Professor Sean Coyle LLB, PhD

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Jurisprudence

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Coyle writes and teaches on aspects of legal and political philosophy. In 2004 his work won one of the SLS Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship. His next book, From Positivism to Idealism, was shortlisted for the 2008 Inner Temple Book Prize. His third book, Dimensions of Politics and English Jurisprudence, was the subject of a conference at the University of Notre Dame, USA in 2013. In addition, he is the author of a student text, Modern Jurisprudence (3rd ed 2022). He is currently writing a book on natural law theory.

He has lectured and spoken at universities throughout the UK and elsewhere, including Emory University, LSE, UCL, and the Universities of Antwerp, Manchester, Miami and Minnesota.

At Birmingham, he is a member of the Jurisprudence research group, and is director of the Forum for the Study of Natural Law.


  • LLB (Hons), University of Dundee
  • PhD in Jurisprudence, University of Glasgow


Professor of Jurisprudence 2011-present; previously Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Exeter (2009-11), Reader in Jurisprudence, University College London (2005-09), Lecturer in Laws, University College London (2003-05), and Lecturer in Law, University of Durham 


  • Jurisprudence (LLB Y2)
  • Political and Legal Theory II (LLB Y3)
  • Advanced Political and Legal Theory (LLM)

Postgraduate supervision

All areas of legal and political philosophy.

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.



All areas of legal and political philosophy, centring especially on theories of natural law.

Current projects

Recent work has focused on the natural law theory and ethics of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius and Francisco Suarez. Present work includes a book entitled Natural Law and Modern Society.

Other activities

  • Editorial Board member (and former Editor) of Jurisprudence: An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought.
  • Editorial Board member, Law and Practical Reason (monograph series, Hart Publishing)
  • Editorial Board member, Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (Elgar)


Recent publications


Coyle, S 2023, Natural Law and Modern Society. 1st edn, Oxford University Press.

Coyle, S 2013, Dimensions of Politics and English Jurisprudence. Cambridge University Press.


Coyle, S 2023, 'Natural law theory, "new" and old', American Journal of Jurisprudence.

Coyle, S 2020, 'Can natural laws be derived from human sociability?', New Blackfriars, vol. 101, no. 1091, pp. 46-66.

Coyle, S 2017, 'Natural law and goodness in Thomistic ethics', Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 77-96.

Coyle, S 2017, 'Natural law in Aquinas and Suarez', Jurisprudence, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 319-341.

Coyle, S 2016, 'Natural law in Aquinas and Grotius: An Ethics for Our Times?', New Blackfriars, vol. 97, no. 1071, pp. 591-609.

Coyle, S 2013, 'Fallen Justice', New Blackfriars, vol. 93, no. 1048, pp. 687-709.

Coyle, S 2013, 'Legality and the Liberal Order', Modern Law Review, vol. 76, no. 2, pp. 401.

Coyle, S 2010, 'Legalism and modernity', Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, no. 35, pp. 55-84.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Coyle, S 2015, Property rights, environmental justice and worldly order: lessons from natural law. in A Grear & LJ Kotzé (eds), Research handbook on human rights and the environment. Elgar. <>

Coyle, S 2015, Radicalism and Conservatism in Environmental Law. in A Grear & E Grant (eds), Thought, Law, Rights and Action in the Age of Environmental Crisis. Edward Elgar, pp. 96-121. <>


Coyle, S 2013, The Ideality of Law. in T Brooks (ed.), Law and Legal Theory. Brill.

Coyle, S, Liang, B & Lu, H 2011, Western Jurisprudence and Study of Law. in Jurisprudence: Western Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Book/Film/Article review

Coyle, S 2010, 'Review of R Barnes, Property Rights and Natural Resources (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2009)', Environmental Law Review.

View all publications in research portal


Legal and political philosophy including jurisprudence