July 2024

I’m working on two book projects. One is a historical study of presumptions; the other is on 20th c legal theory (“how legal theory influenced legal history writing“).

I have recently become interested in legal conceptual design, namely, how to represent legal concepts visually. I’ve just published a substantial chapter on 1500-1650 legal history, which I intend to translate visually into knowledge graphs and diagrams.

To do this, I need first to understand how the mind creates concepts, which I’m doing in an article which I’m writing on legal maxims as mental models (“Knowing through legal maxims”). I also do some other minor things, but generally this is what I’m doing presently.

Passionate about making my field more accessible to a wider audience, I’m making use of Substack as an outlet.


Academically trained as a legal and intellectual historian at the University of Cambridge (PhD 2007 and MPhil 2001) and at the London School of Economics (MSc 2000), I have a background in law (Italian laurea cum laude, 1998) and also received a PhD in EU private law (Macerata 2014).

A former research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt aM, Germany (2020-22), the University of Helsinki, Finland (2017-19) and the University of Rome (2016-17), I’m currently serving the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research.

Awards: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), British Council Grant for the Arts.

Research focus

I have a combined interest in legal history and legal theory.

In legal history my research focuses on late-medieval and early-modern European continental law with particular reference to judicial reasoning, and have written on presumption, interpretation, judicial discretion, multinormativity and others. Such inquiries converge on a broad research on the cognitive dimension of presumption in the 16th century.

In legal theory I am particularly interested in the 20th century philosophy that made judge-made law relevant again, from the Freirechtsschule to the various versions of anti-formalism of the period 1930-60. Such inquiries converge on a broad research on the relationship between legal history and legal theory.

In my most recent research I seek to explain how legal history interacts with the broader context of legal science, showing how this discipline is dependent from changing theoretical frameworks. This research, partly published (see here), is the kernel of a new monograph (tentatively) entitled “Changing images of the legal past.”

Another stream of research (InfoLaw) examines how the information age is changing our ways of thinking about the legal past.


Influences: antiformalism, Alessandro Giuliani, Michel Villey, Peter Stein, Chaïm Perelman, John Gray, Emanuel Hurwitz.

Some recent additions

January 2024
GIuliani, A., Chapter “1500-1650”
in A Companion to Western Legal Traditions. From Antiquity to the Twentieth Century Western Legal Traditions, eds. R. Van Rhee, A. Masferrer and S. Donlan (Brill).

December 2023
Giuliani, A. What is innovation in legal history? Gino Gorla and the rise of comparative legal history

Giuliani, A. “Rethinking Emilio Betti, the anti-Gadamer” (November 2022)

Giuliani, A., “Metaphors of justice. A mathematical-musical image in Jean Bodin (1576)” (January 2023)

Putin, Biden and medieval presumptions
(media article, June 6, 2022)

What did Vladimir Putin really mean? A puzzling statement read through medieval presumption theory

Bees, normativity, and a methodological question (media article, May 20, 2022)

Legal historians as designers
(working paper) – October 2021

The Western Legal Tradition and Soviet Russia. The genesis of H. Berman’s Law and Revolution
[in V. Erkkilä and H.-P. Haferkamp (eds.), The Socialist Interpretations of Legal History (2021)

After comparative legal history: From case-law to infolaw
made the SSRN’s Top Ten download list (Nov 2020)

Jacobus Cujacius’ afterlife in the Age of Enlightenment
[G. Cazals and N. Hakim, eds., La Renaissance dans la pensée juridique contemporaine, Ed. Garnier) – April 2020

Currently working on …

Giuliani, A., The logic of artificial proofs (article).

Giuliani, A., Changing images of the legal past. A study on the history of legal history (book)

Giuliani, A., Presumption as a form of reasoning . A study of Jacopo Menochio’s De praesumptionibus (1587) (book)

Gujarat National Law University (India), August 2019

Teaching undergraduates, Gujarat National Law University (India), August 2019
School of Law, Macau University (China), May 2019

Conference papers

(future engagement) 24-25 October 2024, “Conceptual design in law. Knowing by maxims, mental models, and language patterns”, University of Macau (China), Juris Diversitas 9th general conference.
Our sense of pastness. How is the information age changing the way we think of the legal past? International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law, Rome, 25.05.2023

Rereading David Ibbetson’s Selden lecture twenty years later: Will his argument about ‘rationalisation of legal practice’ withstand the 21st century? Faculty of Law, Cambridge, 16 Sept 2022

After comparative legal history. From case-law to infolaw, European Society for Comparative Legal History, Lisbon, 24 June 2022

Is logic or rhetoric the true foundation for judicial reasoning? The Nouvelle Rhétorique movement and its impact on legal historiography, Ius Commune Conference, Maastricht University, 25-26 November 2021

Law as Information Colloquium. Writing legal history in the information age / Helsinki, 16 September 2019

Lecture tour / Gujarat National Law University (India), 8-10 August 2019

InfoLaw. Law as information / School of Law, Macau University (China), 21 May 2019

Law as information. Expanding on an unfinished side of P. Glenn’s idea of legal tradition /Juris diversitas conference, School of Law, NWU, South Africa, 15-17 April 2019

Wiener realism and its transformations: Vienna, America and post-War Europe /Coming home: the post-war return of refugee scholarship” conference, University of Helsinki, 10-12 April, 2019

Eastern Europe and the legal historian. Changing images of the Eastern legal tradition: Roman law, canon law, Pandektism and anti-Pandektism/“Socialist interpretations of legal history”. The Institut für neuere Privatrechtsgeschichte, University of Cologne, Cologne, 22-23 March 2019

Legal humanism and us. Bartoliens and Cujaciens in Jacques Berriat-Saint-Prix’ Histoire du droit romain, suivie de l’histoire de Cujas(1821) / Conference ‘La Renaissance dans la pensée juridique’, Bourdeaux, 7-8 March 2019

Hermann Kantorowicz as a philosopher of language / Conference on H. Kantorowicz, Centre of Excellence in Law, Helsinki, 26.10.18

Workshop to discuss Adolfo Giuliani’s paper ‘What is comparative legal history? Legal Historiography and the Revolt Against Formalism, 1930-60’ / Faculty of Law, Helsinki, 29.10.18

‘Codes without natural law: The case of J. Menochio’s treatise De praesumptionibus(1587) / ESCLH Conference, Paris, 28-30 June 2018

‘Ius commune europaeum and the crisis of legal science, 1930-60’/  European Narratives of Crisis Conference, University of Helsinki, 17-18 May 2018

‘What a legal historian can learn from the neo-Thomist revival of John Poinstot’s Tractatus de Signis(1632-4)’Neo-Thomism conference, Leuven, 8-10 October 2017