B. Jur. (Athens), LL.M. (Lond), D.Phil. (Oxon).

Nicos Stavropoulos is the Associate Professor of Legal Theory. He holds the permanent post in legal philosophy that was newly established by the University in 1999. He teaches and supervises research in jurisprudence. His research interests are in legal and political philosophy and the philosophy of language. His book Objectivity in Law was published by the Clarendon Press. He is currently working on a book on the grounds of law, which explores the mechanism through which political institutions shape the law. In recent work he explores different approaches to this fundamental explanation and the role of language within it.

Stavropoulos completed the DPhil at Brasenose.  Prior to joining the Faculty he practiced for several years, and served as Special Adviser in policy units under the Minister of Energy and Industry of Greece and at the Secretariat of the Cabinet under the Prime Minister of Greece.

Stavropoulos has been a Fellow at the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He serves on the board of Legal Theory and Law and Philosophy.


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  • N E Stavropoulos, 'Words and Obligations' in Andrea Dolcetti, Luis Duarte d'Almeida, James Edwards (ed), Reading the Concept of Law (Hart Publishing 2013) (forthcoming)
  • N E Stavropoulos, 'Obligations and the Legal Point of View' in A. Marmor (ed), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (Routledge 2012)
    It's uncontroversial that politics shapes the law. The tough question is how exactly that works: which kinds of political action have a law-shaping effect and how they produce that effect. Consider the enactment of a statute. A. Which precise aspect of the action is relevant to the legal impact of the enactment (the change in legal rights and obligations that obtains without further such action)? B. Why - what gives some aspect of the action its legal relevance? Analogous questions also arise in connection with the explanation of some other phenomena, including making a promise, decision or request - actions or attitudes which are generally understood to result in some distinctive obligations or to have some other distinctive normative significance or impact, or at least to be capable of so doing. The relevant theoretical choices are posed particularly clearly in these domains, so I explore them in some detail in relation to promising.
    ISBN: 0415878187
  • N E Stavropoulos, 'The Relevance of Coercion: Some Preliminaries' (2009) 22 Ratio Juris 339
    Many philosophers take the view that, while coercion is a prominent and enduring feature of legal practice, its existence does not reflect a deep, constitutive property of law and therefore coercion plays at best a very limited role in the explanation of law's nature. This view has become more or less the orthodoxy in modern jurisprudence. I argue that an interesting and plausible possible role for coercion in the explanation of law is untouched by the arguments in support of the orthodox view. Since my main purpose is to clear the ground for the alternative, I spell out the orthodox view in some detail. I then briefly sketch the alternative. Finally, I turn to Jules Coleman's discussion of the alternative.
    ISBN: 1467-9337
  • N E Stavropoulos, 'Why Principles?' (2007) SSRN - Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No.28/2007
  • N E Stavropoulos, 'Objectivity' in M.P. Golding and W. A. Edmundson (eds), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (Blackwell 2005)
    ISBN: 0-631-22831-4
  • N E Stavropoulos, 'Hart's Semantics' in J. Coleman (ed), Hart's Postscript (OUP 2001)
    ISBN: 0-19-829908-7
  • N E Stavropoulos, Objectivity in Law (Clarendon Press 1996)
    ISBN: 0-19-825899-2


Research programmes

Research Interests

Jurisprudence, Legal Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Political Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy

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