Listed here are PhD students in the Faculty whose dissertations include substantial jurisprudential/philosophical components. Some of the dissertations are entirely philosophical, whereas others draw significantly upon philosophical insights in the course of argumentation about various legal doctrines.
John Adenitire is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam College). In his doctoral thesis, John examines the moral basis and the legal limits of a right to exemption from legal obligations for conscientious objectors. His research interests include legal, moral and political philosophy, human rights law and theory, constitutional law and theory, and comparative public law. John obtained an MJur degree from Durham Law School and an LLB from the Law School of the University of Birmingham. He is a qualified solicitor (non practising) and has worked as a researcher at the Commission on a Bill of Rights, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and UCL's Constitution Unit. He was also a Visiting Lecturer in Public Law at the Law School of the University of Birmingham.
Nicolas Alfonsi is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge (Pembroke College). He received an MJur (distinction) from Oxford University and an LLM degree from Harvard Law School. He also read law as an undergraduate at Paris II Pantheon-Assas. His primary research interest is in philosophy of law, specifically on the relationship between jurisprudence and legal practice. His thesis examines Ronald Dworkin’s first anti-archimedean argument in Justice in Robes, according to which our positions about the nature of law always commit us to certain substantive legal standpoints. Part I seeks to develop Dworkin’s point by discussing the real-life example of Brown v. Board of Education. Part II examines Dworkin’s contention that Hart believed in the legal neutrality of his study of the concept of law. It asserts that Dworkin’s reading is plausible on its face since Hart’s general philosophical outlook was close to that of his colleague Richard Hare, who explicitly said that his analysis of the concept of morality did not commit him to any substantive moral position. Parts III and IV argue, however, that there is a room for an alternative interpretation of Hart. To use Dworkin’s terminology, we have reason to think that Hart is not a neutral archimedean but an austere one. Though Hart wants to observe legal practice from an external viewpoint, he does not deny that his jurisprudence impinges on the way we are to concretely approach, as lawyers, hard cases: what we say at the external philosophical level, about the very nature of law, is supposed to commit us, if we are to maintain logical consistency, to act and think in certain ways as jurists, in our day-to-day practice. This thesis finally argues that the idea of an external jurisprudence having internal implications within ordinary legal discourse is sustainable.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/na-alfonsi/5315
Ya Lan Chang is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge (Magdalene College). Her doctoral thesis examines a communitarian conception of, and approach to, human rights with a focus on Singapore. Her research interests include theories of human rights and human rights law; political, legal and moral philosophy; constitutional law and theory; comparative constitutional and human rights law; human rights in Asia; and international human rights. She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an LLB from the National University of Singapore.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/y-l-chang/77862
Raffael N. Fasel is a PhD in Law candidate at the University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College). In his doctoral thesis, Raffael examines the methodology, foundations, and application of legal rights. His research interests include jurisprudence, animal rights, human rights, constitutional law, public international law, and moral philosophy. Raffael obtained an LLM degree from Yale Law School, an MA in Philosophy from University College London, and a Bachelor and Master of Law (utriusque juris) degree from the University of Fribourg.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/rn-fasel/77852
Valentin Jeutner is a PhD Candidate at the Cambridge Law Faculty and Gonville and Caius College. Previously, he read law at Oxford University (BA Jurisprudence) and studied towards an LLM at Georgetown University. His thesis argues that irreconcilable conflicts between norms of public international law are at times best conceptualised as legal dilemmas. Against this background the thesis aims to identify the meaning and consequences of legal dilemmas, to distil their legal function within the sphere of international law, and to trigger serious theoretical and practical investigations into the conditions that lead to legal dilemmas. Specific issues the thesis considers include how a legal dilemma should be defined (particularly in contradistinction to moral dilemmas), whether the contemporary international legal order allows for irreconcilable norm conflicts, and how such conflicts should be decided. The arguments of the thesis will be illustrated with references to potentially dilemmatic aspects of the regulation of nuclear weapons and international transboundary water resources.
Visa A.J. Kurki is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Cambridge (Clare Hall). His doctoral dissertation examines the concept of legal personhood from the perspective of analytic legal theory. He holds an LL.B. from Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and an LL.M. from the University of Helsinki. His primary research interests lie in analytic jurisprudence, the Hohfeldian analysis, and the law of animals and other borderline groups.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/visa-aj-kurki/6133
Jyr-Jong Lin is a PhD candidate in law at the University of Cambridge (Clare College). He received an LL.B.and an LL.M. from National Taiwan University. His primary research interest is in philosophy of law, specifically issues relating to the normativity of law, authority, reasons for action, and the normativity of rationality. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, in which he examines different accounts of legal normativity in the Hartian tradition of Jurisprudence and aims to develop a more elaborate one.
Joshua Neoh is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). His doctoral dissertation examines the relationship between law, love and freedom in the jurisprudence of Paul. He holds an LLB from the Australian National University, and an LLM from Yale Law School.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/joshua-neoh/77785
Rajiv Shah is a PhD candidate in the Law Faculty at Cambridge University (Downing College). He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Warwick University and a B.A. in Law and the LLM degree from Cambridge. His research is in the philosophy of restitution: "The common law of restitution has changed a lot during the past 150 years. The principle of unjust enrichment has replaced the fictitious notion of an implied contract. This has led, throughout the common law world, to substantive changes in the law. The thesis will argue that whilst almost all commentators use the term unjust enrichment there is not much consensus on what it means and on how it operates. For some it is merely a descriptive principle useful for the purposes of legal taxonomy. For others it is a moral principle that justifies the imposition of liability. The thesis will argue that there is no general principle of unjust enrichment that justifies the imposition of liability. Rather there are a number of discrete moral principles which justify the imposition of liability in certain instances. Whilst those instances can be described as falling under the category of "unjust enrichment", that principle does not have the general justificatory potential that is commonly thought."
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/rajiv-shah/3839
Stefan Theil is a first year PhD candidate in law. His primary research interests are in International Law, Human Rights Law, European Union Law, Constitutional theory and German public law. He has previously completed translation work in the field of legal philosophy and was recently involved in a research project on the Social State principle in German constitutional law. He holds a degree in law from the University of Bayreuth (Germany) and a master’s degree in law from University College London (LLM). The central proposition of his thesis is that a commitment to the civil and political rights of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) entails the protection of basic environmental requirements for a healthy human life (to which he refers collectively as the ‘environmental minimum’). Following a comprehensive analysis of the case law, he proposes that there is significant potential for a more ‘green’ reading of the ECHR. He develops his argument by exploring the concepts of human rights and environmental protection that inform his approach. Crucially, human rights neither demand absolute priority over other considerations, nor do they entail complete statements of justice. With this in mind, the ‘environmental minimum’ provides a framework to determine at which point an environmental threat to human health amounts to a human rights violation. However, the ‘environmental minimum’ does not seek to enforce, or authoritatively postulate any specific threshold values. As long as states regulate and enforce some environmental protection standard, the ‘environmental minimum’ will be satisfied.
Faculty profile: http://www.law.cam.ac.uk/people/research-students/stefan-theil/6578