Department of Political Science


Dr Helen Brown Coverdale

Helen Brown Coverdale
Teaching Fellow in Political Theory

Dr Helen Brown Coverdale joined UCL in 2017. Helen previously taught political thought in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and in the Department of Philosophy at King’s College London. She also led on research ethics teaching for a multidisciplinary course at LSE, for an undergraduate research programme at LSE in collaboration with Imperial College London.
Helen holds a PhD (Law, LSE), an MA in Legal & Political Theory (UCL) and a BA (Econ) hons specializing in Government (Manchester). Prior to her PhD, Helen worked in the criminal justice sector, and as a senior parliamentary researcher.


Humans are enmeshed in relationships with technology, which will change as technology, particularly machine learning and AIs, develops. Helen has an emerging interest in the ethical qualities of these relationships and applications of technology using citizens’ data, as well as the implications for democratic legitimacy, basic rights, and the social justice. Several aspects dovetail together to produce the accountability and transparency necessary for democratic legitimacy and explainable, ethical systems: 

  • professional ethics and integrity for programmers, data scientists and engineers
  • commercial good practice standards and corporate social responsibility formal legal regulation

You can find a full list of my publications on my website.

Journal Articles:

Book Chapters: 

  • Coverdale, Helen Brown, 2018. ‘Relating to Carpenter’s virtuous research ethics committee’, in: Emmerich, N. (Ed.),     Virtue Ethics in the Conduct and Governance of Social Science Research(Advances in Research Ethics and Integrity, Vol. 3). Emerald Publishing Ltd, Bingley, pp. 127–140. doi.org/10.1108/S2398-601820180000003007 (By invitation) 
  • Coverdale, Helen Brown 2017 ‘Nicola Lacey’ in Sellers, Mortimer & Kirste, Stephan (Eds) Encyclopaedia of the Philosophy of Law & Social Philosophy, Springer: Netherlands (By invitation: doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_118-3)
  • Coverdale, Helen Brown 2013 ‘How can the ethic of care help us to understand, define and express the limits of state criminal punishment?’ in Mahajan, B., & Bagga, R. eds. Reframing Punishment: Reflections of Culture, Literature & Morals, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press (e-Book) ISBN 978-1-84888-201-0

Teaching 2020-21:

  • The Ethics of Crime & Punishment POLS0030
    Who should be punished? What should they be punished for? How should we punish? Should we ever punish anyone?
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy 1 PUBL0071
    Why should we obey the state? Where does political obligation come from? What is democracy and what are its limits?
  • Equality Justice & Difference PUBL0023
    How should we organise our societies given that we don’t agree about how to live? How can we best address the exclusion and oppression of some groups of people to remedy injustice?
  • Justice: Moral Foundations of Politics POLS0061 (with Richard Bellamy & John Wilesmith)

Previous Teaching at UCL:

  • Philosophy, Values and the Social Sciences 2020
    Are the social sciences relevantly like the natural sciences? What is the role of values in the social sciences and how is this the same or different from the role of values in natural sciences and engineering?
  • Global Ethics 2019
    After examining key perspectives on the nature and scope of global justice, we discuss legitimacy and representation, and ethics in Global Governance.
  • Peer Assisted Learning for MA Legal & Political Theory 2017-18
    Student preparation for participation in a research seminars with leading international guest speakers in legal and political theory.
  • Public Ethics 2017 (with Jeffery Howard)
    How should we address the pressing ethical questions of public life? What otherwise private conduct should be permitted by the state, and what if anything should be individuals be prohibited from doing?
  • Justice and Public Policy 2017 (with Jeffery Howard)
    If we should live in a just society, what public policies are just or unjust?

Other Previous Teaching & Supervision:

London School of Economics & Political Science: 

  • The LSE Course 
  • LSE GROUPS Programme (Senior Research Supervisor)
  • Introduction to Political Theory (Department of Government)
  • Social Values and Social Policy (Department of Social Policy)
  • Property 1 (Department of Law)

King’s College London:

  • Political Philosophy  I 
  • Political Philosophy  II
    (Department of Philosophy)