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Mr Visa A.J. Kurki's picture


Education CV


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge (Legal Philosophy), approved without corrections – 2017.

Master of Laws, University of Helsinki (specialization in Legal Theory) – 2012

  • Grade for Master’s thesis: “Eximia Cum Laude Approbatur”.
  • A part of the Master’s thesis, titled “Do We Need Animal Rights? The Possibility and Uses of Animal Legal Personhood”, was published as a peer-reviewed article in the academic journal Lakimies.

Bachelor of Laws, Åbo Akademi University – 2011

  • Grade for Bachelor’s thesis: 5/5.
  • The Bachelor’s thesis, titled “The Prohibition of Inflicting Unnecessary Suffering under Animal Welfare Law”, was published as a peer-reviewed article in the law journal Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland (JFT).

Matriculation Examination, Puolalanmäki Upper Secondary School – 2007 



  • Kone Foundation full scholarship for doctoral research
  • Award in 2014 by the Finnish Lawyers' Society: Best article written by a young author (2013 article)
  • Award in 2012 by the Swedish-Speaking Lawyers’ Association for one of the best published articles of the preceding year.



Adjunct Lecturer, University of Helsinki, 2016-2017

  • I planned and gave the lectures in the Introduction to Law and Legal Theory modules.

Adjunct Lecturer, University of Tampere, 2016

  • I planned and gave lectures in the Legal Theory module.

Small group supervisor, University of Cambridge spring 2014

  • I planned and held small-group sessions to help LL.M. students with the subject matter of the paper "Topics in Legal and Political Philosophy".

Lecturer, Åbo Akademi University autumn 2013

  • I gave the introductory lectures in private law.
  • I also graded the learning diaries that the 250 students had written, based on the lectures and readings

Trainee, Court of Justice of the European Union spring 2013 (three months)

  • As an assistant at the cabinet of Judge Allan Rosas, I did background research for the members of the cabinet on matters pertaining to EU and Finnish law.
  • I also drafted some EU-related articles for a Finnish legal encyclopedia.

Senior advisor, Finnish Immigration Service autumn 2012 (six months)   

  • I worked for the Citizenship Department, making decisions on applications for Finnish citizenship.

Editor, news service Lakiuutiset (”Legal News”) Sep 1, 2011 – Jun 30, 2012       

  • As the person responsible for the news service of the legal website Lakiuutiset, I followed events in the Finnish and the European legal world and wrote articles about them for an expert audience.



  • Finnish: mother tongue
  • English: excellent skills; IELTS average 8.5
  • Swedish: excellent skills (subsequent reading comprehension in Danish and Norwegian)
  • French: very good reading comprehension; good oral and writing skills
  • Russian: good skills
  • German: satisfactory reading comprehension

Fields of research

Jurisprudence; Legal Theory; Legal Philosophy; Animal Law


A Theory of Legal Personality


My dissertation offers a novel analysis of legal personality. I reject the orthodox view that equates legal personality with the holding of rights and duties and argue that legal personality should instead be understood as a cluster property, consisting of disseverable but interrelated incidents.


Professor Matthew Kramer

Representative Publications

“Hohfeldian Infinities: Why Not to Worry”, Res Publica, forthcoming.

“Why Things Can Hold Rights: Reconceptualizing the Legal Person” in Tomasz Pietrzykowski and Visa Kurki (eds.): Legal Personhood: Animals, Artificial Intelligence and the Unborn, Springer, forthcoming 2017.

Legal Personhood: Animals, Artificial Intelligence and the Unborn, Tomasz Pietrzykowski and Visa Kurki (eds.), Springer, 2017.

"Can Animals Be Legal Persons?" [in Finnish: Voiko eläin olla oikeussubjekti?]. Peer-reviewed article in Finnish journal Lakimies, 3/2013: 436–458.

"The Prohibition of Inflicting Unnecessary Suffering under Animal Welfare Law" [in Swedish: Förbudet mot åsamkande av onödigt lidande enligt djurskyddslagstiftningen]. Peer-reviewed article in Finnish journal Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland, 3/2011: 290–310.

Non-academic publication: Haluatko juristiksi? ("Do You Want to Be a Lawyer?", 2014), a book for aspiring law students, providing a general introduction to the legal science.


“On the History of the Person–Thing Divide”, Persons and Things Workshop, University of Turku, May 2016 (invited speaker).

“Two Senses of ‘Legal Person’: Why Animals Can Be Legal Persons but Rivers Cannot”, Edinburgh Legal Theory Seminar Series, March 2016.

”Legal Personality of Corporations: Lessons from Social Ontology”, Oxford Jurisprudence Discussion Group, January 2016.

“How Can Corporations Be Legal Persons?”, Moral and Political Philosophy Seminar, University of Helsinki, December 2015.

“Gaius, Leibniz, Austin: How Legal Personality Became Associated with Right-Holding”, Cambridge Legal History Seminar, October 2015.

“Why Things Can Hold Rights: Reconceptualizing the Legal Person”, Special Workshop on Personhood, World Conference of Legal and Political Philosophy (IVR), August 2015.

"Not Just Legal Fictions: Corporations and Group Agency", Cambridge Private Law Centre, Work in Progress Seminar, March 2015.

"How Can Corporations Be Legal Persons? Lessons from Social Ontology", Cambridge Political Philosophy Workshop, February 2015.

"A Proposed Framework for Legal Personhood", seminar paper, Cambridge Forum for Legal and Political Philosophy monthly seminar, December 2014.

"Not just Right-Holding: Reconceptualizing the Legal Person", conference paper, Yale Law School Doctoral Scholarship Conference, November 2014.

"Animal Rights", presentation at the summer seminar of the Finnish Organisation for Legal Policy (Oikeuspoliittinen yhdistys Demla ry.), August 2014.

"The Frontiers of Law: Animal Rights", presentation at a discussion event on animal research by Kone Foundation, April 2014.

"Rights for Animals: a Lawyer's Perspective", presentation at an animal rights seminar in Turku, Finland, February 2013.

Peer Reviewer

The Philosophical Quarterly, 2014.

Start Date

Jan 2014

End date

Mar 2017