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John Gardner (legal philosopher)

John Gardner (legal philosopher)

British legal scholar
The basics
Occupations Jurist Educator
Countries United Kingdom
Gender male
Birth March 23, 1965 (Glasgow, Glasgow City Council, Scotland, United Kingdom)
Education New College
Authority Library of congress id VIAF id
The details

John Gardner FBA (born 23 March 1965 in Glasgow) is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and previously the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and fellow of University College, Oxford.


Gardner attended Glasgow Academy from 1970 to 1982. The following year he moved to the University of Oxford, where he received his BA, BCL (winning the Vinerian Scholarship), MA, and DPhil, under the supervision of Joseph Raz and Tony Honoré. He has been associated with New College (as a student, 1983–7), All Souls College (as a fellow, 1986–91 and 1998–2000), and Brasenose College (as a fellow, 1991–1996). From 1996 to 2000 he was Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London. In 2000, at the age of just 35, he was appointed Professor of Jurisprudence, taking over the chair previously held by H. L. A. Hart and Ronald Dworkin. In summer 2016 he took up a senior research fellowship at All Souls.


Gardner writes on general jurisprudence, the philosophical foundations of tort law and criminal law, and moral philosophy. He describes Tony Honoré, his colleague since 1986, as his mentor; and says he owes his approach to general jurisprudence to H. L. A. Hart. His work is often compared to that of Joseph Raz. Gardner is also influenced by Aristotle and by Bernard Williams, one of his DPhil examiners.

Honours and awards

Gardner has held several visiting positions, including at Columbia (2000), Yale (2002–3, 2005), Princeton (2008), the Australian National University (2003, 2006, 2008), and most recently Cornell (2015). A barrister since 1988, Gardner was elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (one of the Inns of Court) in 2002.


  • Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law (2007)
  • Law as a Leap of Faith: Essays on Law in General (2012)
  • From Personal Life to Private Law (forthcoming, 2016)
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