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Dr Riz Mokal   RIZ MOKAL
PhD (UCL, 2002), BCL (Oxon., 1998), LLB (UCL, 1996), BSc (Pb, 1993), Barrister (Gray’s, 1997)
Professor of Law and Legal Theory

contact details:
phone: +44 (0)20 7679 1406 | internal: x21406
email: riz.mokal@ucl.ac.uk

Riz Mokal holds the Chair of Law and Legal Theory at UCL, and is an Academic Member of 3-4 South Square Chambers. He has co-chaired the UCL Colloquium on Legal and Social Philosophy, and is a member of the editorial boards of the Faculty’s Current Legal Problems series, and of the journals International Journal of Law in Context and International Corporate Rescue. He also chaired the UCL Laws Postgraduate Board of Examiners for two years from September 2007. Previously, as a Research Associate at Cambridge University’s Centre for Business Research, he was part of an inter-disciplinary team investigating the relationship between corporate law and economic performance.

Riz has been teaching at the Faculty since October 1996, joined it full-time in March 2001, and was a Reader from 2004 to 2008. He graduated from the Faculty with an LLB in 1996 and a PhD in 2002, and is the recipient of numerous academic prizes, scholarships and awards. He has taught on programmes related to London University’s External LLB, and at Brunel University. Riz has strong interests in film, theatre, food, a good argument, and generally spending time with friends and family, though he also claims to enjoy his research and teaching.

Riz’s research has covered four broad areas: political and legal philosophy, economic analysis of law, insolvency law, and property. His work in each of these has informed his approach to the others. Three premises underlie his recent research. First, he has moved from contractarianism to methodological contractualism. Both contractarianism and contractualism hold that it is a fruitful way of determining the legitimate entitlements of parties to ask to what they would have consented in an appropriately defined hypothetical bargain. The contractualist bargain is to be regarded as motivated, however, not by mutual advantage (as in contractarianism), but by considerations of equal mutual respect, and therefore, of reciprocity. In this context, reciprocity requires not making demands of others which, if in the shoes of those others, we ourselves would not or could not reasonably meet. Each of the parties to the hypothetical bargain must be treated as an equal and is thus entitled, in the design of legal rules and institutions, to equal concern for their interests. And each is constructively regarded as being moved to abide by fair terms of cooperation amongst equals, as long as each other party to the bargain is also moved in the same way. Secondly, Riz distinguishes between the law’s substantive and its procedural goals. Substantive goals are those (like justice, fairness and equality) the pursuit by some part of the law of which confers ultimate value, and thus, legitimacy on that part of the law. Procedural goals become relevant in recognition of the fact that no scheme for the achievement of substantive goals may be operationalised and maintained costlessly, and that, given the scarcity of social resources, the more resources that are consumed in pursuit of one such scheme, the less that will be available for other valuable purposes. And third, Riz draws on transaction cost economics to provide an understanding of efficiency focused on the minimisation of the sum of coordination and motivation costs, or in short, of waste.

In this systematic and methodologically self-aware manner, Riz’s research combines concern with moral values like justice and equality with instrumental attention to economic efficiency. This framework has proved fruitful in analysing the fundamental structure of the laws of insolvency and property, and of their details; in the analysis of the minutiae of case law; and in charting the proper development of new chapters of statutory law.

The abstracts and 'working paper' versions of several of the following can be found on the Social Science Research Network, at the URL:


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Current Teaching and PhD Supervision
On leave

This page last modified 23 January, 2014 by Laws Webmaster