Patrick Atiyah

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Patrick S. Atiyah, QC, FBA (born 5 March 1931) is an English lawyer and academic. He is best known for his work as a common lawyer, particularly in the law of contract and for advocating reformation or abolition of the law of tort. He was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1979.


Atiyah is a son of the Lebanese writer Edward Atiyah and his Scottish wife Jean. The well-known mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah is his brother.[1]

Atiyah was professor of law at the Australian National University (1970–1973), at the University of Warwick (1973–1977) and professor of English law at the University of Oxford (1977–1988).


  • ‘Economic Duress and the Overborne Will’ (1982) 98 LQR 197. Atiyah argued that it was wrong to use the phrase ‘coercion of the will’ in the test for duress. Duress does not eliminate free choice, it just creates a choice between evils. What is wrong about a contract is not an absence of consent, but the wrongful nature of the threats used to bring about consent.

See also