In Memoriam Prof. Jonathan Fitchen


Jonathan Fitchen – The Conversation

Written by Abubakri Yekini

We wish to share with us the shocking news of the demise of Professor Jonathan Fitchen. Prof Fitchen died today, Friday 22nd January 2021. His death was announced by Prof Greg Gordon, the Head of Aberdeen Law School in an e-mail sent to colleagues earlier today.

Until his death, Fitchen was a Professor of Law at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He was also the Director of the Centre for Private International Law and the Convenor of the Board of Examiners for the Law School. Prof Fitchen is the author of The Private International Law of Authentic Instruments which was published in the Hart Studies of Private International Law in November 2020. The first chapter is currently accessible for free online.

Prof Fitchen was promoted to a Personal Chair a week before his death. On a personal note, this was a piece of cheering news to me. I am glad that Prof Fitchen received the news of his promotion and witnessed the publication of the book that has taken him several years of hard work before he died.

Prof Fitchen (together with Prof Beaumont) supervised my PhD thesis which I defended in May 2020. Despite his health challenges, he would always create time to discuss my thesis with me and his feedback is always excellent. He was a great mentor.

He is survived by his wife Kathrin and his children Thomas and Sofia.

Addendum Jan 26: The University of Aberdeen has published a tribute.


19 replies
  1. Chukwuma Okoli says:

    It is so sad to hear this news! Professor Fitchen was my lecturer in Private International Law, and International Trade and Finance at the University or Aberdeen in 2011. He always had the most recent developments as it relates to the law. I regarded him as a great researcher.
    He also personally supervised and mentored some of my colleagues, and they had very nice things to say about him.

    The last time I met him was in September 2015 at the Journal of Private International Law Conference at the University of Cambridge. We had a pleasant conversation, and I learnt a lot from him.

    I wish his family much comfort and strength to bear this great loss.

  2. Ole Aldag says:

    As a former student of Prof. Fitchen in the Private International Law LL.M. program in 2017, I will always cherish the vivid seminars under his guidance. He will be remembered for his astounding, broad knowledge of European legal systems, his quick wit and his ability to breathe life into the subject of Private International Law. Truly a loss

  3. David Foxton says:

    A very talented lawyer whose scholarship made a significant contribution to our understanding of private international law. And more importantly, a wonderful human being whose kindness and good humour have left a permanent impression on all those privileged to know him.

  4. Xandra Kramer says:

    Jonathan was a great scholar, brilliant presenter, and a wonderful, thoughtful and helpful colleague.
    We will miss you Jon!

  5. Alex Layton says:

    Oh dear, what very sad news. Jonathan was a delightful man whose charming under-stated manner concealed a generous intelligence and deep knowledge. A dreadful untimely loss for his family, for the private international law world and for all whose path he crossed.

  6. Heather Crook says:

    Jonathan will be greatly missed. I got to know him first as a kind and generous colleague at the University of Hertfordshire and he soon became a great personal friend. His acute intelligence, unflappability and attention to detail were matched only by his friendship, loyalty and warmth. His pride in his wife Kathrin and children, Thomas and Sofia was tangible. The world is an emptier place without Jonathan.

  7. Thalia Kruger says:

    Jonathan’s humour and sharp wit when dealing with topics (orally or in writing) that others might find tedious is something that I will always admire. R.I.P. Jon.

  8. Matthias Weller says:

    Indeed very sad news and a huge loss to CoL. I always learned a lot from Jon’s posts. A great colleague and scholar of PIl. We will miss him very much!

  9. Giesela Rühl says:

    He was one of the kindest and smartest persons I ever had the pleasure to to work with. What an unnecessary and untimely loss. My thoughts are with his family.

  10. Lorna Gillies says:

    I am very saddened to hear this news about Jonathan. He was always extremely informed, supportive, witty and kind. My very deepest condolences to Jonathan’s family, friends and colleagues.

  11. Matthias Lehmann says:

    Very sad and shocking indeed. I remember Jonathan coming to Bonn to research on German law in our library. He was interested in every little detail. His publications were of the most exact kind and extremely helpful in the complex areas he worked in.

  12. Penny Carey says:

    So terribly sorry to hear of Jonathan’s death. He was an absolutely wonderful colleague to work with at the University of Hertfordshire – so kind and supportive to students and colleagues alike. Often quiet and unassuming, but he had a fierce intelligence and passion for the most complex areas of the law. The Academy is the poorer for his untimely passing.

  13. Laura Carballo Pineiro says:

    Whenever I saw Jonathan (in Barcelona the first time where he was there invited by the Pompeu Fabra University, or in Aberdeen), he was in a rush, to work, to be with his family… and always left behind the impression of a learned, wise, kind, supportive professor whom you wished to know more on a personal level. He is already missed in academia. My thoughts are with his family.

  14. Krzysztof Pacula says:

    I am very saddened to learn of the loss of our Colleague. He made a remarkable contribution to the private international law and I’ve learned so much from his publications. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  15. Sophia Tang says:

    I am so sad to hear the shocking news. Jonathan is an excellent scholar, an inspirational colleague and my personal friend. We will miss him. My sincere condolence to Jonathan’s family.

  16. Rui Dias says:

    I did not meet Jonathan Fitchen in person, but I benefited from his writings, and we had once the opportunity to exchange messages where his kindness and wit, as described by colleagues, became clear to me. My sincere condolences to Jonathan’s family and friends for such loss.

  17. Mukarrum Ahmed says:

    Jon was the supervisor of my PhD. He was an incisive legal scholar who always sought to contextualise legal problems. Above all else, he was a compassionate individual. I regret missing the opportunity of congratulating him on the publication of his book and his elevation to a personal chair. My deepest condolences to Jon’s family. He will be missed.

  18. Paolo Pasqualis says:

    I am very sad to learn of the loss of prof. Jonathan Fitchen, whose book on authentic instruments I’m reading these days. I am sorry to have missed the opportunity to personally congratulate him for the brilliant and deep research and the clarity and completeness of the result.
    We European notaries lose an important and precious interlocutor.
    My deepest condolences to the family.

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