Jurisprudence @ UCL

Jurisprudence @ UCL


BA LLB (Melbourne), DPhil (Oxford)
Quain Professor of Jurisprudence

contact details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1461 | internal: x21461
Email: john.tasioulas@ucl.ac.uk

John Tasioulas joined UCL in January 2011 as the Quain Professor of Jurisprudence. He was previously a Reader in Moral and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School, a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and an Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His research grants include two Research Leave Awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2001 and 2004) and a British Academy Research Development Award (2008-2010). He has delivered the 'Or 'Emet Lecture at Osgoode Hall Law School (2011) and the Natural Law Lecture at Notre Dame Law School (2012). He serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Jurisprudence, the American Society of International Law Studies in International Legal Theory, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, and Moral Philosophy and Politics.

Professor Tasioulas’ current research is mainly focused on the following four areas of inquiry:

(a) the philosophy of human rights: He is engaged in writing a monograph that develops a pluralistic, interest-based account of human rights, one that - among other things – seeks to provide us with the intellectual resources to respond to the familiar objection that human rights reflect merely Western values. It also tries to draw out the theory's implications for the evaluation and development of international law;

(b) the philosophy of crime and punishment: He has defended a new version of the 'communicative' theory of punishment, the idea that punishment is justified as censure for certain kinds of wrong-doing. This version of the theory strives to make room for both the values of retributive justice and mercy. He also has an ongoing interest in the question of the grounds for criminalizing conduct;

(c) the philosophy of international law, including such topics as the legitimacy of international law, the nature and scope of state sovereignty, international crimes (e.g. crimes against humanity), and the nature of customary international law; 

(d) ethical questions arising in biomedical clinical practice and research, including the ethical oversight of research involving human subjects.

Professor Tasioulas also has on-going research interests in a number of other topics, including the nature of moral wrong-doing and the responses appropriate to it, the components of human well-being, the plurality of ethical values, as well as meta-ethical questions about the reality of moral values and the possibility of moral knowledge.


Work in progress:

  • Human Rights: From Morality to Law (monograph under contract with Oxford University Press)
  • Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Law (edited volume under contract with Cambridge University Press)

Selected recent publications include:


  • The Philosophy of International Law, co-editor (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • ‘On the Foundations of Human Rights’, in R. Cruft, M. Liao, and M. Renzo (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (OUP, forthcoming, 2014). 
  • ‘Human Dignity and the Foundations of Human Rights’, in C. McCrudden (ed.)  Understanding Human Dignity (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013), pp.293-314.
  • ‘Hart on Justice and Morality’, for J. Edwards, et al. (eds.) Reading The Concept of Law (Hart Publications, forthcoming 2013), pp. 155-175.
  • (with E. Vayena), ‘Adapting Standards: Ethical Oversight of Participant-Led Health Research’, PLoS Med 10 (2013), e1001402. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001402.
  • ‘Human Rights, Legitimacy, and International Law’, American Journal of Jurisprudence 58 (2013), pp.1-25.
  • ‘Justice, Equality, and Rights’, in R. Crisp (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics (OUP, 2013), pp.768-792.
  • 'Towards a Philosophy of Human Rights’, Current Legal Problems 65 (2012), pp.1-30.
  • ‘On the Nature of Human Rights’ in G. Ernst and J-C Heilinger (eds.), The Philosophy of Human Rights: Contemporary Controversies (de Gruyter, 2012), pp.17-59.
  • 'Where is the Love? The Topography of Mercy', in R. Cruft, M. Kramer and M. Reiff (eds.), Crime, Punishment, and Responsibility: The Jurisprudence of Antony Duff (Oxford University Press, 2011), pp.37-53.
  • ‘Taking Rights out of Human Rights’, Ethics 120 (July 2010), pp.647-678.
  • ‘Justice and Punishment’, in J. Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics (Routledge, 2010)
  • ‘The Legitimacy of International Law’, in S. Besson and J. Tasioulas (eds.), The Philosophy of International Law (OUP, 2010), pp.97-116.

Current Teaching
To be confirmed

To be confirmed

PhD Supervision
Professor Tasioulas welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective PhD students.


Page updated on 23 January, 2014