John W. Head

John Head head shot
  • Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Green Hall, room #415


John Head holds both an English law degree from Oxford University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. Before joining the KU law faculty, he was in private practice in Washington, D.C., and served as legal counsel to the Asian Development Bank and to the International Monetary Fund. He has taught law in several countries in Europe and Asia and occasionally undertakes overseas assignments there and elsewhere involving international financial law, international organizations, and international legal training. He has served as the Paul Hastings Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong and has held three Fulbright Fellowships – in 1994 to Beijing (Renmin University of China), in 2009 to the University of Trento as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Awards Program, and in 2016 to the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario as a Research Chair in Global Governance.

Head has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by being awarded the Schroeder Teaching Fellowship and the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. He also has received the Provost's Award for Leadership in International Education, the Immel Award for Teaching Excellence, the Dean Frederick J. Moreau Award, the Graduate Mentor of the Year Award and the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award. He was named the Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor in 2010. He coaches two of the school's successful international law moot court teams and serves as co-sponsor of the International Law Society. His scholarly books and articles focus mainly on international and comparative law, with emphasis on the legal aspects of international business, international environmental protection and international economic relations. He has also authored or co-authored several books on Chinese law. His current research projects revolve around international agricultural law and policy. Partly in connection with that and earlier scholarly work, Head has been awarded three Fulbright teaching and research fellowships – to China (1994), to Italy (2009) and to Canada (2016). 


Research interests:

  • Comparative law
  • International commerce and investment
  • International economic law
  • Comparative legal history
  • Dynastic Chinese law