Tom is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law as well as a Tutorial Fellow at St Catherine's College, Oxford. He works in legal philosophy, with special interest in questions relating to method and social ontology, as well as theoretical aspects of constitutional and administrative law.
Tom read for the BA in Jurisprudence (2008) and BCL (2009) at St Peter's College, Oxford. He then went on to complete the DPhil in Law (2015) at Balliol College, Oxford under the supervision of Professor Leslie Green. Prior to coming to St Catherine's Tom was a Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2015-2017). He has held visiting positions at New York University School of Law (2012-2013) and University of Chicago Law School (2019).
- This paper challenges the widely held assumption that H.L.A. Hart endorsed in The Concept of Law a fatally flawed theory of rules known as ‘the practice theory’. In the first section I lay out the practice theory. The second section marshals evidence of the theory’s inconsistency with central aspects of Hart’s philosophy of law, in particular his insistence on the distinction between the validity and efficacy of legal rules. In section three I revisit the passages of the book from which the practice theory is ostensibly culled and suggest an alternative. Finally, in section four, I consider some of the methodological implications of Hart’s style of argument and what it says about the importance or not of conceptual analysis in legal philosophy.This chapter, for an edited collection on British politics and society, seeks to provide a snapshot of the constitutional and political position of the judiciary in the early 21st Century. The first section outlines two important changes in the institutional role of the courts: EU membership and the courts’ emerging human rights jurisprudence. I argue that whilst judges now find themselves with more authority over other organs of the state than they had in the past, they do so for the most part not as a result of their own decisions but because of political choices made by Parliament. This complicates the story told by some that the modern judicial role is antagonistic to the political constitution and the resulting settlement undemocratic. The second section turns to consider the issue of the courts’ composition and the question of judicial diversity. Whilst much has been done in recent years to address the relationship between the judiciary and the other organs of the state there remain, I suggest, important questions about judges and their relation to society at large.
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Legal Philosophy, Administrative Law, Constitutional Law