A world-renowned legal expert at the University of Birmingham has received one of the highest honours of the Republic of Ghana.

Professor Gordon Woodman has been made a Member of the Order of the Volta in recognition of his contribution to the country’s growth and development.

Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law at the University, Professor Woodman joined Birmingham in 1976 and remains an active member of Birmingham Law School. he is pictured above receiving his award from the deputy High Commissioner for Ghana.


Head of School, Professor Robert Lee, said: “Gordon Woodman is one of the world’s leading legal scholars, and a dedicated and committed teacher. Birmingham Law School is proud of the enormous contribution that his work has made to the Ghanaian legal system.

“We continue to have a strong relationship with, and attract doctoral students from, Ghana largely due to the high esteem in which Gordon is rightly held there. We congratulate him warmly for this much deserved honour.”

At the award ceremony, Ghana President John Dramani Mahama noted that the recipients had impacted positively towards the country’s growth and development, continuing to share their experiences with Ghana’ current generation.

Professor Woodman went to Ghana in 1961 to work on his PhD on customary land law in the country, shortly after Ghana became a republic. Following his doctoral studies there, Professor Woodman spent a short period of time lecturing in Nigeria, before returning to the University of Ghana, where he became an Associate Professor.

He was the editor of the University of Ghana Law Journal, and edited the Ghana ‘Land Cases’ law reports, which are still cited today. His work on customary land law in Ghana has been extremely influential, and his book Customary Land Law in the Ghanaian Courts as well as his 2nd edition of Ollennu’s Principles of Customary Land Law in Ghana remain authoritative texts in the jurisdiction.

Professor Woodman is one of the world’s most important authors on customary law and African law, as well as a pioneering scholar of legal pluralism. His work includes academic books and articles, and reports for governments, NGOs, and the World Bank.

He has frequently given expert evidence in the English courts on questions of Ghanaian law. His world-leading research has previously been recognised with, among other things, honorary doctorates from the University of Bayreuth (Germany) and the University of Ghana.


Notes to Editors

• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.