Comments and Condolences for Professor Lipstein

Over the years, Professor Lipstein met and worked with many students and academics. With his sad passing on 2 December 2006, many wished to remember their time with him.  The comments below were left on our website at the time:

Comments


Greg Reisman, Clare College
I feel honoured to have been taught by Professor Lipstein whose supervisions were always lively and interesting. His absence around college and at our law dinners will be sorely missed. My sincerest condolences and I wish his family a long life.


Daniel Bates, Cambridge, UK
It is with great sadness that I note the passing of Professor Lipstein. He was an inspiration to many, and a true gentleman with a wicked sense of humour. My greatest sympathies to his family.


Hilary Silk (nee Jackson), Oxford
It is an immense privilege to have been taught by Professor Lipstein. He supervised my dissertation, and I later worked with him on sessions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. I remember happy times playing croquet in his garden at Newnham, the impromptu dinner we gave for him in The Hague when he got his Chair, his witty and sometimes wicked anecdotes, and above all his warm and generous nature. He will be very greatly missed.


Stephen Pitel, Western Law, London, Ontario
I met Professor Lipstein during my doctoral studies at Cambridge in the late 1990s. When I told him I was working on choice of law for unjust enrichment, he smiled broadly and told me he'd "invented" that topic! His article on it in 1939, one of the first of his long career, is one of the earliest in modern times. It is sad to hear of his passing.


Hugh Kam, Pembroke College, Cambridge
Although I have never had the privilege of being taught by you, I thank you for being an inspiration. To see you at the Squire / Faculty actively working or to know of you supervising even when almost a centenarian was to engender truest respect - thank you for showing so unconditionally 'we all can'. A Light and A Legend of Cambridge and beyond.


Jonathan Nesher, New York, NY, USA
I had the honor of being taught Roman Law by Professor Lipstein in 2002. It is one thing to be a great scholar, practitioner and teacher. Combine that with a truly modest, friendly and respectful personality, well, that’s a true rarity.


Sarah Nouwen, Cambridge
For frequenters of the Squire Law Library it is difficult to imagine to walk between the bookshelves, without encountering Prof Lipstein, always there to share his passion for law with students and to make them enthusiastic about their own topic. Memories will keep him alive. I hope that his family will experience that even more . My thoughts are with them. He was a source of inspiration for many of us.


Clive Argent, Squire Law Library, Cambridge
God Bless You, Professor Lipstein.


Jack Hood, Birmingham, AL USA
Professor Lipstein was my supervisor in 1971 and 1972. His insights and sense of humor made my research work a pleasure rather than a chore. I was fortunate to have a great visit with him in Cambridge in 2004. Truly, "the legal system has been added to for the common good" by his work and dedicated teaching. 'Acta et Agenda', 36 Cambridge L.J. 47, 54 (1977).


Fiona Jardine, Cambridge
I had the honour of being taught Roman Law by Professor Lipstein as well as sitting next to him at my Half Way Hall at Clare, where I got to know what a remarkable man he was outside of an academic setting. What will always stick in my memory is what he said when I told him I was struggling with Tort law: 'so long as you know Donoghue v Stevenson, you'll be fine!'


Anna Th. Segers, Leiden, The Netherlands
I heard about the sad news when one of my friends (I met at English Legal Methods Summer School) called me. I was very much impressed with Prof Lipstein and I really enjoyed his International Private Law classes. He was always witty and above all patient. He had something to say to every nationality in class and even spoke some of their native languages. I will never forget Prof Lipstein and I wish his family all the best. May he rest in peace.


Janet O'Sullivan, Cambridge
Professor Lipstein was a truly inspiring,lovely gentleman. We will all miss him enormously. May he rest in peace,


Judge Dean Spielmann, European Court of Human Rights
I am deeply sad to receive this news. I admired Professor Lipstein so much and I enjoyed it always to meet him on my visits to Cambridge, especially in the Library. I met Professor Lipstein for the first time in 1988 during the summer courses for foreign lawyers when I had the great privilege to follow his seminars on Private international Law. I then met him regularly during my studies in Cambridge (LL.M. 1989-1990)and we kept in touch ever since. I particularly appreciated his generosity, kindness and sense of humour. Cambridge and especially the Law Faculty has lost one of its greatest scholars.


Mathieu Olivier, Paris
I had the great privilege to get acquainted with Prof. Lipstein in the academic year 2001-2002, as I was a French Lector at Clare College ; his sense of humor, his witty conversation and - not least - his perfect knowledge of the French language deeply impressed me. I was very saddened to hear of his passing. Reposez en paix, Monsieur Lipstein.


Claire Sutcliffe, Cambridge
Professor Lipstein was a wonderful person and a good teacher. He was very popular with the Clare lawyers whilst I was there, and we will all miss him greatly.


Freya Baetens, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
For the youngest generation of researchers at Cambridge, Prof. Lipstein was almost a legendary figure. It was a pleasure to meet him at the reception in his honour last November. May he rest in peace.


Peter Young, Clare College
To myself as a staff member at Clare, Professor Lipstein epitomised courtesy, consideration and was such a positive presence in College. A true gentleman in every sense.


Peter Allinson, Clare College
I served Prof Lipstein for over 30yrs as Butler of Clare. All I can say is it was a great privilage to do so and the world has lost one of the last great gentleman.I will miss him so much.


Rachel, (formerly) Clare College
Although not a Law student I frequently encountered Prof Lipstein around College, always smiling, always friendly and always a gentleman.


Michal Ch. a student of law from Poland, Uniwersytet Wroclawski
I didn't know him but always a death of the great authority for many of us is a tragedy..God Bless You, Professor Lipstein


Edward Cumming, London
A great man. I was never fortunate to be supervised by him, but knew him through his commitment to Middle Temple. He was, and remains, an inspiration. Rest in peace.


Robin Deaney, Clare College
It has always been a privilege to speak to Kurt and share in his genuine love for the College and the people who live and work here. Personally I had a great deal of respect and affection for this amazing gentleman and will miss him greatly.


Tim Hunt, Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall Laboratories
It's very sad to hear of Kurt Lipstein's passing. He was a wonderful man, always serious yet always funny, always with a twinkle in his eye. I hope somewhere is reproduced the story I shall always remember him telling of how he came to escape the Nazis, arriving as a junior clerk at court one day to be told that his papers were not in order. "But I have all the papers in the case" he protested, "You have to let me deliver them, at least" so the guards admitted him, but that night, he left the country. Grand without a trace of pomposity. We should also remember fondly his wife, Gwyneth, a formidable woman yet like Kurt, extremely kind, especially to the young.


Peter Davis, Trinity Hall, 1967-71
Dr Lipstein lectured me in conflict of laws in the LLB in 1970-71 and, although I was never supervised by him and afterwards only met him briefly, I still recollect him as one of the two best teachers I have ever known. He was a superb demystifier of very complex subject matter and enabled one to have faith that, through rigorous conceptual organisation, it would always be possible to find a solution, even if one did not have the incisiveness to see it at once. His exposure of tacit assumptions that underlay legal rulings (characterisation was a classic example) helped crystallise a thinking framework that I have been able to use ever since.


Harshavardhan Sancheti, Peterhouse
I admired him deeply, he was generous with his time. (a true mark of a great man).


Simon Robinson, London (formerly Clare College)
I was immensely privileged to have been supervised by Kurt Lipstein in the 1970s; he was, as others have noted, a true gentleman who was very kind to indolent undegraduates just beginning to discover the mysteries of the law. There was no-one better at encouraging us and making us believe that not only was the subject important but that it was interesting as well. Sitting next to him at dinner a couple of years ago (not having seen him since undergraduate days), he was just the same as I remembered - a sharp mind, good company and still had the characteriastic twinkle in his eye. A true living legend: he will be greatly mourned but not forgotten. May he rest in peace.


Brandon Barnes, Calgary, Canada (formerly Clare College)
It was my privilege to be supervised by Professor Lipstein in 2000-2001. He was a teacher without equal: genial, insightful, and brilliant. He was, and will remain, an inspiration to young lawyers and academics the world over. It is an honour to have known him.


Ole Lando, Copenhagen Buiness School
Kurt Lipstein was the Chief Editor of Volume 3 of the International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law. My contributuon was a 160 pages chapter. He helped me when I prepared it, and when I sent him the manuscript, he (and his wife I later learned) corrected my imperfect English. Not a single sentence was left untouched. Howerver, he did not change the meaning at all. When the chapter was published I got many compliments for my superb command of the English language.


Andrea Semark, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK
I have just read the sad news of the Professor's death and can hardly believe it. It was my privilege to have had many dealings with Prof. Lipstein during the time that I worked at the Squire Law Library (April 1988-June 2000), and I remember him as brilliant, funny, warm, feisty and larger than life. He was always very supportive and encouraging and the Squire will not be the same without him. May I suggest (if it has not already been considered), that one of the Lecture Theatre's or even a Reading Room on the 3rd Floor be named after him? I am sure he has already secured himself an office "upstairs" where he can be found writing articles at this very moment. Professor,you will be so greatly missed.


Michael J. Kerr [Clare law alumnus]., Wallasey, UK
Kurt, in a nutshell did his utmost for his students, his noted ''examples'' being a particular boon - e.g. ''Now suppose Kerr dams up Clare Bridge; there is a drought at Trinity and a flood at King's ! '' [ Re: Praetorian interdicts].


Rauf Versan, Professor of International Law, Istanbul University.
Although he was not my supervisor, Professor Lipstein's meticulous scholarship was a crucial aid during the preparation of my doctoral thesis at Cambridge in the late 1970s. I am privileged to be his student and to be able to count myself as his friend.


Jason Woo.C.F, Malaysia
Since i left this Uni, Proff. Kurt is one of the most respective Proff. in my life. I cant believe that i received this kind of news from Uni in a early year. Sent my regards to his family, i am sorry and condolance to hear that...


Julian Luxford, St Andrews University (former Clare College Research Fellow)
I will not easily forget the charm with which Kurt engaged me on my first day as a Research Fellow at Clare, and continued to display during my time at the College. This charm he extended to my wife, engaging her on the topic of musical education with special reference to one of his favouites: Mozart. She will not easily forget Kurt either. Since leaving Clare I have often seen Kurt in imagination, cycling (in his familiar hat) over the bridge and down the path between the lush banks of the gardens. I will continue to imagine him in this way despite his death, and know that my image is only one of many preserved in the College's collective consciousness. While we lament the passing of this kind and gentle man, we rejoice too in a long life which, for a little or a long while, it was our privilege to share.


Nick Tucker, Dorset
Pro Lipstein tutored me in Roman Law in my first year. He was an extraordinary man, and I remember him with great fondness.


Malcolm Grant, University College London
Kurt was one of my true heroes. He was not only an outstanding scholar over a remarkably long period, and the warmest and most supportive colleague, but also a very dear family friend. He continued to drive until over 90, in the only car he ever owned, which was a 1956 Armstrong Siddeley convertible, his fee for an early appearance before the World Court. Its appearances were rare, but impressive. For his daily journey to Clare and the Squire Library he cycled, sitting upright and ringing his bell to warn pedestrians of his approach (while at the same time apologising to them for doing so). We all miss him enormously.


Emilio Hardoy, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I had the privilege to take a short seminar with Professor Lipstein as a part of the Summer Course in English Legal Methods in 1992. I admire the enthusiasm with which he kept both learning and teaching his subject. For this, as well as for the kindness and generosity with which he shared his knowledge with us, he has been an inspiration to me. God bless him.