A colloquium on Ronald Dworkin’s Law’s Empire, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its publication, was held on 7 June 2011. Participants were Oxford legal philosophers, including some emeriti, such as Tony Honoré, Joseph Raz, and John Finnis.

Law’s Empire is one of the major works in legal philosophy. Its claims have been, and continue to be, the subject of a very large volume of the Faculty’s research
output (itself a major part of the very substantial output that the book has prompted around the world). Most of the colloquium’s participants have written about the book, whether to develop or criticize its claims, or to refine and defend alternatives against the book’s claims, and many continue regularly to produce work that engages with the book. The colloquium’s immediate purpose was to discuss the state of play regarding the book’s claims 25 years after its publication, and to set the agenda for future work. It gave Oxford legal philosophers a chance to get together and discuss topics that are central to their research interests.

The colloquium was designed to be intimate and informal, with a roundtable format, to allow for extended, in-depth discussion. There were four sessions. Timothy Endicott, John Finnis, John Gardner, and Jeremy Waldron each introduced a topic for the relevant session, followed by a response by Ronald Dworkin and general discussion. A reception at All Souls then followed.

This conference was generously supported by Hart Publishing.


  • Hart Publishing