Luís Duarte d’Almeida


I graduated in Lisbon, but my career soon became international when I chose to leave Portugal, in 2008, to become a doctoral student at the University of Oxford.

I was awarded my DPhil in Law in 2011, and hired shortly afterwards—after 1 year as a post-doc Fellow at the University of Cambridge—by the University of Edinburgh. There I was quickly promoted from Chancellor’s Fellow (2012) to Reader (2015) to a Full Professorship (in 2017, a mere 6 years after earning my doctoral degree). My field is jurisprudence and the philosophy of law.

Full-time at Edinburgh until January 2022, I then decided (partly for family reasons) to return to Portugal. I joined the NOVA School of Law, keeping an affiliation to Edinburgh as Honorary Professorial Fellow.

My career remains fully international. I am since 2017 a Visiting Professor at KU Leuven (teaching a full course every academic year); and since 2016 I teach annually at the University of Goettingen’s Summer School on Criminal Law. I was also a Visiting Fellow at the EUI in Florence in 2016-17.

Alongside my academic responsibilities, I am very active as a researcher. I publish only internationally (and in English). My work has been very well received, cited in over 350 publications, and translated into several languages. My h-index is 12, my i10-index 13. I have given over 120 invited talks.

I have considerable senior management experience, including as co-director of the Edinburgh Centre for Law & Society (2014-17); Sub-Director (Jan-Sep 2022) and then Director (Sep 2022-Jan 2024) of CEDIS; and coordinator of the NOVA Argumentation Centre at the NOVA School of Law.

Alongside my research-led teaching (at all levels), I engage with the non-academic community of legal practitioners, providing training in legal reasoning and writing in both the UK and Portugal. I have also intervened socially, authoring an amicus brief presented to the Portuguese Constitutional Court supporting the legalisation of same-sex marriage.




My field is general jurisprudence and the philosophy of law; for the past few years, I have focused on the theory of legal argumentation in its many aspects. I work in what the “analytic” tradition, which prizes conceptual and argumentative clarity and rigour. My research is idiosyncratic in more ways than one; I tend to think that long-standing solutions to well-known questions in my field are wrong. And I have carried the original results of my research over to training I also deliver to the non-academic community of legal practitioners.

Although some of my earliest work became influential (including a 2011 paper on normative language in the law, published while I was still a doctoral student, that has been discussed in over 50 publications and continues to draw attention: I was invited to visit the University of Chicago later this year to continue to discuss it), my first major contribution was a monograph, published by Oxford University Press in 2015, on the notion of an exception and the many jurisprudential issues it raises. In that book, “Allowing for Exceptions”, I defend an epistemic (or proof-based) account of exceptions and draw out its implications for a range of issues, including the theory and structure of criminal responsibility. That book has been very well received. It was variously described in print as “an extraordinary achievement” (Law Quarterly Review), “tightly argued and highly valuable” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews), “a must-read for legal philosophers working on the topic of exceptions and legal reasoning” (Jurisprudence), “argued with clarity and rigour . . . a masterful exposition” (Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books), “excellent . . . will surely become a staple on the topic of exceptions in legal reasoning” (Modern Law Review), “a very good example of legal analytic philosophy: it employs a very sophisticated theoretical and critical apparatus and is argued very well” (King’s Law Journal), or “rigorously argued, erudite, and persuasive . . . an immensely impressive piece of legal and philosophical scholarship” (Law and Philosophy). In February 2016 Queen Mary University of London promoted an author-meets-critics workshop on this book.

This book has since been quoted in dozens of works from different areas of the law, and became influential beyond its own field. I was invited, for example, to speak on its impact on the law of international state responsibility at an International Law conference at the University of Cambridge in 2016; to contribute an essay on its impact for tort law for a volume on that topic; or to lecture (several times) on its impact for criminal law theory at the University of Goettingen.

More recently, I have developed original analyses of several central types of legal argument (including arguments by analogy, a fortiori, a contrario, and abductive arguments for legal principles). My work on the structure of the justification of law-applying decisions has also drawn considerable attention. In a 2019 essay (recently described in print as “opening up new horizons”), I argued that the widespread model of the “legal syllogism” – adopted by legal theorists everywhere, in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, since at least Beccaria’s 1764 ‘Dei delitti e delle pene’ – is both internally incoherent, and inadequate as a model for the justification of judicial decisions. Then, in 2021, I published (in “Law & Philosophy”, one of the top journals in my field) an original account of law-application. This essay was immediately commissioned for translation into Spanish, and a whole issue of the (peer-reviewed) journal “Discusiones” devoted to it, with critical essays by several leading theorists and a reply by me. It was also recently commissioned for translation into Chinese.

I was invited to be one of 12 “leading young scholars” (under 45) to feature as main speakers at the University of Oxford’s “The Future of Jurisprudence” conference that was scheduled to take place in 2020 (the event had to be cancelled because of the pandemic; but a peer-reviewed volume, soon to be published by OUP, was prepared by the organisers, and includes an essay by me).

My article ‘Geach and Ascriptivism’ was awarded the 2016 JHAP essay prize. I am regularly invited to contribute to international volumes edited by the world’s leading authors in my field and published by the top publishers. I have given over 120 invited talks (including keynote lectures) at international conferences. And in 2021 I was invited by Elgar Publishing to be the lead editor of a Research Handbook on Legal Argumentation: a project with over 35 chapters now approaching its conclusion, on which I am working together with Ruth Chang (Oxford), Lilian Bermejo-Luque (Granada), Euan MacDonald (Edinburgh) and Fábio Shecaira (Rio de Janeiro). I secured an international and gender-balanced team of contributors (half of which are women). It will be published in 2024.



As a member of the board of CEDIS for 2 years (and its Director from September 2022 to January 2024), I have taken an active role in promoting the career and training of the NOVA School of Law’s community of researchers. Under my leadership, CEDIS organised and delivered a range of training sessions on different aspects of career development, securing research funding, preparing applications, and so on. Under my leadership, CEDIS also improved the dedicated support it provides individual researchers, identifying funding opportunities and providing professional feedback on draft applications so as to maximise likelihood of success. I myself also personally gave feedback and advice to CEDIS researchers.

I have supervised over 20 dissertations (PhD, Masters, LLB); acted as examiner in over 15 PhD defences and panels; acted (in Edinburgh) as mentor, annual reviewer, and advisor to junior colleagues; at the NOVA School of Law, I co-coordinate the PhD programme, and designed (and teach) the “Methodologies of Legal Research” course (PhD level), providing all incoming PhD students with individualised feedback aimed at helping them to successfully develop their research projects. I was nominated, by students, for both an EUSA Best Supervisor Award and an EUSA Best Practice and Inclusive Learning and Teaching Award.

I have also had a range of academic management roles under which I have provided career guidance to both students and colleagues: I was Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination at the NOVA School of Law (2022); Head of Subject Area (Legal Theory) at the Edinburgh Law School (2018/19, 2019/20); member of the Steering Committee of the Edinburgh Legal Theory Centre at the University of Edinburgh (2016-2021); Director of Ethics and Integrity at Edinburgh Law School (2019/20); Director of Equality and Diversity, Edinburgh Law School (2017/18); and Co-Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Law and Society (2014/15 to 2016/17).



I have provided extensive service to the community over the course of my career.

I acted as External Reviewer (Jurisprudence courses) for the UCL Faculty of Laws in London (2018-22) and as Reviewer for the Trinity College, Cambridge JRF programme (2023). I was an international member for the Portuguese Agency for the Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) in committees assessing existing Portuguese Law Schools (2021). I have acted as peer-reviewer for many international journals, including Analysis; Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy; Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence; Erkenntnis; Informal Logic; Isonomia; Jurisprudence; Journal of Applied Philosophy; Law & Philosophy; LEAP: Law, Ethics, and Philosophy; Legal Theory; Oxford Journal of Legal Studies; Philosophy Compass; Precedente; Ratio Juris; or Revus. I am often a reviewer of book manuscripts and proposals for Oxford University Press, Springer, and Hart Publishing.

I was elected member of the Philosophy & Law Committee of the American Philosophical Association (2016–19); am a member of the International Advisory Board of Zeitschrift für Internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik; a member of the Scientific Committee of Revus: Journal for Constitutional Theory and Philosophy of Law; and a founding member of the Associação Portuguesa de Teoria do Direito (created in 2008).

As Director of CEDIS, I have implemented science-management practices that impacted positively on our researchers’ careers.



I am a founder and coordinator of NOVA Argumentation (, a Knowledge Centre at the NOVA School of Law (financially supported through a partnership I negotiated with the Portuguese Law Firm Morais Leitão); its mission includes delivering practice-oriented training on legal argumentation and writing to the non-academic legal community. In 2022 designed a programme of training addressed at that Law Firm’s lawyers, and was also invited by the Portuguese Parliament to design a training course on argumentation and writing for their legal team.

I collaborated with the Judicial Institute for Scotland, developing and delivering modules on “Logic and Argument”, “Reasoning with Rights”, and “Avoiding Fallacies” as part of their Judicial Reasoning and Writing course (2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16). I have also delivered (in 2018, 2021, and 2023) similar courses aimed at practicing lawyers in Portugal.

I authored one of the pro bono, amicus curiae pieces presented in 2007 to the Portuguese Constitutional Court, arguing for the unconstitutionality of the provisions in the Portuguese Civil Code that (then) prevented same-sex marriage. The concerted effort, by several scholars, of filing amicus pieces—an unusual practice in Portugal—played a role in how the Court ended up deciding, and contributed to the political momentum that led to the Portuguese Parliament’s repeal of the legal ban on same-sex marriage.



My recent research focuses on legal argumentation—a comparatively under-explored area of legal theory. I highlight some publications below.

But while my field is theoretical, I see my research as ultimately providing legal practitioners with tools to improve their own law-applying activities. That is why I make a point of delivering training sessions to lawyers and judges. The feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are some comments from judges to whom (as detailed above) I delivered training on legal reasoning and logic: “of central relevance for framing reasons for a [judicial] decision”; “an invaluable analytical framework and vocabulary”; “of the utmost relevance”; “of central relevance for framing reasons for a decision.”

The amicus piece (also detailed above) I wrote for the Portuguese Constitutional Court in support of same-sex marriage remains my proudest achievement in terms of social impact, contributing to the social movement that ultimately led to the repeal of a discriminatory (and unconstitutional) law.

A couple of recent research highlights: my essays “On the Legal Syllogism” (2019) and “What is it to Apply the Law?” (2021), which develop an innovative account of a basic aspect of law everywhere: law-application and the justification of judicial decisions.

The first ( argues against the universally held (but wrong) view that the law-applying decisions can be understood on the model of a deductive argument featuring statements of legal rules as premises. I show why that view fails, and introduce a new model of law-application.

The second ( develops this new model in detail. It distinguishes between two kinds of law-application, provides rigorous analyses of both, and motivates the need for an account that relies on second-order applicability statements (as opposed to first-order statements of rules).

In a very recent essay (, I put that model to further use, giving an original account of a type of argument used by courts everywhere but often dismissed by legal theorists as fallacious.

In a 2023 essay (, by contrast, I argue that a type of argument courts sometimes rely on—a putative “induction” of legal principles—cannot be made to work.

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