Law & Metaphysics

​Law & Metaphysics at GLT supports an interdisciplinary approach to metajurisprudential questions, drawing on members’ expertise in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, as well as legal, moral and political philosophy. Questions that currently attract the attention of metajurisprudential inquiry include the theorising of legal relations, law’s dependence on institutional and pre-institutional relations, the ways in which legal epistemology tracks its metaphysics and the place law occupies within the broader domain of normative reality. Deepening our understanding of the foundations of law and legal systems ultimately has a practical purpose for us: to help us confront the key legal and political challenges of our age, intervene in the social construction of roles and identities and tackle structural injustice, and promote modes of governance that respect equality, freedom and respect for diverse forms of human flourishing.

The GLT’s growing interest and expertise in contributing to the shaping of the emerging metajurisprudential agenda have also led to a systematic collaboration with the UoG  Department of Philosophy. For more details on our networking initiative with colleagues from the Department of Philosophy please visit the website of the Glasgow Law and Philosophy Network.



National, transnational and international legal orders

This stream of research concentrates on the questions of how various orders of law at the national, supranational, transnational and global levels relate, interact and conflict and how we might theoretically address the resulting complexity and attendant normative challenges. These questions are asked both in their theoretical dimension but also with an eye to recovering a deeper practical interest in conditions of living together under relations of equality and community within, across and beyond nation states, and critically to addressing the multiple failures of current structures of governance.

Under this research theme we look at the manifold effects of globalisation on law and governance as an occasion for a reappraisal of the political and moral role of the law. While the main research foci are on the ‘global, the ‘transnational’ and the ‘European’ descriptors, the reach is wider, with an emphasis on institutional ordering as such, and the conceptualisation of normative institutional orders.

Normative institutional Orders

The impact of globalisation on the law offers a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at the classical jurisprudential debates about the nature of law, the structure and foundations of institutional orders and the grounds of legal normativity. Connecting with the recent turn, within the core areas of philosophy, to meta-philosophical inquiry we develop an interdisciplinary account which privileges constructivist premises in the understanding of legal norms as institutional facts and the explanation of legal normativity in virtue of deeper structures of practical reason. In historical terms, this research aims to revive and deepen a long-standing interest in practices of legal reasoning and the institutional dimension of the law which has been prominent within Scottish jurisprudence.

Law, globalisation and governance

The emphasis is on power structures operating at the global level, on the impact of markets and the nature of international legal regimes, on the scope, subjects and grounds of legal obligations in supra-national and international law, as well as on theories of global justice and cosmopolitan political ideals of mutual recognition.

European Law

In European law, the main research lines concern the nature of European constitutionalism, the relationship between State constitutionalism and the internal market, the application of the principle of subsidiarity, the new economic governance of the Eurozone, and the possibility of a European democratic ‘polis’.

Previous Work

Sept. 2008 – Dec 2013: The Glasgow School of Law and The Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values (University of Antwerp) hosted a research project on ‘Multi-layered Polities and the Search for the Common Good: A Constitutional Puzzle for the European Polis’ (€110.000). The funds were awarded by the Research Council University of Antwerp, fund for international cooperation (80%) and the Glasgow School of Law (20%).