roy Goode, who is a senior advisor to the project, and Jeffrey Wool, who remains a Senior Research Fellow of the Commercial Law Centre at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.