The General Stuff:
I’m a legal academic with an interest in the Rule of Law in all of its different forms. I have a background in legal theory, public law, and legal history, but I like to think about the concept of the Rule of Law from as many different perspectives as possible. This means that I can often be found reading stuff on political theory, philosophy, economics, and intellectual history. As well as in areas that are more traditionally associated with the Rule of Law, like constitutional theory, human rights and politics.
I am currently a Senior Teaching Fellow in Public Law and Human Rights in the Faculty of Laws, University College London. My PhD (Edinburgh) was, unsurprisingly, focussed on the Rule of Law. More specifically, I considered the change across two ideas of the Rule of Law – from Locke, and from Hobbes – in the 17th century.
At the moment, I am working on the intersection of the Rule of Law with democracy, and with artificial intelligence as well as on some different ways that we can represent the differences between our Rule of Law ideas.
Before taking on this Rule of Law obsession, I was a lawyer, a publisher, a sales-rep, and a cop.
The More Specific Stuff:
I’m interested in anything and everything to do with the way that ideas of the Rule of Law–as a concept or any one of its conceptions–have changed over time.
The Rule of Law is one of those concepts that can be seen as being all things to all people. It is frequently cited by the U.N., by politicians, by the press, and by normal people. However, I am not sure that they all mean the same thing; and, at times, I am not sure that they all know what they mean.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the Rule of Law is. I still haven’t figured it out. But, what I have figured out is that a lot of people think that it is important. So, I think that it is important that we all have an idea about what it is that we are talking about. That has been, pretty much, the focus of a lot of my work: trying to bring some clarity to the idea of the Rule of Law more generally.
I’m not arrogant enough to think that I can do this better than anyone else. I am certainly not crazy enough to think that I have a better understanding of this than anyone else. And, of course, there is no way that I am trying to suggest that I am providing a more objectively correct version of this than anyone else. All I want to do is get everyone–as much as possible–onto the same page as one another. And, if this modest goal isn’t possible, I want to get everyone to realize that they are not on the same page as anyone / everyone else.
Doing this is not easy. People–myself included–are set in their conceptual ways. It is for this reason that I have tried, and continue to try, and not be hemmed in by artificial boundaries regarding academic disciplines or areas. My research has been, and will continue to be, wonderfully amorphous. This is likely to be frustrating to some–but its what gets me out of bed in the morning!