Skip to main content

Edinburgh Legal Theory Research Group

British Museum

The Edinburgh Legal Theory Research Group (ELTRG) organises a variety of events throughout the year, including a seminar series where guest speakers present and discuss their work, work-in-progress sessions at which PhD candidates and staff in legal theory present work to the legal theory community, a reading group that meets on an ad hoc basis during term-time to discuss important papers and books on legal theory and related areas, and a series of Spring workshops organised by research students and providing an excellent forum for tackling key contemporary issues in conjunction with leading academics. 

The ELTRG usually works in tandem with the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory and is kindly sponsored by Hart Publishing.

For questions about the work of the ELTRG or to join our mailing list, please contact us at

Legal theory has a long tradition in Edinburgh. In 2007, we marked the Tercentenary of the Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations. This Chair was held for over thirty years by Professor Sir Neil MacCormick (1941-2009), whose publications include Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory (1978), An Institutional Theory of Law: New Approaches to Legal Positivism (1986; co-authored with Ota Weinberger), Questioning Sovereignty: Law, State and Nation in the European Commonwealth (1999), Rhetoric and the Rule of Law (2005), Institutions of Law (2007) and most recently Practical Reason in Law and Morality (2009). The Chair is currently held by Professor Neil Walker.

Learn more about the Legal Theory research area at Edinburgh Law School


The current convenors of the Group are María Besomi and Tsampika Taralli, and they may be contacted at

The post was previously held by:

2020-2021: J.P. Fassnidge and Ismael Martínez Torres

2019 (Autumn): Joaquín Reyes and J.P. Fassnidge

2019 (Spring): Joaquín Reyes

2018 (Autumn): Richard Latta and Joaquín Reyes

2018 (Spring): Richard Latta

2017 (Spring) - 2018 (Autumn): Paul Burgess and Richard Latta

2016-2017 (Summer): Paul Burgess

2016 (Autumn): Lucas Miotto and Paul Burgess

2015 (Autumn) - 2016 (Summer): Lucas Miotto

2015- 2015 (Summer): Martin Kelly and Lucas Miotto

2013-14: Martin Kelly

2012-13: Felipe Oliveira de Sousa and Alexander Latham

2011-12: Wendy van der Neut and Luiz Fernando C. Silveira

2010-11: Paolo Sandro

2009-10: Francisco Saffie Gatica

2008-09: Haris Psarras

2006-08: Maksymilian Del Mar

Current research students in Legal Theory

Aina Arif - Gender Sensitisation: An Ethical and Legal Approach for Gender Equality

Maria Bessomi - Legal formalism and the Mechanical Application of the Law

Sara Canduzzi - Legitimacy without legality: towards a theory of global and supranational authorities'

George Dick - How are "legal" and "non-legal" norms to be distinguished from each other?'

JP Fassnidge - Moral Scepticism and Criminal Law: A Theory of Criminalisation

Aytac Kagan Cura - Constitutional Discourse in the Post-Westphalian Era

Richard Latta - The relationship between International Law and Municipal Legal Systems: a positivistic account

Rodrigo Pablo - The Just Price Theory: Trust and Sociability

Tsampika Taralli - Justification and Explanation in Theories of Law'

Yunqing Liu - International Legal Positivism:  A Misunderstanding about Legal Positivism?

Recently completed research students in Legal Theory

Joaquín Reyes – A Reassessment of Just Price Theory

Ismael Martínez – A New Semantics for the Concept of Law: Making Sense of Theoretical Disagreement from a Positivist Standpoint

Constanza Salgado – Private property and its public dimension

Martin Kelly – Re-gilding the ‘Golden’ Rule of Legal Construction

Paul Burgess – Rhetorical conceptions of the rule of law: a lesbian rule?

Lucas Miotto Lopes – Covenants and Swords: Coercion in Law

Vinicius Vidor – Reasoning Over Claims of Identity

Felipe Oliveira de Sousa – Reason-giving as an act of recognition

Emily Postan – Defining Ourselves: self-construction and the governance of personal biological information

Aisling McMahon – The Place for a ‘European’ morality in the patenting of biotechnology

Jaime Ubilla Fuenzalida – Reflexive Law and Property Rights: Tackling the Regulatory Trilemma of Ecosystems Conservation

Konstantine Eristavi – Law, Space and the Political Subject

Stephen Bogle – The Emergence of the Will Theory in Scots Contract Law

Alexander Latham – Visions of Self-Government: Constitutional Symbolism and the Question of Judicial Review

Noppadon Detsomboonrut – International Law as a Constitutionalized Legal System

Asanga Welikala – Beyond the Liberal Paradigm: The Constitutional Accommodation of National Pluralism in Sri Lanka’

X. Panagia Voyatzis Hernandez – Changing Hearts and Minds in Mexico: a Cognitive-Jurisprudential Approach to Legal Education Reform in a Legal System in Transition

Francisco Saffie Gatica – Taxes as Practices of Mutual Recognition: Towards a General Theory of Tax Law

Wendy van der Neut – Consensual exploitation : the moral wrong in exploitation and legal restrictions on consensual exploitative transactions

Paolo Sandro – Creation and Application of Law: a Neglected Distinction

Chloë Kennedy – The Influence of Religion on the Development of Scots Criminal Law

Charalampos (Haris) Psarras – Law’s Authority and the Division of Moral Labour between Legislation and Adjudication

Ross Carrick – Court of Justice of the European Union as a Democratic Forum

Tom Flynn – Judicial Review and the Separation of Powers within European Constitutional Pluralism

Elizabeth Shaw – Determinism, Criminal Responsibility and Punishment

Daniel Torres Goncalves – The role of Law Interpretation to the Protection of Digital Identity Rights

Peng He – Law of Lawmaking—A Study of Lawmaking from a Legal Theoretical Point of View

Findlay Stark – Culpable Carelessness: Recklessness and Negligence in Scots and English Criminal Law

Stephen Thomson – Judicial Review in its Scottish Constitutional Context

Staff in Legal Theory

Neil Walker, Regius Professor of Public Law & the Law of Nature and Nations

Claudio Michelon, Professor of the Philosophy of Law

Euan MacDonald, Senior Lecturer in Jurisprudence

Luis Duarte d’Almeida, Professor of Jurisprudence

Zenon BankowskiEmeritus Professor of Legal Theory

Burkhard Schäfer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory

Sharon Cowan, Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies

Cormac Mac Amhlaigh, Lecturer in Public Law

Amalia Amaya Navarro, British Academy Global Professor

Edinburgh Alumni in Legal Theory

There have been some outstanding PhDs in legal theory at Edinburgh. Three out of the six European Awards for the best PhD thesis in Legal Theory have been written at Edinburgh (by Emilios Christodoulidis, Fernando Atria and Scott Veitch). A list of our Alumni can be found on our People page


The Edinburgh Legal Theory Research Group organises a wide range of event throughout year. 

View the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory events page for full details

Edinburgh Legal Theory Staff Videos

Claudio Michelon: ‘A Value for Private Law’. 2016 Inaugural Lecture, University of Edinburgh.

Burkhard Schafer: ‘Who Needs Flesh and Blood(y) Lawyers? Legal AI, Rule Following and Computational Creativity’. 2017 Inaugural Lecture, University of Edinburgh.

Neil Walker: ‘The European Union Experiment’. 2017 Distinguished Lecture, European University Institute.

Neil Walker: ‘Intimations of Global Law’. 2012 Montesquieu Lecture at Tilburg University.

Interview with Professor Neil Walker, 21 June 2012, Tilburg University.

Neil Walker: ‘Legal Pluralism and Legal Universalism in a Global Context’. 2011, Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University of Toronto.

Neil MacCormick and Claudio Michelon: Colloquium on Law and Interpretation, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Part I and Part II.

Edinburgh Links

School of Law

Global Justice Academy

Mason Institute

School of Philosophy

School of Linguistics and English Language

School of Social and Political Science

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)

Other Legal Theory Groups

Oxford Jurisprudence Discussion Group


Legal Theory

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

Law and Philosophy

Ratio Juris

Law Quarterly Review



Hart Publishing

Oxford Scholarship Online

Cambridge University Press



Lawrence Solum’s Legal Theory Blog

Brian Leiter’s Blog

Critical Legal Thinking

Other Links

Scots Philosophical Association

Colloquium in Legal, Political and Social Philosophy at NYU

Yale Centre for Law and Philosophy

The Cambridge Forum for Legal and Political Philosophy

Law and Philosophy Program at Texas