Professors Chris Reed, Rosa Lastra and Johanna Gibson share their recollections of working with Professor Ian Walden during his time as Director of CCLS.
Professor Ian Walden was the Director of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies from 2018 to 2022. He headed our school through the challenging years of the Covid-19 crisis, and structural changes at university and school level. We thank him for his dedicated service and many contributions, ranging from modernising CCLS’s governance, promoting qLegal, supporting our alumni engagement activities, tirelessly building relationships with key stakeholders, and, most importantly, ensuring that CCLS remains a leading institution in teaching and research.
This is what his colleagues say about him:
“Thirty years ago, Ian and I met at a conference in Budapest, got on well, and discovered our research and teaching interests were complementary. So I tempted him away from his university, and we set about building what is now the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Law Institute. As Ian arrived, we were just offering our second LLM module. Now we teach more than 20 modules plus a distance learning LLM and are the largest European research institute in the field. Without Ian, none of this would have happened.
Ian is one of those rare academics – a leading authority in his research field and also a committed teacher. Innovation is one of his specialities – he invented qLegal, our clinical legal advice service for entrepreneurs, and has just taught his new Public Affairs Advocacy module for the first time. There will be more to come!
But of course, Ian is more than just a teacher and researcher. The list of his public service activities is impressive, making a major contribution to child online safety and writing the telecommunications laws of developing countries, among others. In most parts of the world, if you talk to academics or practitioners in the field, or governments and regulators, they know Ian.
Others have written about his work as Director, a job which becomes harder each year as CCLS grows and becomes ever more complex, so I will merely add that he did the job impressively well. He deserves a rest now, which in Ian terms probably means lots of research and writing, plus starting some fresh initiatives.”
“Ian Walden’s contribution to CCLS at a time of major challenges for Universities around the World in the light of the pandemic has been of great significance. It has also helped cement his vision when he became Head of the Centre, of advancing commercial law as an instrument of development. His work in Africa (legislating against cybercrime in Kenya and harmonizing cyberlaws in East Africa) and the expansion of Qlegal in Strathmore University in Kenya with a pro bono legal initiative are examples of this symbiotic relationship.
His inter-disciplinary approach (politics, law, international relations) fits very well with the research agenda of QMUL.
Alumni Chapters around the World have steadily grown under his tenure as CCLS Director. Indeed, under Ian’s leadership our alumni reach-out has hugely expanded, contributing to the formation of a community of alumni, students and academics that is already yielding fruit. The CCLS Alumni Awards, the CCLS Giving Day and other initiatives have helped us reconnect with our loyal and distinguished alumni domestically and around the Globe.
At a personal level, I have found that Ian has a very fine combination of being firm and compassionate: two great qualities for a leader, and much needed in the legal profession and the world of academia/legal scholarship.”
“Ian is possibly one of the most forthright, candid, and plain-speaking colleagues I have known. One might say he is positively “Australian” and perhaps that is why I have always admired Ian and appreciated his collegiality and friendship. And it is probably also why we have occasionally bumped heads! But of course, only in the most intellectually charged and stimulating way! Ian has been an incredible CCLS Director, leading us through genuinely unthinkable challenges, and at the same time shouldering some dreadful challenges of his own. I can merely echo my colleagues in listing Ian’s accomplishments over the years. But some aspects are less readily catalogued, and I am quite genuine when I say that Ian’s achievements during these past four years have been nothing short of monumental. Thanks, Ian, for the bumpy ride – heads and all!”