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Prof Stephen Guest
Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
Prof Stephen Guest profile picture
  • Principal Research Fellow
  • Faculty of Laws

He graduated with honours in both Philosophy (1971) and Law (1973) from the University of Otago in New Zealand and taught logic for two years for the Philosophy Department while an undergraduate before studying with Ronald Dworkin at University College, Oxford. He co-chaired with Dworkin the distinguished and internationally well-known annual Colloquia in Legal and Social Philosophy at UCL from 1999 to 2006. He was also staff editor until 2008 of the UCL Jurisprudence Review, the student edited law journal he founded in 1994. A barrister and solicitor of the NZ High Court, and barrister of the Inner Temple, he was a tenant at 199 Strand, London, from 1993 to 2005. Significant opinions he wrote were for the defence in the Privy Council of the NZ multiple murder case of Bain (1996) and for the Public Defender in the Pitcairn Island sexual abuse case of Fletcher & Others (2006) at all levels including the Privy Council. He was British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow for 2006-2007. In August 1998 he gave his father's 30th anniversary lecture (the FW Guest Memorial lecture) at the University of Otago entitled 'Freedom and Status Revisited: Where Equality Fits In' which is published in the Otago Law Review 1999. His inaugural lecture, 'Why the Law is Just', was published in Current Legal Problems 2000 and received an unsuccessful riposte from Paul Johnson in The Spectator. In 2004, he delivered the Sir Frank Kitto lecture in Armidale, NSW, at the University of New England. He also has been on Radio 4's Unreliable Evidence with Clive Anderson and Lord Bingham. In 2001, UCL awarded him the distinguished teaching award for the Faculty of Laws. In 1987, he was Visiting Scholar at New York University Law School and Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. He was again Visiting Scholar at NYU for 1996. In both 2005 and 2006, he was Visiting Professor in Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago in NZ. At UCL, he was Sub-Dean and Faculty Tutor (1980-85), Secretary to the Bentham Committee (1982-87), Vice-Dean and Deputy Head of Department (1993-1995), Director of Research Students (2004-2006), and Legal Member of the University College & Hospital Research Ethics Committee (1985-1999).

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Stephen Guest writes mostly on legal and political philosophy, particularly concerning the question of justification in legal reasoning and the relationship between justice, interpretation and laws. His well-known book Ronald Dworkin appeared in its third edition in 2012. Amongst other work, he has published in Public Law on constitutional problems of legal revolution, the Law Quarterly Review on hearsay evidence, the Journal of Medical Ethics on the rights of the subjects of medical research, Acta Juridica on the role of equality within legal reasoning, and Revue Internationale de Philosophie on the idea that law is a form of justice (to which Dworkin published a reply). He has recently published essays on objectivity in value and the fallibility of judges, the implication of Dworkin's legal and political theory for political stability, and on his father's experience as a POW lecturing on the University of London international degree programme in Stalag IVB in Muhlberg, Germany, and Campo 52 in Chiavari, Italy. His most recent publications are on misinterpretation of Dworkin in Shapiro's Legality in Analysis Reviews, on Dworkin's Justice for Hedgehogs in Ethics & International Affairs, on the morality of the unity of law thesis in the Ukraine Law Review, and on the Humean principle in law and morality in Problema.

Teaching Summary

From 1985-2006 he was the Convener of the internal UCL LLB and from 1990-2006 he was the Convener of the internal federal University of London LLM programme in Jurisprudence & Legal Theory. He was also the Convener and Chief examiner for the London international LLB and international LLM in Jurisprudence & Legal Theory from 1985-2006. From 1991-2002 he was the Convener and Chief Examiner of the Law of Evidence for the London international LLB, and he published study guides in that subject for the University of London, as well as in Jurisprudence & Legal Theory for the LLB and LLM.  He was also Convener of the MA in Legal and Political Theory (1995-2000) for the School of Public Policy (now the Department of Political Science). He has had numerous doctoral students and at present eight of his successful PhD students are in permanent academic posts around the world. He taught Law of Tort at the University of Keele for one year (1972-73) and at UCL Criminal law (1975-1985) and Law of Evidence (1981-1998). He was awarded the Faculty of Laws Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2001. He founded the first student run law review in the UK - the UCL Jurisprudence Review - in 1994. In 2011, a writing prize in his name was instituted by the UCL law students to mark the best writing in Jurisprudence within the Faculty.

01-SEP-1998 Professor of Legal Philosophy Laws UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1991   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1978   Bachelor of Literature University of Oxford
1973   Bachelor of Laws (Honours) University of Otago
1971   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Otago
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