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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.

As an undergraduate, Professor Del Mar 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, with a focus on the relations between analytical and sociological jurisprudence at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (PhD), and a Doctorate in the Social Sciences, with a focus on social norms and emotions, at the Institute for the Social Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (DSS). He arrived at Queen Mary in 2011. Prior to academia, he qualified as a lawyer in Brisbane, Australia, and worked as a Judge’s Associate in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Professor Del Mar’s research has two principal strands: the theory and history of legal reasoning, with a focus on where law meets rhetoric, poetics, narrative, aesthetics, emotion, imagination, and embodiment; and second, the history and historiography of jurisprudence, with a focus on the relations between rhetoric and jurisprudence, and Scottish philosophy. Within the first strand, he is the author of Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication (2020), and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (2020). Within the second strand, he is currently completing Neil MacCormick: The Character of a Scottish Philosopher and is the co-editor of Law in Theory and History (2016).

Professor Del Mar serves as an Editor of the Law-in-Context series at Cambridge University Press, which is a long-standing series committed to contextual legal pedagogy and to theorising law in context. He is also editing the Encounters series for the International Journal of Law in Context.

In June 2024, Professor Del Mar is organising, with Professor Michael Lobban, the WG Hart Workshop on ‘Historicising Jurisprudence: Person, Community, Form’. Within 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

At present, Professor Del Mar is focused on completing Neil MacCormick: The Character of a Scottish Philosopher. Research for this project has been generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy and includes a website, containing a timeline, full bibliography, and audio and video resources.

Other current research strands include: the history of rhetoric, especially in the 18th century, and its relevance for legal thought; comic cognition in law, philosophy, and literature; kinesic intelligence in legal reasoning; the value of emotion in legal reasoning; and the history of imagination.

Past research

The main threads of Professor Del Mar’s research have been:

  • Legal reasoning: with a special interest in the role and value of the imagination in the practice of legal reasoning. Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication (500pp, 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 matters to common law reasoning.
  • Legal education: with a particular interest in the role and value of the literary, dramatic, and visual arts for teaching legal reasoning.
  • Intellectual legal history and historiography: with a focus on Scottish jurisprudence, especially the historical jurisprudence of the Scottish Enlightenment, and the relations between legal history and the history of rhetoric.
  • Global and transnational legal theory: with an interest in legal reasoning in a global context, transnational authority, and the theory and history of international law.
    Normativity and social theory: with a specific interest in second-person accounts of normativity and social life.


Download Professor Maks Del Mar's full CV [PDF 222KB]

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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