Emmanuel Melissaris

please note:
on leave Lent Term and Summer Term 2015

Email: e.melissaris@lse.ac.uk
Administrative support: Amanda Tinnams
Room: New Academic Building 5.15
Tel. 020-7955-7257  

University of Athens (Law); University of Edinburgh (MSc; PhD).


Research Interests

Social Justice and Criminal Law; Legal Pluralism.

External Activities

Member of the editorial board of Jurisprudence


(with J.E.Penner) McCoubrey & White's Textbook on Jurisprudence 5th edition  (OUP 2012)

Fully updated and revised by James Penner and Emmanuel Melissaris, McCoubrey & White's Textbook on Jurisprudence clearly breaks down the complexities of this often daunting yet fascinating subject. Sophisticated ideas are explained concisely and with clarity, ensuring the reader is aware of the subtleties of the subject yet not overwhelmed.  With chapters dedicated to both key concepts and leading theorists, this text takes a wide-ranging look at jurisprudence and places central ideas in context. In particular this text centres around one of the leading theorists, H.L.A Hart, and considers the landscape of jurisprudence in relation to his seminal The Concept of Law, looking at the key ideas which influenced him and considering the response to his work. Coverage of post-modern and feminist legal theory is also included, alongside discussion of key theorists such as Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls.

Ubiquitous Law : Legal Theory and the Space for Legal Pluralism (Ashgate,  2009)

Ubiquitous Law - coverUbiquitous Law explores the possibility of understanding the law in dissociation from the State while, at the same time, establishing the conditions of meaningful communication between various legalities. This book argues that the enquiry into the legal has been biased by the implicit or explicit presupposition of the State's exclusivity to a claim to legality as well as the tendency to make the enquiry into the law the task of experts, who purport to be able to represent the legal community's commitments in an authoritative manner. Very worryingly, the experts' point of view then becomes constitutive of the law and parasitic to and distortive of people's commitments. Ubiquitous Law counter-suggests a new methodology for legal theory, which will not be based on rigid epistemological and normative assumptions but rather on self-reflection and mutual understanding and critique, so as to establish acceptable differences on the basis of a commonality.

Selected articles
and chapters in books

'Theories of Crime and Punishment’, in The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law, (Markus D Dubber and Tatjana Hörnle eds.), OUP 2014.

'A sense of law: on shared normative experiences', in Concepts of Law: Comparative, Jurisprudential, and Social Science Perspectives, Seán Patrick Donlan and Lukas Heckendorn Urscheler (eds.), Ashgate 2014.

'A Social and Legal Theory of Re-Enchantment: Interpretivism, Argumentation, and Law' Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp. 609–623, December 2012

'Property offences as crimes of injustice' Criminal Law and Philosophy 6 (2) (2012) pp.149-166

The article provides an outline of the basic principles and conditions of criminalisation of interferences with others’ property rights in the context of a specific context: a liberal, social democratic state, the legitimacy of which depends primarily on its impartiality between moral doctrines and the fair distribution of liberties and resources. I begin by giving a brief outline of the conditions of political legitimacy, the place of property and the conditions of criminalisation in such a state. With that framework in place, I argue that interferences with others’ property rights should be viewed as violations of political duties stemming from institutions of distribution. I then discuss three implications of this view: the bearing of social injustice on the criminal law treatment of acts of distributive injustice; the expansion of criminalisation over the violation of distribution-related duties, which are considered criminally irrelevant under moral conceptions of criminalisation; and, finally, the normative significance of the modus operandi.

‘Toward a Political Theory of Criminal Law: A Critical Rawlsian Account’, New Criminal Law Review 15/1 (2012) pp. 122-155.