Pavlos Eleftheriadis is Professor of Public Law at the University of Oxford.
He has been a Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford since 2003. He teaches European Union law, constitutional law and jurisprudence. He was educated at the University of Athens (BA, 1990) and the University of Cambridge (LLM, 1991, PhD, 1995).
He is a barrister in England and Wales and practises before the English courts in public law, environmental law, EU law and human rights from Francis Taylor Building in the Temple. Some of his recent cases involved challenging the Brexit process on constitutional grounds, including the challenge to the legitimacy of the EU referendum on account of the violation of electoral law by the ‘Leave’ campaigns, in the case of Wilson v Prime Minister  EWCA Civ 304.
He is the author of Legal Rights (Oxford University Press, 2008), where he argues for an interpretive or hermeneutic theory of law and rights and offers a theory of fundamental rights based on Kant and Rawls. His book A Union of Peoples: Europe as a Community of Principle will be published by Oxford University Press in April 2020. In that book he applies the same interpretive theory of law to European Union law and transnational law and argues that the European Union's central values are not those of a federal constitution, but the internationalist values of 'accountability', 'liberty' and 'fairness'. He is also the author of many other essays in public law, jurisprudence and European Union law. He is the co-editor (with Julie Dickson) of the collection of essays The Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law (Oxford University Press, 2012).
He has been a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School (1993 and 1995), a visiting professor of law at Columbia Law School (2001), a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto (2012), and a Distinguished Global Fellow in Residence at Boston College (2013).
He regularly blogs on European, constitutional and legal issues, mostly in infacts.org, verfassungsblog.de and the Oxford Business Law Blog. During the Eurozone crisis he was an active commentator in the press - as well as actively involved in politics in Greece. He has been interviewed by publications such as Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, El Pais, The Irish Times, The New York Times, Channel 4 and many others.
Some of his recent articles are:
'A New Referendum is a Constitutional Requirement' Oxford Business Law Blog, 04 July 2016.
'A Second Referendum is Probably Legally Required' InFacts, 06 July 2016
'How the Government Lost the Article 50 Case', InFacts, 27 January 2017
'The Elegant Way of the Constitution' Solicitors Journal, 21 February 2017
'EU Financial Claims Against the EU are Enforceable', InFacts, 22 March 2017
'Scottish Court Could Make Brexit far from Inevitable' InFacts, 25 May 2018
'UK Legal Opinion is Clear: UK Can Choose to Stay' InFacts, 04 December 2018
'If PM breaks Law, ECJ can halt Brexit' InFacts, 04 October 2019
An interview on climate change and planning law with Lexis Nexis is here.
His interview on the requirement for a new referendum on Brexit with Debating Europe, is here.
His radio interview with LBC radio on the requirement for a second EU referendum is available here.
The BBC's discussion of his argument on a second refrendum is here.
His Lexis Nexis Interview on the proposed changes to EU electoral law (taken no 06 January 2016) is here.
You can follow him on twitter at @PEleftheriadis.
- The debate concerning solidarity and justice among states has missed the key contribution made to international affairs by corrective justice. Unlike distributive justice, which applies within states, corrective justice applies among states and in particular to cooperative arrangements creating interdependence among them. Corrective justice does not require fairness in outcomes, but only fairness in the risks and opportunities undertaken by the parties to any cooperative agreement. Corrective justice requires redress in cases of loss caused by unfairness. An important illustration of corrective justice at work is the Eurozone’s response to the financial crisis. The assistance offered to the states most burdened by financial turmoil can be best interpreted not as an attempt to arrive at fair shares, but as an attempt to remedy the losses unfairly caused to some states by the mistakes made by all of them, when designing the Eurozone’s architecture.ISBN: ISSN: 2524-3977Proposals for Eurozone reform aim to complete its institutional architecture by securing stability without creating moral hazard. Such policy arguments inevitably rely, however, on implicit assumptions about justice, or on what is owed to whom. A common assumption is that member states are solely responsible for what happens to them. This paper, written from the point of view of public law and legal theory, asks if this assumption is correct. The relevant idea is often considered to be that of solidarity. Yet, solidarity is a puzzling concept. Although it is mentioned in the EU treaties, it does not appear to create any clear duties of mutual assistance. Many prominent legal theorists argue that solidarity will only become relevant in the future, when new European institutions bring citizens together under a single Europe-wide political community. This paper argues, however, that these arguments are misleading. They are at least incomplete in that they miss the key role played by corrective justice. Unlike distributive justice, which applies within states but not among states, corrective justice applies to cooperative arrangements creating interdependence. Corrective justice creates a principle of redress, which requires that those who are unfairly burdened by an agreement should be compensated by those who caused the unfairness. Any state that was unfairly burdened by the Eurozone’s flawed architecture, may thus have a claim of redress for the losses it incurred as a result of the unfairness. It follows that the programmes of financial assistance were not merely actions of self-preservation or prudence by the Eurozone. They were also manifestations of an existing European principle of solidarity based on corrective justiceISBN: ISSN 1109-6691DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1574019617000190Abstract -The Gina Miller judgment of the United Kingdom Supreme Court will be famous for its protection of the rule of law against an overreaching executive. But it should also be remembered for affirming the systematic nature of the British unwritten constitution. The Supreme Court rejected the older theory of the constitution, on which some of the government’s submissions relied, according to which the British constitution is based on the political fact of parliamentary sovereignty (or an equivalent ‘rule of recognition’) and is for that reason different from that of all other states. This was the view outlined by A. V. Dicey and endorsed by the British legal community for almost a century. The Supreme Court majority (and it is possible that the minority does too) relies on a different theory of the constitution, widely described as the ‘common law’ theory, which is a better fit with constitutional history. For the majority, the UK’s constitution is higher law made by the conscious decisions of a legislature like all other law. Joining the EU was a constitutional change brought about by parliament. For this reason withdrawal from the EU and its precise terms must also be decided by an act parliament. The Supreme Court considers the unwritten constitution to be a system of principles of the rule of law, whose origins lie not in a fact of sovereignty (or in the identity of the underlying ‘political community’) but in the legal transformation of the United Kingdom three centuries ago by way of the Bill of Rights 1688, the Act of Union 1707 and other constitutional statutes that created the higher law of the constitution.ISBN: 1744-5515Members and supporters of the British government say that the only constitutionally legitimate course of action over Brexit after the referendum is to press ahead with withdrawal from the European Union, even if that would entail the complete severance of all ties (which we normally call ‘hard Brexit’). A more sophisticated view of the constitution, however, shows that these more or less populist arguments are false. As the Supreme Court confirmed in the recent Gina Miller judgment, the constitution did not change with the June referendum. Parliament is still supreme and determines both ordinary legislation and constitutional change. In fact, if one examines closely the claim that the referendum entails hard Brexit, it becomes obvious that this claim is false as well. The referendum opened the door for one among four different possibilities. Which Brexit option—if any—the United Kingdom should take is a matter for Parliament now to decide, following the normal processes of democratic deliberation and representation.DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17176/20171114-094539DOI: https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2017/01/30/pavlos-eleftheriadis-the-systematic-constitution/DOI: 10.5553/NJLP/.000052The whole of law, public and private, assumes a particular ordering of social life which presupposes the distinction between higher and ordinary law, in that it subjects all of official action of law-making, administration and adjudication, to a general framework of institutions at the service of equal rights. These self-embracing constitutional institutions create the conditions for political legitimacy. The constitution does not seek to create a morally perfect society. Constitutional law aims to construct legitimate institutions under which we could live side by side in spite of our disagreements and in spite of our mutual suspicion. Constitutional law is therefore invested with a very distinct moral purpose: the construction of an effective and legitimate scheme of social co-operation that enables us to live side by side as free and equal. Power alone cannot achieve this task. In this sense, just like moral reasoning, legal reasoning needs no foundations. It is continuous with practical reason. The constitution is a practical judgment, defended and justified like all others.DOI: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/business-law-blog/blog/2016/10/how-brexit-will-failDOI: https://infacts.org/obstacles-concluding-transitional-deal-immense/ISBN: 978-1-90-450111-4The HS2 ruling will restart debates about the fundamental principles of public law. The hierarchy between deeper constitutional principles and ordinary laws is now part of the constitution.In December 2012 Four Presidents of the European Union (of the European Council, the Commission, the Central Bank and the Eurogroup) issued a paper outlining steps for a genuine monetary union promising among others better democratic accountability for its institutions. This essay asks if an entity like the European Union - and the Eurozone within it - can indeed become democratic. I distinguish between two approaches to democracy, first as collective self-government or, second, as set of egalitarian institutions. The essay argues that the German Federal Constitutional Court supports the first theory and for that reason is very cautious of the idea of bringing democracy to the European Union. The collective view believes that without a single people, there cannot be self-government. The second theory accepts the primacy of domestic democracy but allows, by contrast, for international institutions of democratic accountability that support domestic democracy. I offer some arguments for this view and conclude that the four Presidents are not mistaken in endorsing the ambition of democratic accountability for the Eurozone. The European Union is a union of peoples. A union of this kind can become more democratic without seeking to become a democracy.ISBN: 9781849464390Many European Union law scholars, commentators and politicians consider the creation of European citizenship by the Treaty of Maastricht an important landmark in the process towards ever closer union. By marking a special relationship with the Union itself, citizenship epitomizes the growing maturity of the Union as a political community and not merely an economic project of a single market. Citizenship introduces the first elements of a political, social, and emotional bond between the peoples of Europe and their new Union. Nonetheless, the content of European citizenship remains a puzzle. The rights it grants are very different to those promised by states. When looked at in detail, it fails to match many of the most central elements of citizenship.ISBN: ISSN: 2071-8322ISBN: 9780199917907ISBN: 978-0-19-958877-0This note discusses the judgment of the German Constitutional Court of 9 September 2011, according to which the Euro Bailout agreements of 2010-2011 may be unconstitutional, if they encroach on the 'Budgetary Sovereignty' of the German People.ISBN: 1073-1105ISBN: 978-0-19-958877-0ISBN: 978-1-90-450111-4In the last three years the artist Kalliopi Lemos has constructed three large sculptures consisting mainly of boats used by illegal immigrants to cross from Turkey into Greece. These boats were discarded on the island of Chios, where Lemos discovered them. She exhibited these three sculptures in public settings in Athens, Istanbul and Berlin, with the respective titles: Crossing, Round Voyage and Crossroads. What is the meaning of this work? In this essay (which will form part of a forthcoming book on this trilogy, alongside essays by Arthur Danto and Thomas Pogge) Pavlos Eleftheriadis argues that art does not seek to resolve moral dilemmas, such as the dilemma posed by the competing claims of justice made by the illegal immigrants and the neediest of our own society. The power of art is in reminding us (in a way that does not deploy philosophical arguments but is equally or more persuasive) of the profound importance of our moral responsibility towards everyone.ISBN: 978-3-86930-052-8James Griffins rich and elegant study, On Human Rights (Oxford, 2008), is a superbly accomplished book. Its range is impressive. It offers a discussion of the general status of values, a general theory of rights, concrete accounts of the right to welfare, the right to privacy, the right to life, the link with democracy and the idea of group rights, among other things. At every stage we are treated to a clear, rigorous and elegant discussion full of broad learning and penetrating judgment, which readers of Griffins earlier books have perhaps learned to expect. Yet, the view of human rights that Griffin defends is strangely narrow and unfamiliar in that it is not connected to any political or legal framework.ISBN: ISSN: 1835-6842The UK Governments Green Paper Rights and Responsibilities: Developing our Constitutional Framework, outlines a new proposal for a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which may replace the Human Rights Act as the main constitutional statement of human rights in the United Kingdom. The Green Paper does not address squarely the role that rights play in protecting liberty. It does not deal with the modern literature on justice, liberty and democracy. The failures are surprising, given the significance of what is being proposed. The experience of modern constitutional law teaches us that we need strong and independent judges and clear public laws, if rights are to be effective. The Green Paper fails to do justice to this long tradition. By making our rights conditional on someones (and mainly the governments) view of our own virtue, the governments proposal, at least as it stands today, threatens to undermine some of the most central safeguards of liberty.One of the theoretical developments associated with the law of the European Union has been the flourishing of legal and constitutional theories that extol the virtues of pluralism. Pluralism in constitutional theory is offered in particular as a novel argument for the denial of unity within a framework of constitutional government. This essay argues that pluralism fails to respect the value of integrity. It also shows that at least one pluralist theory seeks to overcome the incoherence of pluralism by implicitly endorsing monism. The coherence of European legal reasoning will be best preserved, if we consider that both the national legal order and the international (or European) such order endorse a sophisticated view of their own limits.ISBN: 0952-1917How is it possible that the idea of sovereignty still features in law and legal philosophy? Sovereignty is normally taken to refer to absolute power. Yet modern law assumes that power is exercised by officials constrained by legal rules and the rule of law. This essay argues that a closer look at sovereignty and law shows that the first impression is correct: law and sovereignty are mutually exclusive. Philosophically speaking, sovereignty is and has always been incompatible with the rule of law and with constitutional law itself. Sovereignty and constitutional government are mutually exclusive.ISBN: 0167-5249This essay argues that the universality claim is a claim concerning two different domains: first, the domain of the political and, second, the domain of foreign policy. The domain of the political gives us a theory of political rights as we find them in Rawls' Political Liberalism. The domain of foreign policy gives us a theory of human rights as we find them in Rawls' Law of Peoples. Both are distinct from a third domain, that of the moral relations of persons, where rights also are seen to have a bearing. We have therefore political rights, human rights, and moral rights. Only the first two enjoy universality. The distinction between the moral, the political and the international domains is crucial to the success of the claim to universality.ISBN: 978-0-19-954528-5DOI: 10.1093/ojls/gql022ISBN: 1464-3820ISBN: 978-0-521-87204-1A critical analysis of the last ten years of constitutional developments in GreeceISBN: 0140-2382A discussion of the Draft EU ConstitutionDOI: 10.1111/1468-0386.00177ISBN: 1468-0386ISBN: 1076-6715The Direct Effect of Community Law: Conceptual Issues 16 Yearbook of European Law (1996) 205-221.
Constitutional Law, Human Rights, Environmental Law, Planning Law, European Union Law, Philosophy of Law
Options taughtJurisprudence, Constitutional Principles of the EU
News articles for Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Blog posts by Pavlos Eleftheriadis05 May 2017
2016-2017 Oxford Business Law Blog Round-Up: Most Read Opinion Pieces
By John Armour, Faculty of Law | Horst Eidenmüller, St Hugh's College | Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield College | Luca Enriques, Faculty of Law | Ariel Ezrachi, Pembroke College | Cheng Lim | Bruno Meyerhof Salama | Calum Sargeant | TJ Saw | Maurice Stucke, Institute of European and Comparative LawOxford Business Law Blog28 Mar 2017
Right to remain may already be guaranteed
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT28 Mar 2017
UK’s obligations won’t go to zero if we quit with no deal
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT23 Mar 2017
EU financial claims against the UK are enforceable
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT15 Feb 2017
How to Make a Transitional Brexit Arrangement
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeOxford Business Law Blog30 Jan 2017
The Systematic Constitution
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT30 Jan 2017
How the Government lost the Article 50 case
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT12 Jan 2017
The Illegitimacy of Brexit
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT17 Nov 2016
How Brexit will Fail
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT27 Oct 2016
How Brexit will Fail
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeOxford Business Law Blog25 Jul 2016
Legal Aspects of Withdrawal from the EU: A Briefing Note
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield College | Luca Enriques, Faculty of LawOxford Business Law Blog04 Jul 2016
A New Referendum is a Constitutional Requirement
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeOxford Business Law Blog04 Jul 2016
A New Referendum is a Constitutional Requirement
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT06 Jun 2016
The UK and the Eurozone
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeResearch Collection: BREXIT06 Jun 2016
The UK and the Eurozone
By Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mansfield CollegeOxford Business Law Blog