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Legal Theory events

Learn more about the events hosted by the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory including the annual Legal Theory Festival.

View all upcoming ECLT events.

Dome of Old College

Every year during the Spring term we hold the Legal Theory Festival, which is the flaghip event of the Center. The Legal Theory Festival opens with the Jurisprudence Annual Lecture and comprises a series of thematic workshops, book symposiums, and roundtables organised by staff and students of the University of Edinburgh.

The 2023 Legal Theory Festival will take place from the 30th May to the 1st June 2023. 

Previous Festivals

3 - 5 June 2023 - Legal Theory Festival

31 May - 03 June 2022 - Legal Theory Spring Festival 

31 May - Roundtable: Machine Ethics (organized by the Edinburgh Legal Theory Society)
Guest speakers: Burkhard Schafer (University of Edinburgh); Nadin Kokciyan (School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh); and Sinan Geylani (Virtual i Technologies)

31 May - Roundtable: Authoritarianism and constitutionalism (organized by Deval Desai) 
Guest speakers: Helena Alviar (Sciences Po Law School), Martin Krygier (School of Global and Public Law, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales), Rebecca Tapscott (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh), Neil Walker (Edinburgh Law School).

31 May - Keynote Lecture: Anne Phillips (London School of Economics), ‘Equality as Commitment’

01 June - Book symposium: The Rule of Laws: a 4,000 -Year Quest to Order the World, by Fernanda Pirie (organized by Neil Walker)
Guest Speakers: Neil Walker (University of Edinburgh), Tobias Kelly (University of Edinburgh), and Martin David Kelly (University of Edinburgh).

01 June - Book symposium: The Making of Constitutional Democracy, by Paolo Sandro (organized by Martin David Kelly, Claudio Michelon and Neil Walker)
Guest Speakers: Kara Woodbury-Smith (Durham University), Michael Foran (University of Strathclyde), Ana Cannilla (University of Glasgow), and Conor Crummey (University of Glasgow) 

02 June - Workshop – Virtue and the Legal Professions in Institutional and Organizational Contexts (organized by Amalia Amaya, Claudio Michelon, and Iris Van Domselaar - Amsterdam Center on the Legal Professions at the University of Amsterdam) 
Guest speakers: Santiago Mejía (Fordham University); Tristan Rogers (California State University); Edward Brooks (Oxford University); Sean Cordell (Open University); Boudewjin de Bruin (University of Groningen); Mark Alfano (Macquarie University); Mandi Astola (Eindhoven University of Technology); Shannon Vallor (University of Edinburgh), and Richard Brooks (New York University).

03 June - Workshop - Law and Risk (organized by Giada Fratantonio, Claire Field, Martin Smith, Philip Ebert -AHRC-funded Varieties of Risk Project; University of Edinburgh and University of Stirling Philosophy Department) 
Guest speakers: Lewis Ross (London School of Economics); Sandra Marshall (University of Stirling); Antony Duff (University of Stirling); Aness Webster (Durham University); Melissa Hamilton (University of Surrey); Katherine Puddifoot (Durham University); and Navraj Singh (Edinburgh Law School).

01-03 June 2021 - XIII Legal Theory Festival 

01 Jue 2021 - The Keynote Lecture of the Legal Theory Festival: ‘Force, Coercion, and the Differentiation of Law’
Prof Frederick Schauer, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia


02 June 2021 - Law, Covid, Crisis Seminar
The seminar was chaired by Prof Neil Walker (Edinburgh Law School) and featured general discussion following three introductory talks by:

  • Dr Deval Desai (Edinburgh Law School) - Law, Covid, Crisis
  • Prof Roberto Gargarella (University of Texas at Austin) - Constitutional perspectives on the Covid ‘emergency’
  • Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra (Edinburgh Law School) - The pandemic and global inequality


03 June 2021 - Workshop: The relevance of virtue argumentation theory to legal reasoning

  • Dr Patrick Bondy (Wichita State University) - Argumentative courage and self-indulgence in persistent ethical and political disagreement
  • Dr Katharina Stevens (University of Lethbridge) - The Role of Humility in Reasoning By Precedent
  • Dr José Ángel Gascón (Catholic University of Maule) - The Value of Intellectual Autonom


28-30 May 2019 Legal Theory Festival 

28 May 2019 - ‘Workshop on Legal Content‘
Hrafn Asgeirsson (Surrey); Barbara Baum Levenbook (NCSU); Lorena Ramirez Ludeña (Pompeu Fabra); Stefan Sciaraffa (McMaster)


29 May 2019 - Book Symposium: ‘The Humanity of Private Law: Part 1”
Nicholas J. McBride
(Pembroke College, Cambridge)


30 May 2019 - ‘Equality in Exchange and the Law’
Mark Reiff (U California Davis); James Gordley (Tulane); Verónica Rodriguez-Blanco (Surrey); Nicholas Vrousalis (Leiden University/Aarhus University)


04-08 June 2018 Legal Theory Festival

04 June 2018 - Globalisation, the Rule of Law, and the Danger of Taking Legal Pluralism Too Far
Matthew Grellette
(McMaster University)


05 June 2018 - Virtue Ethics, Markets, and the Law
Chapin Cimino
(Drexel University); Dominic Burbidge (Oxford); Irit Samet-Porat (KCL); Prince Saprai (UCL); René Urueña (Universidad de los Andes)


06 June 2018 - 40 Years of Neil MacCormick’s “Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory”
Luís Duarte d’Almeida
(Edinburgh); John Gardner (Oxford); Eveline Feteris (Amsterdam); Claudio Michelon (Edinburgh); Zenon Bankowski (Edinburgh)


07 June 2018 - Conceptual Analysis and the Future of Jurisprudence

Teresa Marques (Universidad de Barcelona); Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco (Surrey); Kevin Toh (UCL); Scott Shapiro (Yale University)


08 June 2018 - Book Symposium: Hans Lindahl – “Authority and the Globalisation of Inclusion and Exclusion”

Hans Lindahl (Tilburg); Emilios Christodoulidis (Glasgow); Neil Walker (Edinburgh); Claudio Michelon (Edinburgh)


View the International Legitimacy project page for more information.

We organize a series of roundtables exploring nascent fields of inquiry, often located at intersections between traditional legal theory and other academic disciplines. The exploratory nature of the roundtables is reflected on their format. They are not structured around a paper (the traditional form of our ongoing seminar series) but rather revolve around three short reflections (10-15 min) on the theme of each roundtable, delivered orally by three guests, and followed by discussion between the other participants. 

Previous Roundtables

03 February 2022 - 'Fraternity of Peoples'

Guests: Guillermo Hurtado, Jan Klabbers, Maria Varaki, Mona Siddiqui, Neil Walker

This roundtable examined the legal and political dimensions of the principle of fraternity in an international and global context.

02 June 2021 - 'Law, Covid, Crisis'

Guests: Deval Desai, Roberto Gargarella, and Agomoni Ganguli Mitra

This roundtable examined how the Covid 19 pandemic has affected the ways in which we view and respond to crisis, and how law is implicated in this.

21 January 2021 - ‘Virtue Argumentation and the Law’

Guests: Alessandra Tanesini, Andrew Aberdein, and Iris van Domselaar.

This roundtable provided a forum for the exchange and discussion of ideas about virtue and argumentation with a view to promoting a cross-fertilisation between virtue approaches to argumentation theory and virtue theories of legal reasoning.

Previous Work in Progress sessions

Deval Desai Introduction to 'Expert Ignorance: The Performance and Practice of Rule of Law Reform' (19 May 2022)

Martin Kelly Legislative content (almost) without legislative intention (31 March 2022)

Claudio Michelon Primary Duty - Secondary Duty?’ (28 Oct 2021)

Ismael Martínez Torres ‘Are legal statements ambiguous? (18 March 2021)

Luís Duarte d'Almeida ‘Arguing a contrario’ (11 February 2021)

Euan MacDonald ‘Human Rights, Legitimacy and Global Governance’ (8 October 2020)

Margaret O'Brien 'Not Because I Asked: Against ‘Extra Reason’ Accounts of Standing' (9 July 2020)

Julian Scholtes 'Constitutional Pluralism Beyond Ideal Theory' (25 June 2020)

Timothy Jacob-Owens 'Linguistic Justice and Immigration’ (17 June 2020)

Joaquín Reyes ‘On the very idea of a Just Price’ (20 February 2020)

Ismael Martínez Torres ‘Persistent Disagreements in Law: A Functionalist Approach (5 December 2019)

Cormac MacAmlaigh ‘Towards a Pluralist Jurisprudence’ (21 November 2019)

Sebastian Lewis ‘Two Models of Precedent’ (3 Octuber 2019)

Lene Korseberg ‘State Authority without a Duty to Obey: Challenging the Assumption of Correlativity between Legitimate Authority and Political Obligation’ (25 April 2019)

Sara Canduzzi ‘Global legality at stake: understanding authorities beyond the public/private law dichotomy’ (15 April 2019)

Miguel García ‘An Artifact Theory of Rights’ (11 April 2019)

Martin Kelly ‘The loquacious legislature: are statutes ‘always speaking’?’ (25 March 2019)