Emmanuel Melissaris

(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

'Legality Bound', a comment on Hans Lindahl, Fault lines of globalization: Legal order and the politics of a-legality, OUP 2013, forthcoming in Jurisprudence: An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought, 2016 (A version of this article is available here: www.hanslindahl.org/publications/)

'Posthumous “punishment”’: What can be done about criminal wrongs after the wrongdoer’s death' Criminal Law & Philosophy (2015) (online first)

The commission of criminal wrongs is occasionally revealed after the (suspected) wrongdoer’s death. In such cases, there seems to be a widely-shared intuition, which also frequently motivates many people’s actions, that the dead should still be blamed and that some response, not only stemming from civil society but also the state, to the criminal wrong is necessary. This article explores the possibility of posthumous blame and punishment by the state. After highlighting the deficiencies of the pure versions of retributivism and general deterrence theory, but also the potential in the latter, it argues for a political theory of the criminal law (mainly from a normative perspective, although the modest claim is made in passing that current institutional arrangements are best understood in this light), which views institutions of punishment as the business not only of defendants and victims but also the political community as a whole. Within this normative scheme posthumous responses to wrongs are possible and in some cases necessary for the maintenance of the stability of the political community. Accountability-holding processes may also be possible and necessary for the protection of the reputation of the deceased suspected wrongdoer.

'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.

'From Legal Pluralism to Public Justification', Erasmus Law Review 12/2013, special issue on 'Law as a Plural Phenomenon' (Wibo van Rossum & Sanne Taekema eds)

The paper offers an argument for a conception of legal pluralism, which has some substantive upshots and at least partly alleviates that legal pluralism may regress to rampant relativism. In particular, I will argue that law in its pluralist conception is inextricably linked to the requirement of public justification. This is not by way of appealing to any transcendental normative ideals but as a matter of entailment of the very practice of law. But, perhaps to the disappointment of many, this procedural requirement is the only practical consequence of the concept of law. For thicker, substantive limits to what law can do and for ways in which legal pluralism may be reduced in real contexts one will have to turn to the actual circumstances furnishing the law with content and a different kind of thinking about the law.

'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.