Adolfo Giuliani is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt, Germany, Department of European and Comparative Legal History. He was previously Marie-Curie research fellow at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

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

Awards: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Council, 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.

Awards: Marie-Curie fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Council, British Council grant for the arts.


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

Some recent additions

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

A striking statement by President Putin, read through Alexander Alensis’ presumption theory (13th c.)

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

Rethinking Emilio Betti, the anti-Gadamer (book review, October 2022)

Legal historians as designers🌟
(working paper) – October 2021

Chapter for a multi-authored legal history manual [Western Legal Traditions, eds. R. Van Rhee, A. Masferrer and S. Donlan (Ius Commune Casebooks, Oxford, Hart)] – June 2021

After comparative legal history: From case-law to infolaw
made the SSRN’s Top Ten download list (30 Nov 2020)

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)

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., Knowing facts through presumptions. 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

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