Law and liberty in the liberal tradition – the legacy of Bruno Leoni


  • 08/03/2018
    18:30 - 20:30
Bruno Leoni died prematurely in 1967 at the age of 54. In 1961, the Italian law scholar and political scientist had published Freedom and the Law: a slim and yet profound book which compared legislation with central planning and was based upon a reappraisal of the common law and judge-made laws. An unabashed Anglophile, Leoni was to have an important impact on his friend Friedrich von Hayek: who stated that, after reading Freedom and the Law, he came to a better appreciation of the common law system as an instance of “spontaneous order.” In this event, jointly organized with Istituto Bruno Leoni (a Milan-based think tank) and the LibertyFund, we wish to explore the theme of the rule of law in classical liberalism, which is often—as Leoni suggested—the opposite of the “rule of legislators.”


Dr Steve Davies, Head of Education, IEA
Marie Newhouse, Lecturer in Law, Philosophy, and Public Policy, University of Surrey
Jeremy Shearmur, Emeritus Fellow, Australian National University’s school of philosophy.
Chair: Dr Alberto Mingardi, Director General, Istituto Bruno Leoni

Alberto Mingardi is the Director General of the Italian free-market think tank, Istituto Bruno Leoni. He is also assistant professor of the history of political thought at IULM University in Milan and an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute. He blogs at EconLog.

Dr Steve Davies is the Head of Education at the IEA. Previously he was program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University in Virginia. He joined IHS from the UK where he was Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Economic History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. A historian, he graduated from St Andrews University in Scotland in 1976 and gained his PhD from the same institution in 1984. He has authored several books, including Empiricism and History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and was co-editor with Nigel Ashford of The Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought (Routledge, 1991).

Marie Newhouse is a lecturer in law, philosophy, and public policy at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses on legal philosophy, especially Kantian accounts of legal obligation and the nature of criminal wrongdoing. She also does U.S. constitutional analysis related to executive power and the First Amendment. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Washington, a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. Dr. Newhouse has recently appeared on BBC News, BBC World News, and BBC Breakfast as a legal analyst in connection with the U.S. travel ban litigation.

Dr. Jeremy Shearmur is a Reader in Political Theory in the Faculty of Arts at The Australian National University. Professor Shearmur was educated at the London School of Economics (University of London), where he also worked for eight years as assistant to Professor Sir Karl Popper. Professor Shearmur’s Ph.D. thesis on F. A. Hayek was a joint winner of the British Political Studies Association’s Sir Ernest Barker prize in political theory. Prior to taking his position in Australia, Professor Shearmur taught philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and political theory at the University of Manchester. He also served as Director of Studies of the Center for Policy Studies and worked as a research associate professor for the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. Professor Shearmur has published The Political Thought of Karl Popper (1966) and Hayek and After (1996) and was joint editor of H. B. Acton’s The Morals of Markets and Related Essays (1993). He has also published numerous papers in philosophy and political thought.

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