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Mcpherson Lecture Series Vol 1:
On Villainy


This book is the first volume in an annual series inaugurated by the University of Queensland's TC Beirne Law School. Inspired by the famous Hamlyn Lecture Series in England, the McPherson Lecture Series hosts a celebrated international scholar or legal expert to deliver a series of three lectures.


In this book, Lord Millett, the leading equity judge of his generation, examines the legal issues and ramifications of identity theft and financial fraud. In the first of these three gripping essays, Lord Millett deconstructs Shakespeare's classic play, 'The Merchant of Venice'.

By examining the pivotal trial scene in which Portia, posing as a judge, uses adversarial techniques to decide the case, he discusses how the law of contract and equity is manipulated when determining the outcome of the now oft-quoted 'pound of flesh' bond. In the second essay, Lord Millett examines the nature of circular financial transactions and traces the case law from the early years to modern times. The final essay considers fraudulent impersonation, its escalation and its effect on contracts in the modern era as transactions become increasingly reliant on PINs, codes and account numbers.

These thought-provoking essays explore the nature of identity theft, fraudulent impersonation and money loops in the modern world, as well as offering a fascinating examination of their historical roots.