UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof George Letsas

Prof George Letsas

Professor of the Philosophy of Law

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Sep 2006

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 private law. Professor Letsas is known for 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 defended an evaluative approach to the principle of proportionality, 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). 

Teaching summary

Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

Theory and Practice of the ECHR


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2005
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2001
University of Athens
First Degree, Bachelor of Laws | 1999


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 with Distinction (2000) 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), the UK Constitutional Law Blog and Kathimerini.

Recent Publications:

  • 'Proportionality as Fittingness: The Moral Dimension of Proportionality", forthcoming in Current Legal Problems (2019), Oxford University Press.
  • 'How to Argue for Law's Full-Blooded Normativity', forthcoming in Toh, Plunkett & Shapiro (eds), New Essays in Metaethics and Jurisprudence (2019), Oxford University Press
  • 'Law and Polity: Some Philosophical Preliminaries', forthcoming 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.
  • 'The Irrelevance of Religion to Law' in Laborde (ed), Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy (2017), Oxford University Press.