Jurisprudence @ UCL

Jurisprudence @ UCL

George Letsas   GEORGE LETSAS
LLB (Athens), MA (UCL), PhD (UCL); Advocate (Athens Bar)
Professor of the Philosophy of Law

contact details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4552 | internal: x4552
Email: george.letsas@ucl.ac.uk

George Letsas joined the Faculty in 2006. He holds a PhD in Law (2005) from UCL, an MA in Legal and Political Theory (2000) from the Department of Political Science at UCL, and an LLB (1999) from the University of Athens. Since 2014, he holds a chair in the Philosophy of Law at UCL.

Professor Letsas is currently the Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights and Co-Editor of UCL’s Quain Lecture Series in Jurisprudence, published by Oxford University Press. He was formerly the Co-Editor of Current Legal Problems, published by Oxford University Press. In 2011-2012, he was a Senior Emile Noel Fellow at New York University (NYU), Faculty of Law. Since 2006, he has co-chaired the UCL Colloquium in Legal and Social Philosophy, convened by Ronald Dworkin (1999-2007), G.A. Cohen (2008-2009) and John Tasioulas (2011-2014). 

Professor Letsas’s main research interests are in jurisprudence and human rights with particular emphasis on the philosophy of human rights, the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), proportionality and the margin of appreciation, theory of European law, philosophical foundations of contract law, theory of private law, and the philosophy of conventions.



  • A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford University Press (2007). Second edition (paperback) with new Preface, Oxford University Press (2009), ISBN-13: 978-0199563883.
  • Reviewed:

    Dean Spielmann, 74 Revue Internationale des Droits de l’homme (2008); Roel de Lange, ‘Interpretatietheorie of moraalfilosofie?’, 7 NJCM Bulletin, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten (2008) 1091-1109; Steven Greer, 16 (3) International Journal of Minority and Group Rights (2009), pp. 503-505; Pavlos Eleftheriadis, ‘The Law of Laws’ (Review article), Transnational Legal Theory (2011).

  • Klass, Letsas and Saprai (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law, forthcoming in 2014 (Oxford University Press).

Journal Articles

  • ‘Dworkin on Human Rights’, Jurisprudence (forthcoming, 2014)
  • ‘The DNA of Conventions’, Law and Philosophy (June 2013), pp. 1-37
  • ‘The International Bill of Rights’ in Hugh Lafollette (ed), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley/Blackwell (2012).
  • ‘Strasbourg’s Interpretive Ethic: Lessons for the International Lawyer’, 21 European Journal of International Law (2010), 1-33.
  • ‘No Human Right to Adopt?’, 1 UCL Human Rights Review (2008).
  • ‘Two Concepts of the Margin of Appreciation’, 4 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2006) 705.
  • ‘The Truth in Autonomous Concepts: How to Interpret the ECHR’, 2 European Journal of International Law (2004) 279.
  • ‘International Human Rights and the Binding Force of Interim Measures’, 5 European Human Rights Law Review (2003) 527.
  • ‘Legal Positivism: From Moral Neutrality to Triviality’, 2 Isopoliteia (2001) 233.

Chapters in books

  • “Revisiting the Margin of Appreciation: A Reply to Andreas Follesdal’ in Adam Etinson (ed), Human Rights: Legal or Political?, Oxford University Press (forthcoming, 2015)
  • ‘Rescuing Proportionality’ in Cruft, Liao and Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press (forthcoming, 2014).
  • ‘Mitigation, Fairness and Contract Law’ (with Prince Saprai) (forthcoming in G Klass, G Letsas and P Saprai (eds) The Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law Oxford University Press (forthcoming, 2014)
  • ‘The Scope and Balancing of Rights: Diagnostic or Constitutive?”, in Eva Brems & Janneke Gerards (eds), Shaping Rights: The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in Determining the Scope of Human Rights, Cambridge University Press (2013), pp. 38-64.
  • ‘The ECHR as a Living Instrument: its Meaning and Legitimacy’ in Geir Ulfstein, Andreas Follesdal and Birgit Peters (eds), Constituting Europe: The European Court of Human Rights in a National, European and Global Context, Cambridge University Press (2013), pp. 106-141
  • ‘Harmonic Law: The Case Against Pluralism’ in Julie Dickson, Pavlos Eleftheriadis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law, Oxford University Press (2012), pp. 77-108.
  • ‘Judge Rozakis’s Separate Opinions and the Strasbourg Dilemma’ in Dean Spielmann et als, ‘The European Convention on Human Rights: A Living and Dynamic Instrument - Liber Amicorum in Honour of Judge Rozakis’, Bruylant (2011).
  • ‘Is there a Right not to be Offended in one’s Religious Beliefs?’ in Lorenzo Zucca (ed), Law, State and Religion in the new Europe: Debates and Dilemmas, Cambridge University Press (2011).
  • ‘Rights and Duties on Pitcairn Island’, in Dawn Oliver (ed), Justice, Legality and the Rule of Law, Oxford University Press (2009), pp. 157-182.
  • ‘Monism, Interpretivism and Law’s Aim’ in Ross Harisson, Michael Freeman (eds) Current Legal Issues: Law and Philosophy, Oxford University Press (2007)

Book Reviews

Shorter Articles

Forthcoming Articles

  • Foundationalism and Contract Law (co-authored with Prince Saprai) [completed]
  • ‘Conventional Reasons and the Law: Normative or Motivating?’ [completed]
  • Accommodating what Needn’t Be Special: Not-So-Religious Accommodation [in progress]
  • The Moral Dimension of Proportionality [in progress]

SSRN Author Page

Current Teaching

International Human Rights Law
Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Theory and Practice of the ECHR

PhD Supervision
George Letsas welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective PhD students. He is currently supervising:

• Sarah Nayson
• Rebecca Smith
• Ilias Trispiotis
• Miguel-Jose Lopez Lorenzo


page updated on 30 September, 2014