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Dr Maksymilian Del Mar, BA LLB (Qld), PhD (Edinburgh), PhD (Lausanne), Solicitor (Qld)

Reader in Legal Theory



Maksymilian Del Mar

Maksymilian (Maks) Del Mar is Reader in Legal Theory and Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) at Queen Mary University of London, and Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.

Dr Del Mar arrived at Queen Mary in June 2011. He was educated at the Universities of Queensland (BA Hons I in Literature and Philosophy, LLB Hons I), Edinburgh (PhD in Law) and Lausanne (PhD in Philosophy / Social Science). Following his undergraduate studies, he qualified as a solicitor in Queensland and served as a Judge's Associate (Clerk) to the Hon. Justice Margaret White at the Supreme Court of Queensland. He also worked in-house for the Queensland Law Society, where he directed the Legal Professional Ethics Project, and as a solicitor at Macrossans.

Dr Del Mar is President of the UK Branch of the International Association of Legal and Social Philosophy, the Founding Co-Convenor of the International Network of Transnational Legal and Political Theory, and serves as a Member of the Executive of the Association of Transnational Law Schools. He has been the lead at Queen Mary on the new LLB with History, and is a Member of the Board at the Centre for History of Political Thought.

Dr Del Mar is currently completing two books: 1) Neil MacCormick: A Practical Philosophy, for Stanford University Press; and 2) Imagination and Legal Cognition, for Hart / Bloomsbury.

The monograph on MacCormick seeks to understand the relationship between the political and the philosophical in MacCormick's life and work, while also articulating MacCormick's significance for contemporary legal theory. Politically, MacCormick was a vital force - predominantly of constitutionalism and gradualism - in the Scottish National Party from the 1970s right through to his death in 2009. He was also a Member of the European Parliament, and a long-time advocate of Scotland in Europe. Philosophically, he questioned many dogmas of twentieth century legal theory (eg the relation between law and the sovereign state, and between deductive reasoning and law), thereby opening up new ways of thinking about law. In both politics and philosophy, he was a voice of moderation and responsiveness to diversity (political, moral, and epistemological). Research for this monograph has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society of Scotland. See also:

The second book is on the role and value of imagination in legal cognition. Imagination is understood broadly to encompass any form of cognitive expression or exploration that is not immediately present to the senses. The book analyses and evaluates a number of devices of imagination in legal cognition, including legal fictions, future-oriented hypotheticals, uses of perspectival reasoning, and figures of speech (especially metaphor). The value of these devices is defended as generating resourcefulness - they are seen as forms of communication across time, which create cognitive space for legal inquiry. Related research on this topic has been funded by the British Academy / Newton Fund.

In addition to these main projects, Dr Del Mar continues to work on issues in transnational / global legal theory and the methodology of legal theory (especially the prospects for multi- and inter-disciplinary collaboration). His latest collection in transnational legal theory is Authority in Transnational Legal Theory: Theorising Across Disciplines (co-edited with Roger Cotterrell, Edward Elgar, 2016), and in methodology: Law in Theory and History: New Essays on a Neglected Dialogue (co-edited with Michael Lobban, Hart / Bloomsbury, 2016).

 Dr Del Mar is also developing new work on the visual dimensions of legal cognition – exploring the relationship over time between image, vision and law. Together with the work on imagination and legal cognition, this work is part of a long-term project on theorising law and legal cognition in comparative history.

Dr Del Mar's research interests include: 1) legal reasoning / legal cognition (and especially its poetics and aesthetics in context and over time); 2) the methodology of legal theory, especially relations between the theory and history of law; 3) transnational / global legal theory; 4) the role and value of the arts and humanities in legal scholarship and legal education; and 5) the history and historiography of ideas about law and society.


Undergraduate teaching:

  • LAW4005 Elements of Contract Law (Tutorial)
  • LAW6021 Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

Postgraduate teaching:


Dr Del Mar is currently working on:

  • Neil MacCormick: A Practical Philosophy, Stanford University Press
  • Imagination and Legal Cognition, Hart / Bloomsbury.

Funded research

Project: Neil MacCormick: Philosophy, Law and Politics

View the Neil MacCormick digital archive website.

Funding Source: Leverhulme Research Fellowship for 2013-2014

For more than thirty five years, Professor Sir Neil MacCormick (1941-2009) was Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh. He was also a leading figure in the Scottish National Party, including serving as a Member of the European Parliament. This project explores the relationship between MacCormick’s intellectual life as a legal philosopher of world-renown and his political life within both Scottish and European politics. Drawing, for the first time, on MacCormick’s private and Parliamentary papers, this project will examine the development of MacCormick’s philosophy of law alongside his political involvement. The project will culminate in the publication of a book, currently under contract with Stanford University Press, in their Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory series.

Project: Creative Legal Skills Workshops

1 September 2012 to 30 August 2013

Amount: £19,954.61

Funding Source: Westfield Fund for Enhancing the Student Experience

Project outline: The project aims to develop a series of workshops that will use methods and resources from the visual and dramatic arts to teach legal skills. Two pilot workshops have already been held, both on ‘How to Read a Case’ (February 2013). Project members: the project is led by Dr Del Mar, who will work closely with Ms Rogalska, a visual artist and an educator at the Tate Gallery, and Ms Jacqueline Defferary, an experienced theatre and television actress and drama teacher.

Research collaboration

The Legal Mind Network

This network is an international collaboration between the Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London, the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and the PEARL Centre at the College of Law, Australian National University. The network explores the theory and history of legal reasoning and its teaching, under the heading of three concepts: Imagination, Communication and Cognition. A triad of workshops is planned:

  • London 2016: ‘Legal Reasoning and Imagination: History, Theory and Pedagogy’ (June, 2016, organiser Maksymilian Del Mar)
  • Canberra 2017: ‘Legal Reasoning and Communication: History, Theory and Pedagogy’ (June, 2017, organiser Paul Maharg)
  • Toronto 2018: ‘Legal Reasoning and Cognition: History, Theory and Pedagogy’ (June, 2018, organiser Simon Stern)

The aim of these events is to bring together scholars from a range of different disciplines all interested in legal reasoning – with a focus on discussing common themes as well as differences in the history and theory of the practice of legal reasoning and its teaching.  We shall consider what common themes might properly frame any discussion of the comparative history of legal reasoning and its teaching, including: the practice and teaching of communications (including rhetoric and advocacy); the variable influence of scientific and humanistic models on reasoning in the law; the relations between legal reasoning and reasoning about matters of proof; and the various so-called external influences (including economic, social and cultural) on legal reasoning and its teaching; and the intersections of cognition, brain and legal study, and the interface between human cognition and artificial cognition.


Download Maks Del Mar's full CV

Selected Publications

1) Legal Reasoning

2) The Arts and Humanities in Legal Education

  • The Moral Imagination and the Legal Life: Beyond Text in Legal Education, co-edited with Zenon Bankowski, Ashgate, 2013
  • The Arts and the Legal Academy: Beyond Text in Legal Education, co-edited with Zenon Bankowski and Paul Maharg, Ashgate, 2013
  • Learning How to Read a Case: Resources and Activities from the Visual and Dramatic Arts’, in B. von Klink and B. de Vries (eds.), Academic Learning in Law: Theoretical Positions, Teaching Experiments and Learning Experiences, Edward Elgar, 2015
  • ‘The Education of Attention and Encounter in the Legal Academy’, in Bankowski and Del Mar (eds.), The Moral Imagination and the Legal Life: Beyond Text in Legal Education, Ashgate, 2013, 33-63
  • ‘Legal Understanding and the Affective Imagination’, in Caroline Maughan and Paul Maharg (eds.), Affect and Legal Education, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011, 177-193
  • ‘Beyond Text in Legal Education: Art, Ethics and the Carnegie Report’ (2010) 56 Loyola Law Review 101-144

3) The History, Methodology and Metatheory of Ideas about Law and Society

1) Transnational Legal Theory

5) Legal and Social Normativity

PhD Supervision

Dr Del Mar welcomes proposals for supervision in legal theory.

Dr Del Mar is currently supervising:

  • Ms Adela Halo, The Constitutional Thought of Mme de Staël, with Gareth Stedman-Jones, Law / History, Queen Mary University of London, 2015.

Public engagement

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