Professor Thomas Poole

Professor Thomas Poole

Professor of Law

Department of Law

Room No
New Academic Building 7.20
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About me

Thomas Poole studied at University College London, Oxford University and Manchester University. Before coming to LSE in 2006, he taught at Nottingham University. He has held visiting positions at the University of New South Wales (2003-4 & 2005-6), the European University Institute (2007), Melbourne University (2008), the University of Toronto (2008), Princeton University (2008), Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas (2013-14) and Auckland University (2016). Tom works mainly in the field of public law and constitutional theory. 

Administrative support: Charlotte Rough

Research interests

  • Public law

  • Constitutional theory

  • History of constitutional thought



Reason of State: Law, Prerogative and Empire (Cambridge University Press, July 2015)

This historically embedded treatment of theoretical debates about prerogative and reason of state spans over four centuries of constitutional development. Commencing with the English Civil War and the constitutional theories of Hobbes and the Republicans, it moves through eighteenth-century arguments over jealousy of trade and commercial reason of state to early imperial concerns and the nineteenth-century debate on the legislative empire, to martial law and twentieth-century articulations of the state at the end of empire. It concludes with reflections on the contemporary post-imperial security state. The book synthesises a wealth of theoretical and empirical literature that allows a link to be made between the development of constitutional ideas and global realpolitik. It exposes the relationship between internal and external pressures and designs in the making of the modern constitutional polity and explores the relationship between law, politics and economics in a way that remains rare in constitutional scholarship.

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Law, Liberty and State edited by Thomas Poole, David Dyzenhaus (Cambridge University Press, May 2015)

Oakeshott, Hayek and Schmitt are associated with a conservative reaction to the 'progressive' forces of the twentieth century. Each was an acute analyst of the juristic form of the modern state and the relationship of that form to the idea of liberty under a system of public, general law. Hayek had the highest regard for Schmitt's understanding of the rule of law state despite Schmitt's hostility to it, and he owed the distinction he drew in his own work between a purpose-governed form of state and a law-governed form to Oakeshott. However, the three have until now rarely been considered together, something which will be ever more apparent as political theorists, lawyers and theorists of international relations turn to the foundational texts of twentieth-century thought at a time when debate about liberal democratic theory might appear to have run out of steam.

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Hobbes and the Law, edited by Thomas Poole, David Dyzenhaus (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Hobbes's political thought provokes a perennial fascination. It has become particularly prominent in recent years, with the surge of scholarly interest evidenced by a number of monographs in political theory and philosophy. At the same time, there has been a turn in legal scholarship towards political theory in a way that engages recognisably Hobbesian themes, for example the relationship between security and liberty. However, there is surprisingly little engagement with Hobbes's views on legal theory in general and on certain legal topics, despite the fact that Hobbes devoted whole works to legal inquiry and gave law a prominent role in his works focused on politics. This volume seeks to remedy this gap by providing the first collection of specially commissioned essays devoted to Hobbes and the law.

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