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The University of Cambridge established the Arthur Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science to commemorate the eightieth birthday of Arthur Lehman Goodhart, who was, at the time, Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University, retired Master of University College Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall and Trinity College Cambridge. As noted on the Cambridge University website, it was "established by grace of 20 October 1971, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes and assigned primarily to the Faculty of Law. By grace of 7 February 1973, [it was] placed in Schedule B of the Statutes but also governed by the special provisions of Statute G.I.10. Tenure is for one year."

Incumbents have light formal obligations, being expected only to teach, or share in the teaching, of a course in the Law Tripos or LLM, and to participate generally in the activities of the Faculty. The chair is not tied to a particular college, and the visitor has the use of the spacious Goodhart Lodge in Cambridge.