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School of Law

Professor Maksymilian Del Mar, BA LLB (Qld), PhD (Edinburgh), PhD (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. His research interests focus on the theoretical and historical intersections of law, rhetoric, philosophy, and literature.

Within philosophy, he has particular interests in the philosophy of mind, especially imagination and emotion, and their social dimensions. At the moment, his work is focused on the history and historiography of legal philosophy, with special attention to the Scottish tradition (esp. David Hume, Adam Smith, and Neil MacCormick).

Professor Del Mar studied philosophy, literature, and law at the University of Queensland, Australia (BA Hons / LLB Hons); legal philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (PhD); and philosophy of the social sciences at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (PhD). He arrived at Queen Mary in 2011.

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.

Recent activity includes:

Undergraduate Teaching

  • LAW6021 Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Semester 1 and 2
  • Legal Reasoning in a Global Context, Semester 1
  • Law, Knowledge, Power: Past and Present, Semester 2

Postgraduate Teaching


Current research

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

Past research

Professor Del Mar has broad research interests in legal theory and legal humanities. These have included interests in:

  • Legal reasoning;
  • Historiography and methodology of legal theory; and
  • Global and transnational legal theory.

With respect to the first interest, Professor Del Mar has a special interest in the theoretical and historical relations between the imagination, the emotions, and the body in the practice of legal reasoning. He has published Artefacts of Legal Inquiry: The Value of Imagination in Adjudication (500pp, Hart, 2020), which develops an account of the importance of imagination for common law reasoning. The book draws on a range of theoretical traditions, including rhetoric, the cognitive humanities, and the philosophy of mind. Other work has included papers on exemplarity and narrativity, on the rhetorical tradition of declamation, and on emotion experiments. Recently published work has focused on the relevance of the history of rhetoric for theorising legal reasoning, including examining the relation between the history of rhetoric and emotion, and enthymising as an art of rhetorical narrative-making. Also recent is a chapter on ‘Kinesic Intelligence in Common Law Reasoning’ for a collection on Kinesic Intelligence Across the Humanities edited by Guillemette Bolens. A strand of this work has focused on legal pedagogy, especially the role and value of the arts in legal education, including papers on educating the legal imagination, and on drawing on the visual and dramatic arts to teach case law. Related editorial work has included: The Moral Imagination and the Legal Life (Ashgate, 2013, with Zenon Bankowski); The Arts and the Legal Academy (Ashgate, 2013, with Zenon Bankowski and Paul Maharg); Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (Springer, 2015, with William Twining); and Virtue, Emotion and Imagination in Law and Legal Reasoning (Hart, 2020, with Amalia Amaya). 

With respect to the second interest, Professor Del Mar is especially interested in investigating the emotional and aesthetic aspects of legal philosophy, as well as taking seriously its geographical dimensions. He has a long-standing interest in Scottish jurisprudence, especially David Hume, Adam Smith, and Neil MacCormick. He recently delivered the 2022 Inaugural UK IVR Annual Lecture named in honour of Neil MacCormick (recording is available). Other work has included papers on Adam Smith (with a particular focus on imagination and reasoning), on the role of images in the writing of legal theory, and the fact-value problem. Methodologically, much of the research here has been examining the possibility of a generative relationship between the history and philosophy of law, e.g., ‘Philosophical Analysis and Historical Inquiry’ (in the Oxford Handbook of Legal History, 2018). Related editorial work includes: Law as Institutional Normative Order (Routledge, 2009, with Zenon Bankowski); New Waves in Philosophy of Law (Palgrave, 2011); The Anxiety of the Jurist (Ashgate, 2013, with Claudio Michelon); Law in Theory and History (Hart, 2016, with Michael Lobban); and The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities, 2020, with Simon Stern and Bernadette Meyler).

With respect to the third interest, Professor Del Mar has been especially interested in theorising legal reasoning under conditions of pluralism, examining the role and value of metaphors in international law (in particular, in the contexts of customary international law), thinking about the importance of global history for jurisprudence, and reflecting on transnational authority. The work on MacCormick is also relevant here, given the importance of his institutional theory of law for transnational legal theory. Related editorial work includes: Authority in Transnational Legal Theory (Edward Elgar, 2016, with Roger Cotterrell).


Download Professor Maks Del Mar's full CV [PDF 219KB]

Legal Reasoning (Imagination, Emotion, Narrative, Pedagogy)

Historical Jurisprudence and the Methodology of Legal Theory

Global and Transnational Legal Theory


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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