George Letsas

George Letsas

LLB (Athens), MA (UCL), PhD (UCL); Advocate (Athens Bar)

Vice Dean (International), Professor of the Philosophy of Law

+44 (0)20 3108 8345

George Letsas joined the Faculty in 2006. He holds a PhD in Law (2005) from UCL, an MA in Legal and Political Theory (2000) from the Department of Political Science at UCL, and an LLB (1999) from the University of Athens. Since 2014, he holds a chair in the Philosophy of Law at UCL.

Professor Letsas is currently the Co-Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights and Co-Editor of UCL’s Quain Lecture Series in Jurisprudence, published by Oxford University Press. He was formerly the Co-Editor of Current Legal Problems, published by Oxford University Press. In 2011-2012, he was a Senior Emile Noel Fellow at New York University (NYU), Faculty of Law. Since 2006, he has co-chaired the UCL Colloquium in Legal and Social Philosophy, convened by Ronald Dworkin (1999-2007), G.A. Cohen (2008-2009) and John Tasioulas (2011-2014).

Professor Letsas’s main research interests are in jurisprudence and human rights with particular emphasis on the philosophy of human rights, the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), proportionality and the margin of appreciation, theory of European law, philosophical foundations of contract law, theory of private law, and the philosophy of conventions.

View George’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website



Klass, Letsas and Saprai (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law, Oxford University Press (2016), paperback edition [hardback edition in 2015].

Letsas, A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford University Press, second edition (paperback) with new Preface (2009), ISBN-13: 978-0199563883.


  • Dean Spielmann, 74 Revue Internationale des Droits de l’homme (2008)
  • Roel de Lange, ‘Interpretatietheorie of moraalfilosofie?’, 7 NJCM Bulletin, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten (2008) 1091-1109
  • Steven Greer, 16 (3) International Journal of Minority and Group Rights (2009), pp. 503-505
  • Pavlos Eleftheriadis, ‘The Law of Laws’ (Review article), Transnational Legal Theory (2011).

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

‘Rescuing Proportionality: A Reply to Ripstein’, 34(1) Journal of Applied Philosophy (2017), pp. 24-32.

‘Accommodating What Needn’t Be Special’, 10 (2) Law and Ethics of Human Rights (2016), pp. 319-340

‘The Positivist May Be Right’: Legal Conventionalism Revisited’ 10 Problema (2016), pp. 63-89.

‘Dworkin on Human Rights’, 6(2) Jurisprudence (2015), pp. 327-340.

‘The DNA of Conventions’, 33 Law and Philosophy (2014), pp. 535-571.

‘The International Bill of Rights’ in Hugh Lafollette (ed), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley/Blackwell (2012).

‘Strasbourg’s Interpretive Ethic: Lessons for the International Lawyer’, 21 European Journal of International Law (2010), 1-33.

‘No Human Right to Adopt?’, 1 UCL Human Rights Review (2008).

‘Two Concepts of the Margin of Appreciation’, 4 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2006) 705.

‘The Truth in Autonomous Concepts: How to Interpret the ECHR’, 2 European Journal of International Law (2004) 279.

‘International Human Rights and the Binding Force of Interim Measures’, 5 European Human Rights Law Review (2003) 527.

‘Legal Positivism: From Moral Neutrality to Triviality’, 2 Isopoliteia (2001) 233.

Chapters in books and edited collections

‘Law’s Robust Normativity: A Defense’ in Plunkett, Toh and Shapiro (eds), Law and Meta-ethics (Oxford University Press), forthcoming in 2018.

The Irrelevance of Religion to Law’ in Cecile Laborde (ed), Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press), forthcoming in 2017.

‘The Moral Dimension of Proportionality’, forthcoming in Current Legal Problems (Oxford University Press), 2017

‘Revisiting the Margin of Appreciation: A Reply to Andreas Follesdal’ in Adam Etinson (ed), Human Rights: Legal or Political?, Oxford University Press (2017)

‘What Triggers the Applicability of Article 8 ECHR? In Josep Casadevall et al (eds.), Mélanges en l`honneur de / Essays in honour of Dean Spielmann (2015)

‘Rescuing Proportionality’ in Cruft, Liao and Renzo (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press (2015).

‘Mitigation, Fairness and Contract Law’ (with Prince Saprai) (in G Klass, G Letsas and P Saprai (eds) The Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law, Oxford University Press (2015)

‘The Scope and Balancing of Rights: Diagnostic or Constitutive?”, in Eva Brems & Janneke Gerards (eds), Shaping Rights: The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in Determining the Scope of Human Rights, Cambridge University Press (2013), pp. 38-64.

‘The ECHR as a Living Instrument: its Meaning and Legitimacy’ in Geir Ulfstein, Andreas Follesdal and Birgit Peters (eds), Constituting Europe: The European Court of Human Rights in a National, European and Global Context, Cambridge University Press (2013), pp. 106-141

‘Harmonic Law: The Case Against Pluralism’ in Julie Dickson, Pavlos Eleftheriadis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law, Oxford University Press (2012), pp. 77-108.

‘Judge Rozakis’s Separate Opinions and the Strasbourg Dilemma’ in Dean Spielmann et als, The European Convention on Human Rights: A Living and Dynamic Instrument – Liber Amicorum in Honour of Judge Rozakis, Bruylant (2011).

‘Is there a Right not to be Offended in one’s Religious Beliefs?’ in Lorenzo Zucca (ed), Law, State and Religion in the new Europe: Debates and Dilemmas, Cambridge University Press (2011).

‘Rights and Duties on Pitcairn Island’, in Dawn Oliver (ed), Justice, Legality and the Rule of Law, Oxford University Press (2009), pp. 157-182.

‘Monism, Interpretivism and Law’s Aim’ in Ross Harisson, Michael Freeman (eds) Current Legal Issues: Law and Philosophy, Oxford University Press (2007)

Book Reviews

Allen Buchanan, The Heart of Human Rights in Notre Dame Philosophical Review (2014)

Shorter Articles and Blog Posts

Brexit and the Constitution‘, London Review of Books (9 March 2017)

‘The Rule of All Law: A Reply to Finnis, Ekins and Verdirame’, UK Constitutional Law Blog (26 November 2015)

In Defense of the European Court of Human Rights‘, UCL European Institute Blog (2014)

Lord Sumption’s Attack on Strasbourg: More than Political Rhetoric?‘, UK Constitutional Law Blog (9 December 2013)

Redfearn v UK: Even Racists Have a Right to Freedom of Thought‘, UK Constitutional Law Blog (13 November 2012)

Ronald Dworkin: In Memoriam

Visit George’s SSRN Author Page

Current Teaching


International Human Rights Law
Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Theory and Practice of the ECHR

PhD Supervision
George Letsas welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective PhD students. He is currently supervising:

• Sarah Nayson
• Rebecca Smith
• Ilias Trispiotis
• Miguel-Jose Lopez Lorenzo