Professor Sylvie Delacroix

Professor Sylvie Delacroix

Birmingham Law School
Professor in Law and Ethics

Contact details

Address
Birmingham Law School
Room 401 Arts
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Sylvie Delacroix focuses on the intersection between law and ethics, with a particular interest in Machine Ethics, Agency and the role of habit within moral decisions (Habitual Ethics?, Bloomsbury, 2019). Her current research focuses on the design of computer systems meant for morally-loaded contexts. She is also considering the potential inherent in ‘bottom-up’ Data Trusts as a mechanism to address power imbalances between data-subjects and data-controllers.

Professor Delacroix’s work has notably been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the NHS and the Leverhulme Trust, from whom she received the Leverhulme Prize.

Professor Delacroix has recently been appointed to the Public Policy Commission on the use of algorithms in the justice system (Law Society of England and Wales). 

She is also a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Cambridge University, Trinity College
  • Licenses in Law, Université Catholique de Louvain La Neuve (Belgium)
  • Candidatures in Philosophy, Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis (Belgium)
  • Post-graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Kent

Biography

Sylvie Delacroix joined Birmingham Law School as a Professorial Research Fellow in January 2018, coming from UCL where she was a reader in Legal Theory and Ethics, with a fractional appointment in UCL Computer Science. Prior to that Sylvie was the Evelyn Green Davis Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University, 2004-05), a lecturer in Law in Kent University and a post-doctoral scholar in Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Sylvie Delacroix was the founding Director of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law, which was sponsonred by E&Y, HSBC, Shell, Nestle, BAE, AstraZeneca, Carillion, The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the Institute of Business Ethics. This initiative led her to piloting a series of inter-disciplinary think-tanks, each based on a cutting-edge public policy issue volunteered by the sponsors of the Centre, and subsequently analysed by both academics and corporates across disciplines. It is in that context that she launched the UCL Virtual Environments and the Professions Group in collaboration with colleagues in Engineering and Medical Sciences. This Group explored the use of VR technology both as a tool to gain a better understanding of the factors impacting upon professional judgment and as an ethical education tool.

In 2010 She was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in law, awarded to recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. This Prize allowed her to further her commitment to a two-way relationship between legal theory and public Affairs, which can be seen at play in her work on the Palestinian constitution-making endeavour, as well as her recent work on Professional responsibility on one hand and Machine Ethics on the other (see Research section).

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Delacroix is interested in hearing from exceptional candidates who have proposals for doctoral study in areas such as:

  • Machine ethics
  • Data governance
  • Professional responsibility
  • Habit and moral change

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

Research

Much of Sylvie Delacroix’s current work calls for renewed attention to be paid to habits and their relationship to normative agency. Mostly neglected in moral and legal theory (and rarely studied empirically), such an inquiry not only conditions an adequate understanding of the moral risks inherent in any institutional structure aimed at simplifying our practical reasoning (such as law). It is also essential if we are to come to grips with the public policy challenges raised by our growing reliance upon automated systems.

Publications

Professor Delacroix’s work in progress is available on SSRN.

Books

  • Habitual Ethics?, Oxford: Hart Publishing, forthcoming in 2019
  • Legal norms and normativity: an essay in genealogy, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2006 (Peter Birks second prize for outstanding legal scholarship 2008)

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • S. Delacroix, “Understanding normativity: the impact of culturally-loaded explanatory ambitions”, Revus, 35, forthcoming 2019
  • S. Delacroix, ‘Computers systems fit for the legal profession’, Legal Ethics, forthcoming 2019
  • X. Pan, C. Fertleman, P. Pleasance, D. Swapp, O. Drewett, T. Collingwoode-William, B. Congdon, S. Delacroix: “A study of professional awareness using immersive virtual reality: the responses of general practitioners to child safeguarding concerns”, Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, 2018
  • C. Fertleman, P. Aubugeau-Williams, C. Sher, A.N. Lim, S. Lumley, S. Delacroix, and X. Pan. "A Discussion of virtual reality As a New tool for training Healthcare Professionals." Frontiers in public health 6 (2018): 44.
  • S. Delacroix, “Law and Habits”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 37 (3), 1 September 2017, Pages 660–686 
  • X. Pan, M. Slater, A. Beacco, X. Navarro, D. Swapp, J. Hale, P. Forbes, C. Denvir, A. F. de C. Hamilton, S. Delacroix, “The Responses of Medical General Practitioners to Unreasonable Patient Demand for Antibiotics – A study of medical ethics using immersive virtual reality”, PLoS ONE, 11(2), 2016
  • S. Delacroix, “From constitutional words to statehood? The Palestinian case”, Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3(4), 2015
  • S. Delacroix, “Drafting a constitution for a `Country of words': the Palestinian case”, Middle East Law and Governance, 4 (2), 2012, 72-91
  • S. Delacroix, “Meta-ethical agnosticism in legal theory: mapping a way out”, Jurisprudence, 1 (2), 2010, 225-240
  • S. Delacroix, “You'd better be committed: legal norms and normativity”, American Journal of Jurisprudence, 54 (1), 2009, 117-132
  • S. Delacroix, “Schmitt's critique of Kelsenian normativism”, Ratio Iuris, 18(1), 2005, 30-45
  • S. Delacroix, “Hart's and Kelsen's contrasted understandings of normativity”, Ratio Iuris, 17(4), 2004, 501-520
  • S. Delacroix, “Montaigne's inquiry into the sources of normativity”, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 16(2), 2003, 271-286
  • S. Delacroix, “Du silence au bruit: possibilités de discours sur les origines fondatrices du système juridique”, Revue interdisciplinaire d'études juridiques, 47, 2001, 153-177

Chapters in books

  • S.Delacroix and C. Denvir, "Virtually Teaching Ethics? Experiencing the discrepancy between abstract ethical stands and actual behaviour using Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR)”, in C. Denvir (ed.), Modernising Legal Education, CUP, forthcoming 2019
  • S. Delacroix and M. Veale, “Smart Technologies and Our Sense of Self: The  Limitations of Counter-Profiling”, in Hildebrandt and O’Hara (eds), Life and the Law in the Era of Data-Driven Agency, Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2019
  • S. Delacroix, 'From agency-enhancement intentions to profile-based optimisation tools: what is lost in translation’ in M. Hildebrandt (ed.), Being Profiling. Cogitas Ergo Sum, Amsterdam University Press, 2019
  • "Making law bind: legal normativity as a dynamic concept", in M. Del Mar (ed.), New waves in philosophy of law, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 147-160
  • "Tracing a genealogy of legal normativity: responsibility, authorship and contingency", in S. Bertea and G. Pavlakos (eds), The Normativity of Law, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011
  • “Six paths to vertigo-free legal theory”, in R. Harrisson (ed.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2007
  • “The rule of law”, in Iain MacKenzie (ed.), Political concepts: a reader and a guide, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005, 314-322              

 

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

  • The intersection between law and ethics
  • Machine ethics and agency
  • AI ethics and regulation 
  • Personalised profiling and its impact on ethical agency and civic responsibility
  • Ambient computing and its impact on ethical agency and civic responsibility