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Dr Julie Dickson

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Fellow and Senior Law Tutor, Somerville College & Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law.

Julie Dickson (LLB, Dip. L.P. Glasgow; MA, DPhil Oxon) is Fellow and Senior Law Tutor at Somerville College, and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law. After completing a D. Phil in Philosophy of Law at Balliol College, Oxford, she held posts at the University of Leicester and University College London before taking up a Fellowship in Law at Somerville College in 2002.

Dr Dickson works mainly in general jurisprudence or philosophy of law, and especially on methodological issues, and her publications on this topic include her book, Evaluation and Legal Theory (2001). She is also interested in theoretical aspects of European Union Law, including the theory of legal systems in the EU context. Dr Dickson teaches Jurisprudence and European Union Law at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and is the review articles editor of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. She also serves on the editorial board of legal philosophy journals, Legal Theory, Law and Philosophy, Transnational Legal Theory and Problema.

Dr Dickson's most recent book project - with regard to which she served as both co-editor and contributor - was to produce a new book featuring the best contemporary work combining legal and political philosophy and European Union law. J. Dickson and P. Eleftheriadis (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. She is currently working on a new monograph on the methodology of Legal Philosophy, under contract with Oxford University Press, working title: Elucidating Law: The Philosophy of Legal Philosophy.


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Journal Articles


J Dickson, 'Ours is a Broad Church: Indirectly Evaluative Legal Philosophy as a Facet of Jurisprudential Inquiry' (2015) 6 Jurisprudence 207 [...]

Questions concerning the aims and aspirations, criteria of success and even proper delineation of the subject matter of theories of law, have given rise to some of the most intractable and contentious debates in contemporary legal philosophy. In this article, I outline my vision of the remit and character of legal philosophy, with particular emphasis on the methodological approach with which I am most concerned in my own work, and which I refer to here as ‘indirectly evaluative legal philosophy’ (IELP). I do so partly in response to some vehement criticisms of, and, in my view, significant mischaracterisations of, IELP and cognate approaches to theorising about law, which feature in some recent jurisprudential debates. My position, which I am in the process of developing in depth in a new monograph, supports a pluralistic methodological outlook which emphasises disciplinary and sub-disciplinary complementarity as an alternative to the febrile adversarialism sometimes afflicting our discipline. For, in my view, ours is a broad church, and all theoretical accounts able to illuminate and help us understand any aspect of law’s variegated and complex character are (to invoke a Scottish saying) welcome in the main body o’ the kirk.

J Dickson, 'Who’s Afraid of Transnational Legal Theory?: Dangers and Desiderata ' (2015) Transnational Legal Theory (forthcoming)


J Dickson, 'Estado del arte de la filosofía del derecho' (2014) 36 Doxa: Cuadernos de Filosofía del Derecho (forthcoming)


J Dickson, 'Directives in European Union Legal Systems: Whose Norms Are They Anyway?' (2011) 17 European Law Journal 190 [...]

This article is concerned with whether the concept of a legal system - long a centrepiece of state-based legal theories – is a useful conceptual tool in theorising the contemporary European Union and its legal relations with its Member States. The focus lies particularly with EU Directives, and with what the character and operation of this distinctive type of EU norm can tell us a regards the existence of and relations between legal systems in the EU. I argue for the view that the EU is comprised of distinct but interacting legal systems at EU and national level, and claim that the character and operation of directives supports this view. Throughout the discussion I try to bring the conceptual tools of analytical legal philosophy to bear on puzzles generated by EU law and its relations with national law, in order to show that a sound analysis of aspects of the EU can benefit from abstract legal philosophical reflection, and vice versa.

ISBN: 1468-0386

J Dickson, 'On Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Some Comments on Brian Leiter’s View of What Jurisprudence Should Become ' (2011) 30 Law and Philosophy 477


J Dickson, 'How Many Legal Systems? Some Puzzles Regarding the Identity Conditions of, and Relations Between, Legal Systems in the European Union' (2008) 2 Problema 9


J Dickson, 'Is the Rule of Recognition Really a Conventional Rule?' (2007) 27(3) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 373


J Dickson, 'Methodology in Jurisprudence: a critical survey' (2004) 10(3) Legal Theory 117


J Dickson, 'The Central Questions of Legal Philosophy' (2003) 56 Current Legal Problems 63



J Dickson and P Eleftheriadis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2012)


J Dickson, Evaluación en la teoría del derecho (Spanish language edition of Evaluation and Legal Theory, UNAM Press, México,D.F. 2006)


J Dickson, Evaluation and Legal Theory (Hart Publishing 2001) [...]

Spanish language edition published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico Press in association with Hart Publishing in 2006, translated by Dr Juan Vega Gomez

ISBN: 1-84113-184-9



J Dickson, 'Law and Its Theory: a Question of Priorities' in R P George and J Keown (eds), Reason, Morality and Law: the Jurisprudence of John Finnis (Oxford University Press 2013)


J Dickson and P Eleftheriaidis, 'Introduction: The Puzzles of European Union Law' in J Dickson & P Eleftheriadis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2012)

J Dickson, 'Legal Positivism: Contemporary Debates' in Andrei Marmor (ed), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (Routledge 2012)

J Dickson, 'The Idea of a Legal System: Between the Real and the Ideal' in N Walker (ed), MacCormick's Scotland (Edinburgh University Press 2012)

J Dickson, 'Towards a Theory of European Union Legal Systems' in J Dickson & P Eleftheriadis (eds), Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2012)


J Dickson, 'Is Bad Law Still Law? Is Bad Law Really Law?' in Maksymilian Del Mar and Zenon Bankowski (eds), Law as Institutional Normative Order (Ashgate 2009)


J Dickson, 'Interpreting Normativity' in Properties of Law: Essays in Honour of Jim Harris (OUP 2006) [...]

This article was commissioned by the editors of a festschrift volume of essays in honour of Professor Jim Harris' work. It examines and critically assesses Professor Harris' interpretation of the work of Hans Kelsen on the normativity of law.

ISBN: 0-19-929096-2

Internet Publications


J Dickson, 'Descriptive Legal Theory' (2006) IVR Encyclopaedia of Jurisprudence, Legal Theory and Philosophy of Law [...]

This article was commissioned by the then editor of the IVR Encyclopaedia of legal philosophy. The article surveys and critically evaluates "descriptive" approaches to legal theory in light of recent challenges to the possibility and usefulness of this approach to jurisprudence


J Dickson, 'Interpretation and Coherence in Legal Reasoning' (2001) (Fall 2001 Edition, revised June 2005 and September 2009) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. - E. Zalta) [...]

Fully peer reviewed encyclopaedia article discussing the nature of legal reasoning and, in particular, the role of interpretation and coherence in legal reasoning. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy is an important reference resource for legal philosophers. 10000 words approx.

ISBN: 1095-5054



J Dickson, 'Legal Positivism and Moral Scepticism: An Unholy Alliance?' (1999) 28 Anglo-American Law Review 243


Teaching: European Union Law; Philosophy of Law

Research: Jurisprudence, Philosophy of Law, European Union Law, Philosophy of European Union Law

Other details

Correspondence address:

Somerville College
Oxford, OX2 6HD

Contact details:

other affiliation(s):

Oxford Law Faculty
St. Cross Building,
St. Cross Road
Oxford OX1 3UL

Link to personal web site

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