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Dr Stefan Theil's picture

Email

st608@cam.ac.uk

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PhD (Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge) LL.M. (University College London) Diplom-Jurist (University of Bayreuth)
John Thornley Fellow and College Teaching Officer in Law (Sidney Sussex College)

CV / Biography

Stefan is the John Thornley Fellow in Law at Sidney Sussex College. He completed his first degree in law at the University of Bayreuth (2011) in Germany. After brief stints working for a commercial law firm in Munich and for the Research Services of the German Bundestag in Berlin, Stefan earned an LL.M. from University College London (2013). Inspired to pursue a career in academia, he completed his doctoral work at the University of Cambridge (2018) and was the inaugural Research Fellow in Civil and Political Rights at Bonavero Institute, University of Oxford (2017-2021). You can follow Stefan on twitter and discover his papers on ResearchGate.

Research

Stefan’s research interests are broadly in human rights, public and constitutional law. In his recent book Towards the Environmental Minimum (Cambridge University Press, 2021) he argues for the recognition of a comprehensive framework that addresses the relationship between human rights and environmental harm. The argument is based on a unique and comprehensive dataset of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, along with other regional human rights courts that is freely available for research and teaching purposes here. Stefan has consulted on legal challenges against breaches of air quality and emission targets in Europe, and the legal relevance of environmental harms to humans more generally, notably in the United Kingdom under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The core research question of his work on free expression is how the law should respond to the prevalence and abuse of private power, especially by structurally dominant actors. This may require the law to revisit some of the principles and assumptions underlying conventional offline approaches to freedom of expression: chiefly with respect to the scope for legitimate suppression of hate speech as well as the limits that free expression imposes on the contractual autonomy of social media platforms with their users. Stefan has given interviews to media outlets on questions of free expression and social media, including the BBC World Service and contributed to the on-going internal policy debates of social media platforms, notably on Facebook's Oversight Board Charter.

Beyond human rights, Stefan is generally interested in public and constitutional law, particularly as it operates in the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union. He spearheaded research in Oxford on the Prorogation of Parliament and appeared on BBC News television and various radio outlets outlets to offer legal commentary on the proceedings before the UK Supreme Court. He writes and blogs frequently on legal developments, often drawing comparisons between legal systems and reflecting on deepening European integration.

Teaching

Stefan supervises in constitutional law and human rights, subjects that have evolved considerably over the last few years, especially due to the constitutional shifts due to Brexit. In Oxford, Stefan taught on the undergraduate Human Rights Law course and the BCL course Constiutional Principles of the EU.

 

 

Publications

 

Books

Towards the Environmental Minimum - Environmental Protection through Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
ISBN:
1108835147
ISBN 13:
978-1108835145
Published Sep 2021

Articles

"Unconstitutional Prorogation of Parliament" [2020] Public Law 529

Citation:
[2020] Public Law 529
Published: Jul 2020

"Excavating Landmarks—Empirical Contributions to Doctrinal Analysis" (2019) 32 Journal of Environmental Law 221

Citation:
(2019) 32 Journal of Environmental Law 221
DOI:
10.1093/jel/eqz033
Published: Jul 2020

"The Problem with the Normative Content of Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa" (2019) 37 Nordic Journal of Human Rights 105

Citation:
(2019) 37 Nordic Journal of Human Rights 105
DOI:
10.1080/18918131.2019.1643669
Published: Nov 2019

"The Online Harms White Paper: Comparing the UK and German Approaches to Regulation" (2019) 11 Journal of Media Law 41

Citation:
(2019) 11 Journal of Media Law 41
DOI:
10.1080/17577632.2019.1666476
Published: Jul 2019

"Is the ‘living instrument’ approach of the European Court of Human Rights compatible with the ECHR and International Law?" 23 European Public Law 2017 (forthcoming)

Citation:
23 European Public Law 2017 (forthcoming)
Published: Sep 2017

"What red lines, if any, do the Lisbon Judgments of European Constitutional Courts draw for future EU integration?" (2014) 15 German Law Journal 599

Citation:
(2014) 15 German Law Journal 599
Published: Jul 2014

"Der Umfang des Umweltschutzes in der Rechtsprechung des Europäischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte" (2014) 36 Natur und Recht 330

Citation:
(2014) 36 Natur und Recht 330
DOI:
10.1007/s10357-014-2640-5
Published: Mar 2014

Book Chapters

"Germany" in Liora Lazarus, Christos Kypraios, Danilo B. Garrido Alves (ed(s)), Preliminary Human Rights Assessment of Legislative and Regulatory Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic across 27 Jurisdictions (Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford, 2020), pp. 177-189

Publisher:
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford
Pages:
177-189
Published Oct 2020

"The Rationale of Constitutions from a Cultural Science Viewpoint" in Markus Kotzur (ed(s)), Peter Häberle on Constitutional Theory - Constitution as Culture and the Open Society of Constitutional Interpreters (Hart / Nomos, 2018), pp. 229 - 256

Publisher:
Hart / Nomos
Pages:
229 - 256
Published Mar 2018

"The Open Society of Constitutional Interpreters - A Contribution to a Pluralistic and "Procedural" Constiutional Interpretation" in Markus Kotzur (ed(s)), Peter Häberle on Constitutional Theory - Constitution as Culture and the Open Society of Constitutional Interpreters (Hart / Nomos, 2018), pp. 129 - 166

Publisher:
Hart / Nomos
Pages:
129 - 166
Published Mar 2018

Book Reviews

Loremza Violini and Antonia Baraggia (eds.) The Fragmented Landscape of Fundamental Rights Protection in Europe – The Role of Judicial and Non-Judicial Actors (Edward Elgar, 2018) (2020) 83 Modern Law Review 686

DOI:
10.1111/1468-2230.12500
Published Dec 2019

Nadine Strossen, Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship (Oxford University Press 2018) (2019) 69 University of Toronto Law Journal 404

DOI:
10.3138/utlj.2019-0004
Published Jun 2019

Case Notes

Germany - Federal Constitutional Court on the Horizontal Effect of Equality Rights Between Private Parties [2020] Public Law 181

Germany - Federal Constitutional Court Qualifies the Distinction between Fundamental Rights Obligations of the State and Private Actors [2019] Public Law 790

Blog Posts

Reports

Response to the Public Consultation on the Online Harms White Paper

Co-Author/s:
Oliver Butler, Kate Jones, Harriet Moynihan, Catherine O’Regan, Jacob Rowbottom
Reference Number:
3/2019
Body / Institution:
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford
Published: Jul 2019

Comments on Facebook’s Draft Charter for an Independent Review Board

Co-Author/s:
Kate O’Regan
Reference Number:
2/2019
Body / Institution:
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford
Published: May 2019