William E. Butler
John Edward Fowler Distinguished Professor of Law
William E. Butler specializes in international and comparative law, focusing principally on Russia, Eurasia generally, and public and private international law. A member of the Dickinson Law community since 2005, he served as Reader (1970-1976) and Professor of Comparative Law (1976-2005) in the University of London—attached to University College London—where he is presently Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law. In 1992, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and in 2012, a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine. Both Ukrainian Academies have awarded him their Gold Medal for distinguished contributions to international and comparative legal scholarship, and the Supreme Court of Ukraine its medal “For Fidelity to Law”—all distinctions rarely awarded to foreigners.
Professor Butler has published widely in his chosen fields and been among those responsible for the development of Comparative International Law, having written widely on the subject; lectured at The Hague Academy of International Law (1985) on the subject; introduced LL.M. courses at University College London on the subject; and advised on syllabus reform to reflect this approach to interface between traditional comparative legal studies and public and private international law.
Professor Butler received his B.A. from the School of International Service, The American University (1961); M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (1963); J.D. from Harvard Law School (1966); LL.M. from the Academy University of Law, Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences (1997); Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS, 1970); and LL.D. from the University of London (1979). He has since received three honorary doctorates, most recently from the Kyiv University of Law (Ukraine) and the University of Uppsala (Sweden).
Professor Butler has been elected to the arbitrator panels of the international commercial arbitration courts of the Russian Federation (1995), Kazakhstan (2012), and Ukraine (2013), and also served as an arbitrator or expert in the Stockholm, London, Paris, Hague, and other arbitral tribunals.
At Dickinson Law, Professor Butler offers courses or seminars on Russian Law and Legal Institutions; International Investment Transactions; History of International Law, Law of the Sea, Law of Treaties, and International Human Rights Law. He is the founding editor of Jus Gentium: Journal of International Legal History (2016-) and co-founding editor of the Journal of Comparative Law (2005-).
By way of pastimes, Professor Butler is a bibliophile and bookplate collector, and member of The Grolier Club, Washington Rare Book Club, National Union of Bibliophiles (Russia), and former Executive Secretary of the International Federation of Exlibris Societies (1986-2016). Since 2019, he has served as Chairman of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies.
Butler has published extensively in his fields of interest. He is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of books, looseleaf services, casebooks, articles, translations, and reviews on Soviet, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarus, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Baltic, and other CIS legal systems. Salient titles include:
Soviet Law (London, Butterworths, 1983; 2d ed., 1988).
The Corporation and Securities Under Russian and American Law (with Maryann E. Gashi-Butler) (Moscow, Zertsalo, 1997).
Russian Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999; 2d ed., 2003; 3d ed., 2009).
Russian Law and Legal Institutions (London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2014; 2d ed., 2018).
Russian Family Law (London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2015);
Russian Inheritance Law (London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2015).
Russia and the Law of Nations (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2009).
Foreign Investment Law in the Commonwealth of Independent States (2002).
The Law of Treaties in Russia and Other Member Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
The Tunkin Diaries and Lectures (2012); and others.
Russian-English Legal Dictionary (Ardsley, Transnational, 2001; Moscow, Zertsalo, 2001).
The Soviet Legal System (with J. N. Hazard and P. B. Maggs) (Dobbs Ferry, Oceana Publications, 1977; new ed., 1984).
International Litigation and Arbitration (with T. E. Carbonneau) (2d ed.; St. Paul, West, 2013).
Legislative Collections and Texts
Russian Legal Texts (with J. E. Henderson: Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1998).
Tadzhikistan Legal Texts (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Uzbekistan Legal Texts (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Russian Civil Legislation (Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Russian Company Law (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 2000).
Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003; London, Wildy, Simmonds, & Hill, 2010 and 2016).
Civil Code of the Republic Belarus (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 2000).
Civil Code of Ukraine (Kyiv, 2011).
Civil Code of the Republic Uzbekistan (3d ed.; London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999 and 2018).
Civil Code of the Republic Kazakhstan (3d ed; London, Simmonds & Hill, 1997 and 2007).
Turkmenistan Civil Code (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Russian Company and Commercial Legislation (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003).
Intellectual Property Law in the Russian Federation (London, Simmonds & Hill, 2002).
Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (4th ed.; London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2004).
Russian Criminal Law and Procedure (London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2011).
Criminal Code of Ukraine (Kyiv, 2011).
Tax Code of the Russian Federation (Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1999).
Russian Family Law (London, Simmonds & Hill; Boston/The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1998).
Family Code of Ukraine (Kyiv, 2011).
Economic Code of Ukraine (London, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2004; Kyiv, 2011).
Russian Civil and Arbitrazh Procedure (2012).
In addition he has published numerous articles in the leading law reviews of the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States. In 2003 he completed a major study for the Department for International Development, published separately in the English and Russian languages as: HIV/AIDS and Drug Misuse in Russia: Harm Reduction Programmes and the Russian Legal System (London, DFID/IFH, 2003). In 2009 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published in the English and Russian languages his The Right to Health and the United Nations Conventions on Narcotics, a study of Russian compliance with the United Nations conventions on narcotics.
He has translated and edited a number of treatises and monographs published in Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, among them:
G. I. Tunkin, Theory of International Law (London and Cambridge, Mass., 1974; 2d ed.; London, 2004).
A. Kh. Saidov, Comparative Law (London, 2003).
The Legal System of Ukraine, in 5 volumes (Kyiv, 2013).
Ukrainian Legal Doctrine, in 6 volumes (London, 2015-2018)
He has published translations of more than 3200 normative legal acts adopted in the former USSR, all CIS countries, and Mongolia, a full bibliography of which is contained in International and Comparative Law: A Personal Bibliography (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2015).
Cited United States Court of Appeals, 2004.