Sylvie Delacroix

Sylvie Delacroix

PhD (Cambridge University), Licences in law (Louvain-La-Neuve), Candidatures in philosophy (Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis)

Reader in Legal Theory and Ethics with a fractional appointment in UCL Computer Sciences

+44 (0)20 3108 8326

Sylvie Delacroix joined UCL in September 2007 from Kent University, where she was a lecturer in law, having previously held a one year postdoc. at Trinity College, Cambridge (Senior Rouse Ball, 2002-03). She holds a PhD from Cambridge University, Licences in law from the University of Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium), and Candidatures in philosophy from the Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis (Belgium).

She was the Evelyn Green Davis Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University) in 2004-2005.

She was the founding director of the Centre for Ethics and Law.

Sylvie was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2010) (these Prizes, with a value of £70,000 each, are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level).

Sylvie’s current research interests focus on the impact of habits, expertise and professional habituation on moral judgments. The impact of the latter has never been studied empirically, and she hopes to remedy that with the help of Virtual Reality Technology.

She was awarded a Wellcome Trust ‘Society and Ethics’ Grant to develop, together with a multi-disciplinary team within UCL, a pilot project entitled: ‘Picking up ethical challenges within the humdrum of medical practice: does one ever get too used to it?’

This project has led her to launch the Virtual Environments and the Professions Group, in collaboration with colleagues in Engineering and the Medical school. The aim is to leverage the resources of highly immersive, virtual reality technology within teaching and research, to improve the way we make moral decisions in a professional context (and our understanding thereof).

Sylvie’s main research interests are in jurisprudence, ethics and public law.

View Sylvie’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website



  • Habitual Ethics?, Hart Publishing (forthcoming 2018)

Chapters in books

  • ‘Making law bind: legal normativity as a dynamic concept’, in M. Del Mar (ed.), New waves in philosophy of law, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 147-160.
  • ‘Tracing a genealogy of legal normativity: responsibility, authorship and contingency’, in S. Bertea and G. Pavlakos (eds), The Normativity of Law, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011.
  • Six paths to vertigo-free legal theory, in R. Harrisson (ed.),  Current Legal Issues: Law and Philosophy , Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • The rule of law, in Iain MacKenzie (ed.), Political concepts: a reader and a guide, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005, 314-322.

Journal articles

  • ‘Law and Habits’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 37, Issue 3, 1 September 2017, Pages 660–686 (
  • X. Pan, M. Slater, A. Beacco, X. Navarro, D. Swapp, J. Hale, P. Forbes, C. Denvir, A. F. de C. Hamilton, S. Delacroix, “The Responses of Medical General Practitioners to Unreasonable Patient Demand for Antibiotics – A study of medical ethics using immersive virtual reality”, PLoS ONE 11(2): e0146837.
  • ‘From constitutional words to statehood? The Palestinian case’, Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3(4), 2014, pp. 1164-1181.
  • ‘Drafting a constitution for a “Country of words”: the Palestinian case’, Middle East Law and Governance, 4 (2), 2012, 72-91.
  • ‘Meta-ethical agnosticism in legal theory: mapping a way out’,  Jurisprudence , 1 (2), 2010, 225-240.
  • ‘You’d better be committed: legal norms and normativity’, American Journal of Jurisprudence, 54 (1), 2009, 117-132.
  • Schmitt’s critique of Kelsenian normativism, Ratio Iuris, 18(1), 2005, 30-45.
  • Hart’s and Kelsen’s contrasted understandings of normativity, Ratio Iuris, 17(4), 2004, 501-520.
  • Montaigne’s inquiry into the sources of normativity, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 16(2), 2003, 271-286.
  • Du silence au bruit: possibilités de discours sur les origins fondatrices du système juridique,  Revue interdisciplinaire d’études juridiques, 47, 2001, 153-177.

Work in progress/forthcoming

  • S. Delacroix, “Virtually Teaching Ethics? Experiencing the discrepancy between abstract ethical stands and actual behaviour”
  • S. Delacroix, “Professional responsibility in the 21st Century”
  • S. Delacroix, “Pervasive data profiling and the possibility of moral equality and civic responsibility”
  • S. Delacroix, “Machine Learning, Ethics and the value of surprise: Why Lady Lovelace’s objection must fail if we are to retain some`moral muscle’”

Sylvie Delacroix’s papers are available here.


Current Teaching


Professional Ethics

Law and Ethics of Smart Technologies



Law and Ethics


PhD Supervision
Sylvie Delacroix welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective PhD students.