Professor Kai Möller

Professor Kai Möller

Professor of Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 7.10
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English, German
Key Expertise
Constitutional theory, human and constitutional rights law

About me

Kai Möller is a Professor of Law at the LSE Law School. He has M.Jur., M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford University, a Ph.D. in law from Freiburg University, and is qualified for the German bar. He has held a visiting professorship at the University of São Paulo, and before joining LSE, he was a Junior Research Fellow and a Lecturer in Jurisprudence at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. His work in human and constitutional rights law and theory attempts to specify the moral, legal, constitutional, and institutional implications of a commitment to human dignity, freedom, and equality.

Administrative support:

Research interests

I am currently working in two areas. My research in the theory of rights focuses on demonstrating the significance of attractive conceptions of dignity, freedom, and equality for contemporary, proportionality-based rights adjudication.

Furthermore, I am working on a book on the genital cutting of girls and boys, provisionally entitled Genital Cutting and the Dignity of the Child. The book will make the case for assessing genital cutting not only or primarily in terms of the harm that such practices inflict on children but also in terms of children’s human rights and human dignity, and it will correspondingly argue that the genital cutting of children is wrong as a matter of principle.



The Global Model of Constitutional Rights (Oxford University Press, 2012; paperback, 2015)

Since the end of the Second World War and the subsequent success of constitutional judicial review, one particular model of constitutional rights has had remarkable success, first in Europe and now globally. This global model of constitutional rights is characterized by an extremely broad approach to the scope of rights (sometimes referred to as 'rights inflation'), the acceptance of horizontal effect of rights, positive obligations and increasingly also socio-economic rights, and the use of the doctrines of balancing and proportionality to determine the permissible limitations of rights. 
    Drawing on analyses of a broad range of cases from the UK, the European Court of Human Rights, Germany, Canada, the US, and South Africa, this book provides the first substantive moral, reconstructive theory of the global model. It shows that it is based on a coherent conception of constitutional rights which connects to attractive accounts of judicial review, democracy and the separation of powers. 
   The first part of the book develops a theory of the scope of rights under the global model. It defends the idea of a general right to personal autonomy: a right to everything which, according to the agent's self-conception, is in his or her interest. The function of this right is to acknowledge that every act by a public authority which places a burden on a person's autonomy requires justification. The second part of the book proposes a theory of the structure of this justification which offers original and useful accounts of the important doctrines of balancing and proportionality.

click here for publisher's site

available via Oxford Scholarship Online

Review article:
Dimitrios Kyritsis, 'Whatever Works: Proportionality as a Constitutional Doctrine', Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2014) 1-21

Pritam Baruah, 76 (6) (2013) Modern Law Review 1162-1169
John Adenitire, 14 (2014) Human Rights Law Review 159-171
Max Harris, 2015 (1) European Human Rights Law Review 110-114

Virgílio Afonso da Silva, 'How Global is Global Constitutionalism? Comments on Kai Moller's The Global Model of Constitutional Rights', Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (2014) Vol. 10, 175-186
Alon Harel, 'Do Legal Rights Matter? Comments on The Global Model of Constitutional Rights', Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (2014) Vol. 10, 187-192
Iddo Porat, 'The Global Model of Rights and Exclusionary Reasons: Comments on Kai Möller's The Global Model of Constitutional Rights', Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (2014) Vol. 10, 193-205  

Kai Möller, 'The Global Model of Constitutional Rights: A Response to Afonso da Silva, Harel, and Porat', Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 2014 10 (1): 206-223


Paternalismus und Persönlichkeitsrecht (Paternalism and the Right to Privacy) (Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2005)


Public engagement

'Irgendwie scheint sich ein Teil von mir zurückgezogen zu haben', 27 April 2023 (online, paywall)

'Von Maske bis Klima: warum es nötig ist, gegen Sicherheit zu argumentieren', 15 March 2023 (online, paywall)

'Das juristische Dilemma der "positiven Diskriminierung"', 6 July 2023 (online, paywall)

‘Maskenpflicht? Das klingt harmlos, ist es aber nicht’ (‘Mandatory Mask Wearing? Sounds Harmless, But It’s Not’), 5 August 2022 (online; paywall); full pdf here

‘Es gibt vier Gründe für staatliche Zwangsarbeit – keiner davon rechtfertigt die Dienstpflicht’ (‘There are four reasons for compulsory labour – none of them justifies a compulsory social service‘, 2 September 2022 (online; paywall); full pdf here

 ‘Der Punkt, der in der Abtreibungsdebatte übersehen wird’ (‘The overlooked argument in the abortion debate‘), 28 June 2022 (online; paywall); full pdf here

'Ein Verlust für die Freiheit' ('A loss for freedom'), 5 May 2022 (online; paywall); full pdf here

'Sieben zwingende Argumente gegen eine Impfpflicht' ('Seven compelling arguments against mandatory vaccination'), 6 April 2022 (online; paywall); full pdf available here 

'Die Impfpflicht ist eine Verletzung der Patientenautonomie' ('Mandatory vaccination violates the principle of patient autonomy'), print version: Die Welt 15 March 2022, pp. 14-15, online version (paywall); full pdf available here

‘Die Ausgrenzung der Ungeimpften muss enden’ (‘The exclusion of unvaccinated people must end’), print version: Die Welt 1 February 2022, pp. 14-15, online version (paywall); full pdf available here

'Die Kritik am Lockdown kommt im Mainstream an' (‘Lockdown scepticism arrives in the mainstream’), print version: Die Welt 10 January 2022, pp. 14-15, online version (paywall); full pdf available here

‘Die Impfpflicht: Eine Verletzung der Menschenwürde’ (‘Mandatory vaccination: a violation of human dignity‘), print version: Die Welt 13 December 2021, pp. 14-15, online version (paywall); full pdf available here

‘Corona Impfpflicht: Wo bleibt hier die Menschenwürde?‘ (‘Mandatory vaccination: what about human dignity?’), Deutschlandfunk Kultur  (text and audio)

‘Niko Härting im Gespräch mit Kai Möller’ (‘A conversation between Niko Härting and Kai Möller‘), Podcast Corona im Rechtsstaat (Corona and the rule of law), episode 81 

'Circumcision: A child's protest' LSE Religion and Global Society Blog 18 July 2019

Religious and cultural practices can be so deeply entrenched and normalised as to seem unremarkable, even mundane, to those who live by them. In the case of circumcision, a little boy’s reluctance to partake in this particular tradition can be seen by his elders as cute and endearing, but ultimately silly and juvenile. Reflecting on a recent case, Kai Möller challenges this comfortable reading. He suggests instead that the child was agonising over an impending violation which the adults around him would not perceive.

'Die prozedurale Seite des Rechts auf Rechtfertigung: eine Erwiderung auf ALON HAREL' Verfassungsblog 14 June 2018

'Let's talk about circumcision' LSE EUROPP 6 March 2018

A proposal to ban circumcision for non-medical reasons in Iceland has generated a heated debate over whether banning the practice would amount to an attack on religious freedom. Kai Möller outlines his own opposition to male circumcision, and argues in favour of an open debate over the issue in which both sides are respected and there is an attempt to reach common ground.

'Eine Frage der Würde' ('A matter of dignity'), Süddeutsche Zeitung 5 July 2017, p. 2.

The essay argues that the introduction of same sex marriage in Germany does not require an amendment to the Constitution. Article 6 of the Basic Law, which protects marriage, should be interpreted in line with the fundamental values of the Constitution, namely human dignity, freedom, and equality. This leads to the conclusion that same sex marriage is not only permissible but obligatory under the Basic Law.