Ian Townsend-Gault


in Canada, Law, Teaching

I was saddened to learn while watching the U.K. election that a former professor of mine — Ian Townsend-Gault — died in 2016.

I studied international law with him as an undergraduate, we had many engaging conversations over the years, he encouraged one of my early publications, he edited other early pieces of writing, I attended excellent parties at his Bowen Island home, he served as a reference for many of my grad school applications, he gave me good advice while I was at Oxford, and we met once in London.

Ian was memorable for his good humour, friendliness, and hospitality. He had a talent for making arcane subjects intriguing and even fascinating. I think the remarkably candid obituary above would not have displeased him.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Iain Benson December 25, 2019 at 9:02 pm

Thanks for this on my dear friend and neighbour ITG. As ITB myself we shared many more occasions over our many years in each others homes on Bowen than I could possibly relate.

We shared not only the law, he was an academic before I became one, music, literature and the love of many wines, we shared concern about the absurdities of contemporary political correctness in all its nefarious manifestations. Our conversations were riotous, boisterous and his ability to do funny faces and voices something I shall never forget.

Our family left Bowen Island in 2002 for a sabbatical in SW France but, as it turned out, we returned in 2005 to sell up our belongings from our beloved home (in which he and his brother and Father once helped install some skylights) and moved, more or less definitively we then thought, to France. Our own divorce, his and tgen his health isdues were then all in the future.

As things happen I fell out of touch with Ian but thought often of him and our other close friend and his co-worker on various Asian projects, Dr. Russel Wills (another Bowen academic eccentric) with whom we shared many a late evening and much laughter.

Now, alas, both Dr Wills and ITG are gone. It seems extraordinary And for me life in general and Bowen Island in particular are reduced by their abscence. In any case, before I become maudlin, here on an antipodean Boxing Day, , I will end here simply by saying that to know Ian and Charlotte and their family on Bowen Island was a great joy and something for which I shall always be grateful. I shall honour Ian’s memory till the end of my days and share, in friendship with him, what many of us who knew him now must share with each other alone.

Vale my friend! Thanks for the memories!!

Iain T. Benson (Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney).

Milan December 29, 2019 at 6:35 pm

Thank you for that tribute. From the gatherings I attended in his home I am sure Professor Townsend-Gault was a major force in Bowen Island’s social life. What I remember most from the international law course I took with him was the conviction that there is a law of nations – the world is not all power and anarchy. That normative position needs reinforcement now that Russia and China are expansionist, militarist, authoritarian powers and US leadership in multinational is faltering.

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