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OXGS director Denis Galligan

Denis Galligan

OXGS Director

Denis Galligan is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies Emeritus at Oxford University and a Professorial Fellow Emeritus of Wolfson College. He was for many years the Jean Monnet Professor of European Public Law at the Universita’ degli Studi di Siena and a Visiting Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Professor Galligan held various positions at Oxford University, including director of Centre for Social-Legal Studies (CSLS, 1993-2008), co-founder and director of programmes of Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS, 2005-2020), and One Belt One Road (OBOR) Programme of Faculty of Law (2014-2019). Other earlier positions he held include director of Centre for Policy Studies Central European University and Dean of the Law Faculty of Southampton University.

Related activities


A range of events (lectures, seminars, and workshops) at Wolfson College and the Oxford Law Faculty. Recent subjects include: Adam Smith as Jurist; The Transformation of the International Order; Social Foundations of Constitutions; Law and Social Media.

The Putney Debates   The annual event (revived in 2017) aims to discuss a subject of constitutional importance in a manner accessible to and for instruction of the public.

Advice and consultancy   Providing advice and consultation on the constitutional and administrative law aspects of the transition in central and east Europe, OECD, OSCE, Open Society, and World Bank. Advising the government of Pakistan on constitutional issues.


Professor Galligan’s research interests and publications are centred on the place and function of law in society, with emphasis on public and constitutional law. Current research subjects include:
  • The people in the constitution: a social understanding   The purpose of constitutions, the place of the people, and the forms of rule. A theoretical study that draws on empirical research.
  • Constitutions and crisis   A study of how constitutions provide for and cope with crisis.
  • Success and failure of constitutions and the restoration of failed states

Selected publications

The people and the courts: Foes or Friends? (ed.) (Bloomsbury-Hart London: 2021)
Constitution in Crisis: The New Putney Debates (ed.) (I.B. Taurus London:2017)
Constitutions and the Classics (ed.) (Oxford University Press:2015)
Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (ed.) (with M. Versteeg) (Cambridge University Press: 2014) (Chinese Edition Forthcoming)

Law in Modern Society (Clarendon Press of Oxford University: 2007)

Due Process and Fair Procedures (Clarendon Press of Oxford University: 1997)

Administrative Law in Central and East Europe (with Daniel Smilov) (Central European University Press (1995)

Discretionary Powers (Clarendon Press of Oxford University: 1987) (Italian Edition 1999)

Areas of expertise

  • Global governance
  • Constituions generally
  • Designing and drafting  constitutions
  • Comparing constitutional systems