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Prof George Letsas
Prof George Letsas profile picture
  • Professor of the Philosophy of Law
  • Faculty of Laws

George Letsas joined the Faculty as Lecturer in Laws in 2006 and was promoted to Reader in 2009. Since 2014, he holds a Chair in the Philosophy of Law at UCL. He holds a PhD in Law (2005) from UCL, an MA in Legal and Political Theory (2001) from the Department of Political Science at UCL, and an LLB (1999) from the University of Athens. He is an affiliate member of the Philosophy Department of UCL.

Professor Letsas is Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights. He is  the Co-Convenor (with Scott Shapiro) of the Yale-UCL Workshop in Legal Philosophy. He was formerly co-Editor of Current Legal Problems (OUP). In 2011-2012 he was Senior Emile Noel Fellow at New York University (NYU). Between 2015 and 2018 he was Vice-Dean (International). Professor Letsas has written for the London Review of Books (LRB), the Times Higher Education (THE), Aeon, the UK Constitutional Law Blog and Kathimerini.

Recent Publications:

  • 'Offences Against Status', Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (OJLS), 
  • 'Balancing as a Legal Method: What it is and How (not) to do it' in Bezemek, Potacs and Somek (eds), The Vienna Lectures on Legal Philosophy, forthcoming in 2023
  • 'There is no free-speech right to a university platform', Times Higher Education
  • "Proporionality without Balancing' in Bellamy and King (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutionalism, forthcoming in 2022
  • 'Equality Before the Law', entry for the IVR Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy.
  • 'Proportionality as Fittingness: The Moral Dimension of Proportionality", Current Legal Problems (2019), Oxford University Press.
  • 'How to Argue for Law's Full-Blooded Normativity', in Toh, Plunkett & Shapiro (eds), New Essays in Metaethics and Jurisprudence (2019), Oxford University Press
  • 'Law and Polity: Some Philosophical Preliminaries', in International Journal of Constitutional Law I.CON (2019), Oxford University Press.
  • 'The Margin of Appreciation Revisited: A Response to Follesdal' in Etinson (ed), Human Rights: Moral or Political? (2018), Oxford University Press.
  • 'Contract Law without Foundations' (co-authored),  
  • 'The Irrelevance of Religion to Law' in Laborde (ed), Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy (2017), Oxford University Press.

Research Summary

Professor Letsas holds the chair in the Philosophy of Law at UCL since 2014. His main research interests are in legal philosophy and human rights with particular emphasis on the philosophy of human rights, legal interpretation, proportionality and balancing, general jurisprudence, theory of European law, and theory of contract law. Professor Letsas is known for his reason-based approach to proportionality, his defence of the evolutive interpretation of human rights (the 'living instrument' approach), as well as his critique of the doctrine of the Margin of Appreciation and the use of consensus by human rights courts as an interpretive tool. He has also defended an evaluative approach to constitutional pluralism and conventions. His work has been published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (OJLS), Law and Philosophy (LAPH), Journal of Applied Philosophy (JAP), the International Journal of Constitutional Law (I.CON), the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) and Jurisprudence. He is the author of A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (OUP) and co-editor of Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law (OUP). 

With Nicos Stavropoulos (Oxford) he is the co-creator of The Jurisprudes: A Podcast in Legal Philosophy

He is currently working on a book on role obligations, entitled Offences Against Status

Teaching Summary

Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Theory and Practice of the ECHR

Academic Background
2005   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2001   Master of Arts University College London
1999   Bachelor of Laws University of Athens
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