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Mr Stefan Theil's picture


Education CV

PhD (Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge) (pending graduation)
LL.M. (University College London)
Diplom-Jurist (University of Bayreuth)

Stefan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Faculty of Law University of Oxford. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge on the subject of human rights and the environment, and holds degrees in law from University College London and the University of Bayreuth. Stefan's primary research interest broadly focuses on the reciprocal rights and obligations of the individual and the state. He publishes frequently on issues of human rights, constitutional theory, and constitutional law, drawing comparisons between legal systems and the influences of deepening European integration.

He currently researches human rights-based litigation over persistent breaches of air pollution thresholds in major European cities and the effects of digitilisation on human rights and constitutional theory.    


Fields of research

Human Rights Law; Constitutional Theory; Public Law; International Law; International Environmental Law; European Union Law; German Constitutional Law


Towards the Environmental Minimum - An argument for environmental protection through human rights


Human Rights and the environment are inseparably linked: States that allow industries and private individuals to contaminate the air with impunity do no less violence to human rights than States that institutionalize degrading treatment of political prisoners. Nonetheless, conventional wisdom in legal scholarship treats human rights and environmental law as largely distinct fields: air pollution is identified as an issue of public health on par with major diseases in the scientific community, and yet not conceptualized as a violation of the dignity, freedom and equality of individuals under established rights protection frameworks.

My research focuses on this disconnect and seeks to fill the gap by developing the ‘environmental minimum’ which States must uphold if they are to live up to their human rights commitments. I argue that potentially every human right has an environmental dimension which can be formulated with sufficient clarity and enforced through rights based litigation.


Dr Stephanie Palmer & Dr Markus Gehring

Representative Publications


Working Papers

  • Introducing the Environmental Minimum (November 7, 2016) University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 53/2016. Available at SSRN:


    Book chapters

    • Peter Häberle, Präambeln im Text und Kontext von Verfassungen; English title: Preambles in the text and context of constitutions (forthcoming)
    • Peter Häberle, Die offene Gesellschaft der Verfassungsinterpreten, chapter from the Book: Peter Häberle, Der Kooperative Verfassungsstaat – aus Kultur und als Kultur, 2013; English title: The open society of constitutional interpreters (forthcoming)
    • Peter Häberle, Der Sinn von Verfassungen in kulturwissenschaftlicher Sicht, 131 Archiv des öffentlichen Rechts (2006), 621; English title: The rationale of Constitutions from a cultural science viewpoint (forthcoming)

    Start Date

    Oct 2014

    End date

    Dec 2017