This term we welcome new staff members to our law school. Join us for our Welcome Interviews and get to know our newest members of faculty.
Dr Stavros Makris joins LSE Law School this year as an LSE Fellow, after a career in practice, and an academic career in Europe and the US.
Hello Stavros, we are delighted to welcome you to LSE Law School. Thank you for chatting with us, we can’t wait to find out a little bit about you and your work. Firstly, what is your key area of research expertise and what drew you to the field?
While I am quite interested in legal theory, law and economics, and EU law, my primary field of research is competition law. Competition is a rather complex phenomenon that takes different shapes and forms. It changes depending on its context and its era, and various sciences (or disciplines), such as economics, intellectual history, biology, sociology, and psychology – to name a few – have something meaningful to say about it. What I find particularly fascinating is how competition law sets the foundations of modern capitalism and shapes our relationship with the market, as well as the relationship between the market and the state. It is highly interdisciplinary, in constant epistemic evolution with immediate societal implications.
Do you have a piece of work that you are most proud of so far?
Yes, my LLM dissertation Applying Normative Theories in EU Competition Law: Exploring Article 102 TFEU (2014, UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence) – I completed my LLM at University College London. It was awarded the Val Korah Prize for Excellence in Competition Law and stirred me towards my path.
I could also mention my forthcoming article, EU Competition Law as Responsive Law (Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 2021). Building on previous work, in this piece I conceptualise EU competition law as a relatively open normative system and a purposive interpretive practice that oscillates between openness and integrity. The purpose of this approach is to explain certain key features of this legal field; propose a new way for framing and debating antitrust problems as ‘integrity concerns’, and advise in favour of a legal-institutional strategy for dealing with indeterminacies in law. This strategy consists in constructive interpretation, responsive enforcement and catalytic adjudication. At a time in which Europe unfolds its Digital Markets and Green Deal strategies and seeks to ensure open, competitive, sustainable and fair markets, a systematic rethinking of competition law is due.
What has your experience been with education and research in an online environment over the last year or so? What have you drawn from the experience?
While teaching at Wageningen University last year I gave online classes and supervised several master students’ theses. In this context of crisis, digital technologies have made sure that physical distancing does not amount to social isolation, and have offered plenty of opportunities for dynamic exchanges with students. Yet, in my mind, face-to-face teaching is irreplaceable. Now, as we hopefully and progressively move beyond the COVID era we have a wide range of digital tools at our disposal to enhance and complement our teaching.
Our professional focus this year will no doubt be to continue to deliver exceptional teaching and learning against the backdrop of COVID-19, but do you have any other exciting projects in the pipeline?
Ι am currently turning my thesis into a book with CUP. In my thesis, I developed a broader descriptive and prescriptive framework for EU competition law and I studied in depth a specific enforcement tool, commitments decisions, which is a form of antitrust settlement. These decisions got my attention because they compose the invisible part of the “competition law iceberg”: they appear to be a soft law governance tool, but they are used regularly by the European Commission and usually play a key role in how competition law is actually operationalized in certain markets. Commitments have allowed the Commission to go beyond the conventional understanding of competition and could be viewed as a responsive enforcement tool. Yet, they pose crucial challenges to law’s integrity as they can undermine the Rule of Law, lead to inefficient outcomes or chill private enforcement. Hence, commitments offer a good opportunity for assessing how adaptive EU competition law is and what measures could be taken to enhance its adaptability.
And finally, what are you looking forward to the most about being part of LSE Law School?
I am looking forward to a year of face-to-face interactions with colleagues and students. LSE attracts brilliant students with strong academic interests. Interacting with and learning from them promises to be a delightful experience. And of course I am looking forward to creating synergies with my new colleagues, getting to know more about their exciting projects and discussing my work with them.
You can follow Stavros on Twitter here.
Join us next week for a chat with Dr Giulia Gentile, our third interview in the Welcome Interviews series.