Professor Emeritus of Legal Theory


Born Polish in 1946. Educated at the Universities of Dundee (LL.B in Law and Philosophy 1969) and the University of Glasgow (Advanced Study Scholar). Taught at University of Wales, University College Cardiff (Lecturer in Law 1971-1974) and then at the Faculty of Law in Edinburgh (successively, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor of Legal Theory 1994- 2011). I am now an emeritus professor but am still engaged in research but much more peacefully.


My research follows two strands. Firstly, I look at Social and Legal Theory within an ethical and theological context. Here the aim is to produce a socio-theoretical account of forms of rationality in different styles and levels of legal process understood in their correlation with different forms of social order and self-ordering.

Connected with this is my second strand which involves Foundations of Legal Reasoning as they affect the working of the law and legality and help put in place models for the furtherance of just and transparent modes of dispute settlement. This makes the study of legal reasoning itself ethically important. In this context I organised a workshop on the Universal and Particular in Legal Reasoning, the proceedings of which were published in 2006. I will also be organising a workshop on The vulnerability of self and the risk of action. This will be multi disciplinary work engaging with philosophy, political theory and theology as well as with law and legal theory, as well as computer science and AIAI. In looking at what it means to live following rules, I explore a machine metaphor a the view of Architecture as a mode of social regulation. Architecture here refers to any physical or virtual things that consistently constrain certain behaviours while exploring others, they can include physical properties of bodies, properties of computer systems, built architecture, walls doors etc and also law.

Following on from my book Living Lawfully, I look at Exchange, Compassion and Community. Seeing law is a key institution of market societies, I aim to examine the role such emotions as compassion, mercy, hope and love play in exchange and legal institutions in general, as contrasted with the rationalizing features of the market and law. This would involve examining contractual relations and relational theories of contract in the law on a comparative, religious and socio-cultural basis in the context of their public function of promoting mutual, welfare-maximising exchanges. Finally I would look at the types of solidarities and dependencies that these relationships can create, and more specifically and comparatively through their playing out in concrete legal systems. Much of this will involve looking, in general terms, at the relations of Law and Love, especially in the context of post sovereign state architectures for Europe, and in respect of expansion South and East.

I am also engaged in a project on the use of the New Testament parables in legal reasoning which stems from my earlier work on law and love. The aim is to try and combine the two main strands of my research in a work provisionally entitled Parables of Justice: Law from Inside Out.

The Legal Theory web pages contain further information on legal theory at Edinburgh.

I am also working on an AHRC sponsored project 'Beyond Text in Legal Education'


Edinburgh Spring Programme in Legal Theory

PhD Supervisees

Felipe Oliveira de Sousa  'Reason-Giving as a Form of Recognition: a study on the moral nature of practical decision-making'