Prize Scholar: Jeremiah Lau

Jeremiah Lau

I am a graduate student reading for a DPhil in Law. My research is an attempt to answer the following question: How has the common law of England understood the time value of money?

I owe you £10, due on 1 January. It is now 1 July and I have not repaid you. You sue me for the debt. Until relatively recently, an English court applying the common law would only award you the amount of the debt (£10), with no compensation for the 6 month delay. Why was this so, and now that this is no longer the law, on what basis do we now proceed?  

My work aims to provide some new answers by consulting old materials. Combining the modern doctrinal study of commercial law with the legal-historical method, I utilise a range of archival material, archival database information, manuscript law reports and printed law reports to uncover a new historical narrative about the problem.

Reading for my doctorate at Merton has been a delight. I am thankful to the College, the Fellows, my fellow students and in particular the staff who work to provide a vibrant and welcoming place to live and study.