Oct 27 2016

Helen Reece

helen_reeceIt is with the greatest regret and overwhelming sadness that we inform you that Helen Reece, Associate Professor of Family Law, died on Wednesday 26 October 2016.

Helen studied Law (LLB) at University College London and Logic and Scientific Method (MSc) at LSE. She qualified as a barrister in 1992, and lectured in Law at University College London (1993-1998) and Birkbeck College, where she was appointed Lecturer in 1998 and Reader in 2004. She joined LSE Law as an Associate Professor (Reader) in 2009.

At LSE, Helen taught family law and the law of obligations. Her research focused mainly on family law, but it was much broader in range, characterised above all by the aim to uncover and contest the social and political assumptions behind existing legal rules and prevailing opinion. Her work on adoption, parenthood, domestic violence and, more recently, the law of sexual offences identified her as one of the most original thinkers of her generation. Her monograph, Divorcing Responsibly (2003), on the influence of post-liberal notions of choice on the law of divorce, was awarded the Socio-Legal Studies Association Book Prize in 2004. Helen’s article on ‘Loss of Chances in the Law’, published in the Modern Law Review in 1996, and winner of the Wedderburn Prize in 1997, has been cited with approval by the House of Lords, and been a major point of reference in tort scholarship. With Michael Freeman, she edited several works and collections on the relationship between law and science (Law and Science: Current Legal Issues (1998); Science in Court (1998)). She was a founding member of Institute of Ideas Parents’ Forum, and a member of the editorial boards of Law, Probability and Risk, the International Journal of Law in Context, and the Modern Law Review. She was a regular contributor to radio and television programmes.

This catalogue of achievement does not begin to account for all the qualities that made Helen special to her colleagues in LSE Law, and to her much wider networks of colleagues and friends: her good humour, her keenness to engage with other colleagues’ work, her outstanding record as a teacher and research supervisor, the fearlessness, integrity and sense of duty she brought to all her endeavours. We mourn the passing of a brilliant scholar, and a cherished colleague and friend. Our thoughts and hearts go out to Helen’s partner, John, and their children, Hannah and Ben.

“I was desperately sad to hear the news that Helen died yesterday.  It’s a deep loss for all of us at LSE and a far greater loss for her family. Helen was on the board of the Modern Law Review (MLR), as am I, and in both LSE Law and on the MLR she was a wonderful colleague. She was spirited, engaged, energetic and constantly driving us forward. She was also incredibly supportive, thoughtful and kind. I have her to thank for encouraging me to take on the general editorship of the MLR – she was adamant that it should be a woman for the first time in 74 years! That was typical of her – fiercely principled but personally such a warm and supportive colleague. We will all miss her greatly. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this terrible, terrible time”.
Professor Julia Black
Interim Director

“Helen was a wonderfully dynamic and forceful character, and a tower of strength in her family and in the Department. The freshness, daring and iconoclasm of her scholarship meant that, of anything she wrote, one could without question say that once read, it would not be forgotten. We will all miss her terribly. In due course we will find an appropriate way to honour her, and details about this will be posted on the website”.
Professor Jeremy Horder
Head of LSE Law

If friends of Helen would like to make a donation to charity in her memory, her family inform us that any charity would be appropriate. Helen also supported the work of hospices, such as Marie Curie.

An obituary for Helen can be read in The Guardian here.

If you would like to post a tribute to Helen; leave your condolences or share any memories you have of her please comment on this post.

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48 Responses to Helen Reece

  1. Ellie Lee, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent says:

    Helen truly embodied the motto ‘question everything’. I doubt any of us who knew her and her work will see many other people as equals in their wish and ability to seek the truth, pursue knowledge and never, ever let a question lie. It takes a truly brave person to live like this, and that is what Helen was, more than anything. She was a brave woman and put many of us to shame because of her bravery. Helen did this is a truly unusual way, however, which was with the utmost care and genuine concern to take the opinions of others as seriously as possible. She never, ever took the easy path to criticising what others had to say. To the contrary, she thought things through every which way possible. This is why she wrote so well and argued so persuasively. To me, was also a true friend. She was ever honest, and loyal and most of all kind. She was one of the kindest people I have ever met. Her passing leave a great hole in many lives, of course, most of all, those of John, Hannah, Ben and all her family. Her ideas and contribution will, though, never be forgotten.

  2. Helen was my family law professor during my time at the LSE. As the course went on, she became more than that, she became my friend. She helped me through some personal problems I was having at the time, acting as a huge support pillar for me, and she inspired me to practice in family law. I am now a practicing barrister working in all areas of family law. I have Helen to thank for my career path. She pointed me in the right direction and allowed me to find my calling. She was my referee for years, supporting me at law school, during pupillage and in securing tenancy. I am greatly saddened by her loss and I will miss her dearly. I send her family and friends my deepest condolences.

  3. Shaun Hambly says:

    I had the pleasure of being taught Family Law by Helen. A wonderfully energetic, patient, and kind lecturer, who cared deeply about the learning and development of her students. Very sad to hear of her passing.

  4. Kehinde Gbadamosi says:

    Helen Reece was one of the best teachers ever. She was so intelligent and kind and caring and she always made sure her students understood the term material. She helped me with some essays during the holidays which wasn’t necessary but she did it to helped me with my exams. Actions like this shows how kind and genuinely good natured she was.
    There are few teachers who inspires students to read more material and to want to learn more, but Helen Reece was the teacher who did that to me. She was exceptional at inspiring students by listening to them and calming their fears, she was excellent as explaining the reading materials in a clear, simple way to her class which made the students thirst for more knowledge. She was also a comforting presence in the classroom.
    I would really miss her and I am so sad that I didn’t get a chance to let her know all this. But, even from though she’s gone, she still teaching me things about life. That one should always grab the moment, life changes in an instant. Let the people you care about know that you care about them before its to late. And that one should always follow their passions, as she was a passionate lecturer in the year she taught me.
    Her legacy will always live on in her journals, and she will be forever missed,


  5. Khawaja Akbar says:

    As my Family law and Torts teacher, my referee and my undergraduate and postgraudate dissertation advisor over the past three years, Helen has certainly played the most important role in my writing, understanding and expression of the law. Moreover, she’s lifted up my confidence, and always told me that I was capable of achieving so much more. Her harsh marking made me try more, especially with her constant reassurance. Her office hours were therapy. Helen was always avaialble and quick to respond; I knew she’d be there to help when others might ubderstandably take some time. Her students were her priority. She went through my undergraduate dissertation with me at least 10 times without a frown.

    Not only was she passionate about her work – which even the House of Lords seems to have acknowledged in their judgement, but she was not afraid to express her views: she was not scared of the controversy that it may create. Only someone brave can do that. Her articles were always intricate, and her lectures were engaging (everyone will remember that Family law lecture on marriage).

    I spoke to Helen just last week. She was as invested in her students then, as she had been before. She told me she was tremendously happy about my results, and her last message to me was a very encouraging and hopeful ‘Thank you!’

    The department will not be the same without you. It will certainly not feel like home to me.

  6. Nat says:

    Helen was my dissertation supervisor who gave me lots of support and kept telling me i could make it when I was in doubt. I will never forget you and she was one of the few professors I could remember throughout my life. RIP Helen. You will never be forgotten.

  7. Nicole Shroff says:

    Helen Reece was both my Advanced Tort and Family Law teacher. She has played a significant part in my growth both as a student of law and as a person. Helen was an enthusiastic, witty and intelligent lecturer that brought topics to life. She encouraged and pushed me to “see the wood from the trees” and write in a more perceptive, analytical way. Her constant encouragement, tutelage and unwavering attention to detail are some amongst many gifts she has given her students, and I will forever feel more enriched as a person to have known her.

  8. Harriet says:

    Helen was someone who genuinely cared about you as a student. Studying family law at lse was a unique experience for me as before that the teaching had never been that personal. However Helen changed that experience of studying at lse and was a true inspiration. It wouldn’t matter when and how many essays you handed in, she would mark them thoroughly and quickly. I had never had a member of staff who would truly want you to go to their office hour and discuss the work like Helen. She was also incredibly humble about how prestigious she was in the academic field of family law and would always want to know what you personally thought. If she gave this much love and dedication to her students and workplace I can only imagine what an incredible mother she would be. Very few people can inspire so many others and improve the life of others so unconditionally as Helen did and I will always keep her in my mind.

  9. I first met Helen shortly after seeing her appear on Kilroy. She had given a robust and articulate defence of what was (to the audience) an extremely controversial position, notwithstanding the attempts to beat her down made by a patronising and dogmatic host. When I later asked if she had been bruised by the experience (which would have terrified me), she seemed genuinely bemused by the question. Rather, she had enjoyed the debate. And she had clearly more than capable of holding her own and doing so with good humour.

    This sums up for me what Helen stood for as an academic: intelligent, articulate and robust debate and a fearless defence of positions even when they were unpopular and controversial. This made her a formidable speaker and a talented, insightful, rigorous scholar. Her scholarship has significantly shaped the field of family law and will continue to do so.

    Helen was also funny, warm, and generous. She will be very sadly missed.

  10. Hanne Knudsen says:

    I met Helen at a CPCS conference and have had the great pleasure of visiting her in her home in London later. I really enjoyed and admired her ability of posing questions and analyzing central problems. I was shocked and very very sorry to hear that Helen is not among us anylonger. Helen was such a warm, interested, living, funny and clever woman.

  11. Jennie Bristow says:

    Helen was a wonderful friend, and a truly inspirational person. Her courage and open-mindedness came through in her work; she never shied away from difficult topics and consistently presented her case with rigour, reason, and humanity. Her subtle understanding of the complexity of intimate relationships gave her writing a nuance that is rarely seen, and she always challenged us to think through a problem from many sides. My thoughts are with her family at this awful time.

  12. Louise Holstein says:

    It is just 17 months since Helen wrote on a page similar to this about her affection and admiration for Mike Redmayne. It’s too cruel that the Law Department has now lost another esteemed colleague and friend so soon.
    Helen was a dear friend to Mike (and to me) and he was delighted when she became his LSE colleague. He had such respect for her work and welcomed her astute comments on his own work in progress. She leaves a great legacy but a huge hole in many hearts.
    My sincere condolences to you all.

  13. Professor Jill Marshall (Leicester Law School) says:

    I am upset to hear the news about Helen. We got to know each other through our mutual interest in feminism and gender, and I spoke at a workshop she organised on adoption at Birkbeck. I used her excellent book Divorcing Responsibly and was fascinated by what she wrote in it and elsewhere. I always enjoyed meeting up with her over coffee or drinks for our really interesting discussions. She told me she had got very ill again but I wasn’t expecting this. My thoughts are with her family at this time.

  14. Professor Emily Jackson (LSE) says:

    Helen was an incredibly loyal and kind friend, as well as being a brilliant academic and a wonderful teacher. We had known each other for almost half of our lives, meeting when she was teaching Family Law at UCL while I was doing the same thing at Birkbeck. I can still remember first reading her now-seminal article on the paramountcy principle, and being blown away by its clarity, its rigour and its fearlessless. Her book was just as good, and cemented her reputation as one of the UK’s most original thinkers in the field of family law. Helen was loved by generations of students, who valued and respected her clear-headedness, and appreciated her warmth and sense of fun. Helen’s untimely and sudden death is a tragedy for all who knew her, and a massive loss to the discipline to which she made such an incredible difference. We will miss her hugely. My heart goes out to her family, for whom her loss is simply heartbreaking.

  15. Tobias Pang, third year undergraduate law student says:

    It is very upset to learn Helen Reece’s untimely death. Helen was one of my very first encounters at the LSE. Helen was my very first academic adviser and my lecturer in tort law, and I still freshly remembered how caring and welcoming she was when we first met each other at the advisees meeting. Having been so approachable to students, she was always encouraging and optimistic to me. Her premature death is a tragic loss to the LSE, and a great loss to the family and tort law. My condolences and thoughts all go to Helen’s family and friends. She will be forever missed.

  16. Dr Julie McCandless says:

    I first met Helen after an SLSA roundtable book discussion back in 2005. As a PhD student, it was a bit of a ‘fan girl’ moment as I was familiar with Helen’s extensive and impressive work in family law. However, as was typical of Helen, she treated me as a peer from the outset and was genuinely interested in what I had to say about the book. We shared work with each other since then, especially on parental responsibility, and I was delighted to teach with Helen when I started at LSE. She was extremely kind to me when I arrived in the department, and was one of the key people who helped me settle in. She generously encouraged me to make parts of the family law course my own, and I was consistently impressed with her enthusiasm for teaching and her commitment to her students. Helen loved to talk about many things, but she lit up when speaking of her family, especially her children of whom she was so proud. I hope they find some comfort in knowing how well regarded Helen was, as a family law scholar, dear colleague and friend.

  17. Sue Plater says:

    All of us in LSE’s Financial Support Office are very shocked and saddened to hear this news. Helen was a member of one of our funding panels – a voluntary and much appreciated role – and we valued her contribution to the discussions during the selection of needy Taught Postgraduate and Undergraduate offer holders for various scholarships. We send our very best wishes and condolences to her family and friends, and will remember her with gratitude.

  18. Bríd Hehir says:

    I knew Helen through the Institute of Ideas Parents’ Forum which she helped found. She was a perceptive and thoughtful contributor, always willing to explore issues from different angles and to entertain new ideas. She had a real talent for making complex issues easier to understand and to explain them in different ways. She was also helpful in talking through problems that I was encountering in regards to the campaigns around female genital mutilation.

    Others have mentioned her kindness which was an integral part of her generous character. Her passing leaves a void for John, Hannah, Ben and her family but also for those of us privileged to know her. My condolences to them all.

  19. I was very sad to hear of Helen’s death, and my sincere condolences go to her family and close friends. She was an incredibly warm and encouraging colleague, and very generous with her time and energy. As an academic I admired her for, and was inspired by, the clarity of her thinking and writing, and for the fearless way with which she challenged received ideas and notions.

  20. Sarah Trotter says:

    I first met Helen in Michaelmas Term of 2010 as a second year undergraduate student; she was my family law teacher, and what a tremendously inspiring teacher she was. At that early stage in my studies, she more or less changed how I thought about and understood law. As a teacher, Helen encouraged us to do what she did in her own, groundbreaking, scholarship: to challenge and think through the implications of every position, to develop and defend our opinions rigorously, and to think deeply, broadly, and moreover, strongly. Lectures and classes were spirited and stimulating, and I admired her greatly. We stayed in touch, and when I returned to the Law Department as a PhD student, Helen was always very kind to me. We taught together on the family law course last year, and as I was learning the ropes, Helen was incredibly supportive and wise in her advice on all matters. She was such a caring and positive person, who knew, most of all, what mattered most to those around her. She always spoke with tremendous pride and joy of her children, Hannah and Ben, and all my thoughts are with them and her husband John.

  21. Professor John Fitzpatrick (Kent) says:

    I had a long talk with my old friend Helen Reece a couple of weeks ago. She was in very good form, and we spoke of many things, and for most of the time we argued, as we always did. ‘I don’t agree with you.’ It rings in my ears still. I don’t think I ever heard a person say that so often, and in such an amiable and resolute way. It wasn’t just that she understood the importance of avoiding lazy agreement or fudge, she could simply do no other. She was a person of the highest intellectual and political integrity and a superb scholar, and she was warm and kind and brave. What a loss. What an inspiring example. ‘You can hang back or fight your best on the front line’ sang the great artist of our time, and Helen has shown us the way. How proud John and Hannah and Ben will be.

    • Prabha Kotiswaran says:

      I am so saddened to learn of Helen’s passing away. Long before I met her, I had admired her writing on feminist activism around issues of violence against women. I was delighted when she contributed to an edited volume on governance feminism edited by Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouche, Hila Shamir and myself. Helen joined us in Boston one cold winter for a workshop of GF, where we shared her scholarship on rape law myths and the controversies it had generated in the UK in the aftermath of an LSE event on rape myths. Thanks for your unique contributions to feminist legal theory Helen, we will miss you.

  22. Jo Braithwaite says:

    As well as being a colleague of Helen’s in the LSE Law Department, Helen and I worked together for two years editing the case note section of the Modern Law Review. I started in this role after Helen, and the idea was that I would learn the ropes from her. It is hard to express how much I learnt from Helen over period, as I watched her deal with fellow academics with grace, clarity and excellent judgment. She was efficient and decisive, and she always wrote beautifully. She navigated difficult decisions expertly. She never made a fuss or shied away from anything, and she always stood her ground. I looked up to her enormously. Helen was an incredible person to work with on the MLR. She was also a brilliant scholar and a generous, kind and diligent colleague. We will all miss her very much. Above all, her family is in our thoughts at this very sad time.

  23. Solene Rowan says:

    Helen was a wonderful colleague, always so kind. She was always happy to listen and give advice. She will be missed by all in the Department.

  24. Grace Webster says:

    Helen was both my Tort and Family Law teacher. She was a wonderful teacher whose strict marking and attention to detail encouraged me to push myself further. But above all, I will remember her for her kindness and the genuine care she showed to all of her students.

    In particular, I will never forget her incredible support which gave me the confidence any first year student would need with just two weeks to spare before my first ever exams at LSE. To this day, Helen was, and still is, one of the very few teachers I have ever had of whom I could say truly understood me as a person.

    I send my deepest condolences to all of her family who I hope can find some comfort in knowing how dearly she loved them. All of her students will remember this – it was indeed a rare occasion when she failed to mention them at least once during classes.

  25. Fatima Ahdash says:

    I first met Helen in 2011 when she taught me Family law. It quickly became my favourite module, and I have Helen’s passion for both her subject and her students to thank for this. She was always so generous with her time and her ideas, so encouraging. And she instilled in all of us the value of always questioning absolutely everything. Helen was always genuinely interested in what her students thought. I was so delighted to hear that she was to become my PhD supervisor because of her clarity of thought, her intellectual rigour and her support. I will greatly miss Helen and my sincerest condolences to her partner John and her children, Hannah and Ben.

  26. Linda Mulcahy says:

    I worked alongside Helen for sixteen years at Birkbeck and then the LSE and am very proud to be able to have called her a colleague and friend. Her clear mind, integrity and feisty ways will be long remembered. I didn’t always agree with her stance on things – I remember long conversations about the value of mediation in family disputes – but she was such a very worthy opponent and I always came away from our discussions aware that it was me rather than Helen that had to sharpen up my ideas. In addition to the many conversations about the academy I will miss the regular conversations about what Hannah and Ben were up to, holidays with John, the great wisdom to be found in the Junie Bee Jones books and the perils of secondary transfer in North London. It is so tragic that she has been taken from us all at such a young age when she still had so much to give. I hope that her family will be able to find some comfort in the many wonderful memories we all have of her.

  27. Professor Andrew Le Sueur (Essex) says:

    During most of the 1990s, Helen and I were lecturers at UCL. Our offices were almost opposite each other and I had two things Helen didn’t – an armchair and a teapot. Tea at 3 pm became a regular fixture. We discussed students, our teaching and research. I’d not previously met anybody so prepared to question assumptions. From time to time I think Helen saw my jaw drop. She challenged me to think about law in a different way, and about the things to which the law is connected. Our friendship grew. There were trips to Bristol to spend weekends with Gordon. A passing reference to the fact that my aunt no longer felt able to wear her (real) fur coat resulted in me bringing it back from Jersey for Helen: she wore it regularly that winter. Helen introduced me to her political life too. By the end of the 90s, we’d moved institutions, I moved cities and our meetings became occasional and then stopped. I’d always imagined that we’d catch-up with each other’s lives at some point in the easy way that good friends do and I’m so sad that won’t happen now. My heart goes out to John, Hannah and Ben and all her family.

  28. Rachel Napoli (Holdsworth) says:

    I met Helen while we were both working in the Law department at UCL. Early in my career and a recent LSE graduate, I quickly became enamoured by Helen’s warm, encouraging personality and love for rigorous debate. We soon became friends, and spent many hours discussing issues of the day, and exploring a wide range of topics, both political and personal. Helen was a generous, kind friend and a supportive mentor. She constantly challenged me to expand my thinking – to dig deeper, and explore further. She found opportunities for me to express my thoughts publicly, encouraging me to write a magazine article, and inviting me to discuss controversial topics on the Kilroy programme as her designee. I admired Helen’s sharp intellect, and she appreciated my adventurous spirit and passion for world travel. My mind is sharper and my heart warmer because of Helen. My mentor and friend of 20 years will be very much missed, and memories of her treasured. Deepest condolences to Helen’s incredible partner John and children Hannah and Ben.

  29. Professor David Kershaw says:

    Helen was a wonderful person and generous, kind and committed colleague. I relied on her often for help with MLR articles and she was always willing to help and provide reviews, even when I thought I was over-burdening her and suggested that she might just give me the names of other good referees. Her reviews always showed her to be a demanding and thoughtful reviewer, but also such a kind and decent person, concerned always to be constructive, fair and kind to the authors who had invested so much time in their work. I did not know her work well, but the work that I know I much admired. She was an independent mind and a brave scholar and colleague, willing to take on difficult issues and to forward controversial ideas, even when such ideas flowed against the weight of consensus views. The academy will miss her bravery and we will miss her very much.

  30. Prof. Phil Rumney (UWE) says:

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Helen’s death. Her fearless scholarship and intellect will be missed. I didn’t have to agree with Helen on every issue to see value in her questioning of viewpoints that had previously been seen as settled and beyond challenge. Her kindness, civility and willingness to engage in dialogue is a lesson to us all.

  31. Kristen Rundle (Melbourne Law School) says:

    Helen Reece was among the most warm, wise, formidable, original and brilliant women I’ve ever met. During my four years at LSE, I was the grateful beneficiary of her collegiality and personal friendship alike, and as so many others have observed, was dazzled by her fearless and clear mind. As I witnessed directly in the aftermath of the publication and then public presentation of her controversial stance on the law of sexual offences, it took no small amount of courage to carefully articulate and defend a view that so many could (and I think did) distort in its portrayal and in their return fire. She knew this would likely happen, and yet that was certainly not going to stop her putting her rigorously thought through views out there. I was incredibly proud of her, and learned so much through her example. Which for so many women she unequivocally was, even if she did not set out to be, and certainly sought no credit for being. Eating Szechuan in Bloomsbury with Helen and polishing off a bottle of wine was a ritual we tried to make regular and for which I am so very grateful. And what’s more, it was just plain fun. We have lost such a gem. To John, Hannah, and Ben, my deepest condolences. Here’s to your courage, Helen, in all things: you were and will remain an inspiration.

  32. Carl Stychin says:

    The Editorial Board of the journal Social & Legal Studies met recently. Board members unanimously agreed that our minutes should make reference to Helen Reece. We would like to take this opportunity to share the contents: “The Board received, with great sadness, news of the death of Helen Reece and passed sincerest condolences to Helen’s family, friends and colleagues. All agreed that she would be terribly missed. Although her life was cut far too short, her contribution to socio-legal studies was great. Rest in Peace, Helen”. To the best of my knowledge, the Board has never previously marked the loss of a scholar in this way. Our decision speaks to the depth of feeling that my colleagues and I have experienced in the days since Helen’s death and our profound desire to mark an extraordinary life.

  33. Mavis Maclean says:

    I first met Helen in happy evenings in Kentish Town over twenty years ago. She rapidly became a valued and distinguished colleague in the world of family law, always bringing clarity to any discussion and ideas to shake us up….. and a firm friend, never without warmth and humour. We met on the Heath at the Fair, her children and my grandchildren tearing around in the mud, hair flying in the wind. It is very hard to believe that she is gone. Hard for colleagues and friends, but tragic beyond belief for her family. Only hope that the outpouring of love and affection for her will be of some comfort as time passes. She gave so much……

  34. Imogen Jones says:

    I did not know Helen well, but the few interactions I shared with her had a lasting impact.Helen was an inspiration; her mastering of being simultaneously gentle, kind, supportive, brave, groundbreaking, courageous and brilliant was unrivalled. She was – and remains to be – an example that I will try to follow. John, Hannah, and Ben, my thoughts are with you.

  35. Joy Whyte (LSE) says:

    I first met Helen when she joined LSE in 2009. I didn’t know Helen particularly well, but our conversations – often over tea in the kitchen – always moved rapidly to a level of intensity, fun and engagement. Helen was often provocative and challenging, in a way that encouraged greater reflection and more rigorous thought, whether that be about the vagaries of London transport, the pros and cons of the positive parenting movement, or the systems in place to support LLM exams.

    I enjoyed working with Helen enormously, and her death is a huge loss to the Department, to her discipline, and to all those who knew loved her. Deepest condolences to John, Hannah and Ben.

  36. Emmanuel Voyiakis says:

    I got to know Helen when I joined the LSE, and I was immediately won over by her kindness and her fierce intelligence. We would soon chat about anything and everything, from the pride she took in her children’s achievements, to our work and moral debates of the moment. Over the years she became a good and loyal friend, and (though she would disclaim this) a role model for me. The disease that took her from John, Hannah and Ben, and from her many friends and colleagues has made us all poorer. However, it has left her legacy of her work untouched. It’s there, challenging its readers and critics, teaching us what great research looks like. We can still read it, hear it in her voice, and see the world differently. May she rest in peace.

  37. Niki Lacey says:

    I had known Helen and admired her work long before she joined the LSE department; it was a marvellous thing for us when she moved here, and I feel very lucky to have worked with such a delightful, energetic and independent-minded colleague. Helen’s work – both research and teaching – will have a lasting impact. Her early death is a huge loss; my sympathy and deep condolences go to John, Hannah and Ben.

  38. I last spoke to Helen at any length when we randomly met on a plane as she was on her way to a conference in Vancouver a few years ago. Her willingness to take on controversial issues and her indefatigability in the face of often personal attacks is something we should all aspire to emulate. Her article on Rape Myths became a core reading for my students. My heart goes out to John and their children.

  39. Kathryn Hollingsworth (Newcastle Law School) says:

    I first met helen at a CFLQ event as I was transitioning research areas and moving into the area of child law. I liked her immediately and over the next few years when I lived in London (and occasionally afterwards) we would meet from time to time for lunch or drinks. It would be easy for someone to feel intimidated by Helen’s incredibly sharp mind, capacity for debate and her intellectual fearlessness but one never was, because helen had such wonderful kindness and warmth as well. She was always very supportive even though we were not close colleagues, and she had a capacity to make one feel valued as a scholar and as a friend. I was so saddened to hear of her death and I am really sorry I could not be there yesterday. She was in my thoughts then and will continue to be. My sincerest condolences to John, Ben and Hannah.

  40. Julian Fulbrook says:

    This is just appalling news. Helen pulled me over from LSE to Birkbeck, when they needed a Torts teacher to fill in for a term in a hurry. Having met her there, and having seen her in action with students, I was delighted when she came to join us at LSE. I also occasionally saw her at community events in the neighbourhood. All my best wishes to the family.

  41. John Gardner says:

    I was shocked to learn of dear Helen’s death. I saw her only five months ago and she was her usual warm, lively, and questioning self. She was my type of person and it is an extra source of grief to me that I only got to know her in the last couple of years of her life. Many have commented on her fearlessness. She took on questions and advanced hypotheses that were bound to provoke ire on all sides. I always thought: someone who can be denounced in the Guardian as readily as in the Telegraph must be onto some important truths. I was often entertained to see her ideas classified as ‘problematic’ or ‘controversial’, as if that were a negative. On the contrary: that’s what we academics are for. We need more Helen-style fearlessness, more Helen-style iconoclasm, and more Helen-style humanity. It is such a pity, such a loss, that it won’t any longer be Helen herself who provides us with these welcome tonics. In fond memory of her, let’s all try (in Emmanuel Voyiakis’s words) to ‘see the world differently’.

  42. Gillian Urquhart says:

    When I was first the programme manager and then the service delivery manager for several years in the law department, I worked closely with Helen. She was the chair of exams and I was the exams manager. She was smart, decisive and easy to work with. She considered the students, the regulations and the department in her decisions. The hierarchy that sometimes exists between academics and professional services staff didn’t exist with Helen. She treated me as an equal and was a refreshing colleague to interact with. We discussed life, sexuality, families and anything else that came up. She was quirky and fun and I enjoyed her company and her down-to-earth approach. I am very saddened by her death and would like to pass my condolences to her partner and two children.

  43. Grace Cheng says:

    Helen was my family law tutor when I studied at the LSE almost 10 years ago now. She was so passionate about the subject and so engaging that it was hard not to fall in love with the subject and I used to look forward to Helen’s classes every week. Helen was extremely generous with her time and used to stay behind every class to chat with me and discuss various questions that I had. Over time, she became not only a teacher whom I held with great esteem but also a friend whom I trusted and would confide in. Even after I left the LSE, I remained in constant contact with Helen who continued to advise me and guide me through life. I shall always remember Helen with great fondness.

  44. Peter Shastri says:

    I was so sad to hear the news. Helen taught me at UCL in 1995 and I still remember her tutorials after 20 years. She was a very gifted teacher and will be much missed.

  45. Leong Wai Teng Joanne says:

    I have taken some time before penning this, in an attempt to come to terms with Prof Reece’s passing. This loss cuts painfully deep for the students at LSE whose lives she touched, and for the legal community which benefited from her work.

    Above all, I admired her intellectual courage. She was never one to let popular consensus go unquestioned if she had good reason to disagree. The debates in various aspects of family law that were borne out of her work, where there previously were none, are testament to her scholarship’s ability to provoke deeper thought. Through her actions, she taught me the real-world value of critical thought.

    Prof Reece made an indelible mark on me as an undergraduate not just because she was an excellent lecturer and tutor, but also because she was my mentor. She was always ready and willing to offer encouragement, constructive critique, and personal advice, and for that I am truly grateful. It was thoroughly my privilege to be her student since the start of my legal education. She will be missed in the years to come.

    Deepest condolences to her family, and may she rest peacefully.

  46. Dr Yakubu Mafullul says:

    I am sad to know that Helen Reece has passed away, at the relatively young age of 48. I have never met her, I only came across her work: “Loss of Chances in the Law” 1996 59 MLR, while doing a research study on Medical Negligence, and noted her work quoted in Gregg v Scott [2005] UKHL Para 220, and in other works. I found her article very educating, and I am sure that if she had lived longer, she would have made more positive contributions to her discipline and law in general. May her soul rest in peace.

  47. Summer Khan says:

    I did not know that Helen had passed away until yesterday. I am so shocked and saddened that she was so young.

    Helen taught me family law, she was brilliant and engaging. I felt that she always respected and considered my unusual views and more than that, encouraged me greatly. When I needed a reference, quite some years later, Helen was so obliging and helpful, as usual.

    Helen was special – a kind and caring intellectual. I feel her loss so much, this points to her greatness of spirit, I am sure.

    God bless her and exalt her status in the hereafter.

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