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

Reader in Legal Theory



Maksymilian Del Mar

Dr Maksymilian Del Mar is a legal theorist, with an interest in the interdisciplinary study of law and legal thought. In terms of legal thought, he is especially interested in the aesthetics of the legal mind, and he has pursued this by examining the role of imagination and emotion in legal thought, and with respect to both verbal and visual aesthetics. His interest in legal thought extends to its history, especially by way of intellectual history (but broadly understood). In terms of law, his interests have been primarily in the common law and in varieties of law beyond the state (including international and transnational law). He is also very interested in legal education, especially the role of the arts and humanities in law schools.

Dr Del Mar is presently writing two monographs: Imagination and the Legal Mind (for Bloomsbury / Hart), and Neil MacCormick: A Practical Philosophy (for Stanford). Recent and in-progress editorial projects include: Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (with William Twining, 2015); Authority in Transnational Legal Theory (with Roger Cotterrell, 2016); Law in Theory and History (with Michael Lobban, 2016); and the Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities (with Bernadette Meyler and Simon Stern, in progress).

In terms of teaching, in addition to the undergraduate course on Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, he is teaching two Masters courses, both of which focus on different aspects of the aesthetics of legal thought. One examines imagination and language, primarily by reference to the role and value of legal fictions, metaphors, hypothetical narratives and perspectival tests. The other looks at a variety of visual forms and their role and value in legal knowledge, including emblems, illustrations of legal manuscripts, tree diagrams and page layout.

Dr Del Mar came to Queen Mary via undergraduate degrees in law, literature and philosophy at the University of Queensland (Australia) and doctoral degrees in law (University of Edinburgh, UK) and philosophy / social sciences (University of Lausanne, Switzerland). Prior to commencing doctoral studies, he qualified and practised as a Solicitor in Queensland, including founding and managing the Legal Professional Ethics Project at the Queensland Law Society, and serving as Associate to the Hon. Justice Margaret White in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

At Queen Mary, he is the Founding Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC), and a Member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for the History of Political Thought. His administrative roles extend to being the President of the UK Branch of the International Association of Legal and Social Philosophy, and Founding Co-Convenor of the International Network on Transnational Legal and Political Theory.


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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