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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.

He works on imagination and the arts of language, on the history and historiography of philosophy and politics (with a particular focus on Scottish jurisprudence), and on the theory and history of pedagogy (with a special interest in sophistic and rhetorical pedagogies).

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 Study in Character.

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 recently completed Neil MacCormick: A Study in Character. The book offers an account of MacCormick’s philosophical work and his political life, as well as an argument for how character matters to the historiography of philosophy and politics. Research for this project has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy and includes a website, containing a timeline, full bibliography, and audio and video resources.

Research under development is on: 1) character making, which traces the theoretical and historical relations between the history of writing and reading character, and law and legal reasoning; and 2) theoretical and historical relations between rhetorical pedagogy and Scottish enlightenment jurisprudence (with a focus on Hume and Smith).

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 special interest in the relationship between legal theory and legal history.
  • 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.
  • Normativity and social theory: with a specific interest in second-personal, dialogical, and interactionist accounts of normativity and social life.


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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