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School of Law

Professor Maksymilian Del Mar, BA LLB (Qld), PhD (Edinburgh), DSS (Lausanne), Solicitor (Qld)


Professor of Legal Theory and Legal Humanities

Room Number: Mile End


Maksymilian Del Mar is Professor of Legal Theory and Legal Humanities in the Department of Law.

He studied philosophy, literature, and law at the University of Queensland, Australia (BA Hons / LLB Hons), with an Honours dissertation on Italo Calvino. He completed a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a Doctorate in the Social Sciences (DSS) at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to academia, he qualified as a lawyer in Brisbane, Australia, and worked as a Judge’s Associate in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He arrived at Queen Mary in 2011.

Professor Del Mar’s research explores the theoretical and historical relations between philosophy, literature, rhetoric, and law. He has worked on common law reasoning, and especially its connection to imagination, emotion, and related forms of language (e.g., fictions, metaphors, personifications, thought experiments); the history and historiography of philosophy (with a special interest in Scottish jurisprudence); theories of social norms and normativity (with a special interest in second-person, interactionist accounts); global and transnational legal theory; and the role and value of the arts in legal education.

He is the author of Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication (2020). He has edited or co-edited: ‘Cognitive Legal Humanities’ (2023); ‘Contextual Legal Pedagogy’ (2022); The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (2020); Virtue, Emotion, and Imagination in Law and Legal Reasoning (2020); Law in Theory and History (2016); Authority in Transnational Legal Theory (2016); Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (2015); Beyond Text in Legal Education (2013); New Waves in Legal Philosophy (2011); and Law as Institutional Normative Order (2009). He has recently completed a second monograph: Neil MacCormick: A Relational Life (expected in early 2025)..

He edits the Law in Context series at Cambridge University Press; the Encounters series for the International Journal of Law in Context; and Cambridge Elements in Legal Humanities. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Public Humanities and Law & Literature.

At Queen Mary, he organises the Cotterrell Lectures in Sociological Jurisprudence and the interdisciplinary research network on ‘Imagination’ at the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
  • Legal Reasoning in a Global Context
  • Law, Knowledge, Power: Past and Present

Postgraduate Teaching


Current Research:

Professor Del Mar has two main current research projects.

The first project looks at the writing of moral philosophy (which includes jurisprudence) in eighteenth century Scotland (especially David Hume and Adam Smith), with a particular focus on philosophy’s relations to rhetoric and other forms of writing and communication. This project is part of a broader interest in historicising philosophy in relation to rhetoric and literature (especially comedy).

The second is a broader project on the history and historiography of reason, which continues a long-standing research interest in relations between reason, emotion, imagination, and play. Part of the project concerns questions about common law reasoning, and how we might see it as a collective, material, rhetorical, and poetic enterprise. Some specific questions in that respect include: the material history of the case report, including its relations with other genres; interactive dynamics of pleading dialogues; the rhetorical techniques of character-making; and the practice of collective narration.

Past research

In broad terms, Professor Del Mar’s research has concerned the theoretical and historical relations between philosophy, literature, rhetoric, and law. Particular threads are:

  • The role and value of imagination in twentieth century common law reasoning.Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication (484pp, Hart, 2020) draws on a range of theoretical traditions, including rhetoric, the cognitive humanities, literary theory, and the philosophy of mind, to argue for why imagination and related forms of language matter to common law reasoning.
  • The life and work of Neil MacCormick, alongside a broader interest in the historiography of philosophy and politics. This long-standing project, which includes a website, containing a timeline, full bibliography, and audio and video resources, has resulted in a monograph entitled Neil MacCormick: A Relational Life(expected in early 2025).
  • Normativity and social theory: with a specific interest in second-personal, dialogical, and interactionist accounts of normativity and social life.
  • The role and value of the arts in legal education, e.g., in the Beyond Text in Legal Education project.
  • Global and transnational legal theory: with a special interest in legal reasoning in a global context, transnational authority, and the theory and history of international law.


Download Professor Maks Del Mar's full CV [PDF 212KB]

Select publications


Professor Del Mar welcomes proposals for supervision in legal theory and legal humanities. He is willing to consider any proposal in these fields, but is likely to be most helpful as a supervisor if the proposal falls within his main areas of research. Proposals in the following broad areas would be especially welcome:

  1. The theory and history of common law reasoning, especially its links to aesthetics, rhetoric, and poetics.
  2. Relations between law and cultural theory and history (including literature and the visual arts).
  3. The history and historiography of legal philosophy, and the importance of, and prospects for, historical jurisprudence.
  4. The theory and history of law in a global context.
  5. The tradition of Scottish jurisprudence, especially in and since the 18th century. 

Professor Del Mar is currently supervising:

  • Luiza Tavares da Motta, Tense and Tensions between Law, Literature and Temporality, with Dr Tanzil Chowdhury, Law, 2021-
  • Gabrielle Schwarzmann, Trauma, Pain and Shame: Recovering the Experiences of Non-Elite Women in Late Medieval English Legal Culture, with Professor Miri Rubin, 2021-

Recently completed students:

  • Ms Adela HaloEnding the French Revolution: Germaine de Staël and the Birth of Liberalism in France, with Gareth Stedman-Jones, Schools of Law and History, 2015-2020

Public Engagement

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