University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Charlotte Smith

  • Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Chaplaincy Centre Trust, University of Reading

Areas of interest

My research interests lie predominantly in legal history and ecclesiastical law. Much of my work has explored the impact of church-state relations upon various aspects of clergy discipline and ecclesiastical court reform in the nineteenth century, and upon the constitutional status and treatment of the Church of England in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

I have also developed my research in ways which intersect with imperial and colonial history, and my research in this area explores the transmission and experience of English law to and in British settler colonies in the nineteenth century, and the impact that this has had upon the history and formation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

In recent years I have also developed a keen interest in legal biography, and I have written a number of biographical pieces about the Churchmen and lawyers whom I have encountered in my research.

Postgraduate supervision

I have successfully supervised a number of doctoral candidates to completion in the fields of modern and early modern legal history and ecclesiastical law. I welcome expressions of interest from prospective PhD students in these and allied fields.


Charlotte Smith joined the School of Law in September 2002 while putting the finishing touches to her doctoral thesis at King's College London.

Academic qualifications

LLB (King's College), PhD (King's College).

Professional bodies/affiliations

In May 2022 Charlotte accepted the post of Modern Legal Records Specialist within the Collections Expertise and Engagement Team at the National Archives, UK. Her professional affiliations include:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Ecclesiastical Law Society
  • Member of the Selden Society
  • Member of the Church of England Record Society

Selected publications

  • CL Smith, 'The disruptive power of legal biography: the life of Lord Phillimore – churchman and judge' Journal of Legal History (2020) 41 (2) 164-185.
  • CL Smith, 'The Church of England and same sex marriage: beyond a rights-based analysis' Ecclesiastical Law Journal (2019) 21(2) 153-178.
  • CL Smith, 'Roundell Palmer, Earl of Selborne' in M Hill and R Helmholz (eds.), Great Christian Jurists in English History (Cambridge University Press, 2017) 277-300.
  • CL Smith, 'Bishop of Natal v Gladstone (1866)' in C Mitchell and P Mitchell (eds.), Landmark Cases Equity  (Hart, 2012) pp. 305-328.
  • CL Smith, 'The quest for an authoritative court of final appeal in ecclesiastical causes: a study of the difficulties, c. 1830-1876' Journal of Legal History (2011) 32(2) 189-213.


Loading your publications ...