Dr Julian A Sempill

  • Mr Julian Sempill

    Senior Lecturer

+61 3 9035 5368 | jsempill@unimelb.edu.au | Room 0757


Julian Sempill is a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Law School. DPhil (University of Oxford), LLB (Hons), BA (University of Melbourne). Solicitor (Supreme Court of England & Wales). Barrister & Solicitor (Supreme Court of Victoria).

His research focuses on moral, political, and legal philosophy, and, in particular, on the relationship between law, social power, rights, and dignity.

In Ruler’s Sword, Citizen’s Shield: The Rule of Law & the Constitution of Power 31 JOURNAL OF LAW & POLITICS 333 (2016) (University of Virginia), he offers a fresh perspective on the long-standing rivalry between so-called “substantive” and “formal” conceptions of the Rule of Law. Sempill argues that the Rule of Law debate seems to have reached a stalemate or, at least, to be offering diminishing returns. He proposes a possible way out of the impasse, suggesting that the most promising route is via a better understanding of the historical, moral, and political significance of the major Rule of Law visions and the rivalry between them. He outlines a method conducive to understanding such matters, and he puts that method in the service of the ends just described. It is hoped that the results will re-orientate battle-hardened supporters of the rival conceptions and re-energize the weary.

He is currently working on a book entitled Power & the Law: A Political Person’s Guide.

In June 2016, he presented a new paper on law and dignity as part of the Julius Stone Institute’s Seminar Series at the University of Sydney. He also participated in a roundtable with Professor Martin Krygier and Dr Nick Cheesman at the University of New South Wales School of Law.

In July 2016, he will present for the second time at the Atelier de Theorie Critique, Paris (Villanova University, Department of Philosophy/Universite Paris Descartes/Institut Mines-Telecom). In 2014, he was invited by the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, to give two presentations as part of Thomas Hirschhorn's exhibition, Flamme Eternelle.

Julian Sempill has taught at Melbourne Law School since 2009. His teaching reflects his research interests as well as his experience as a legal practitioner in Tokyo and Paris. He has taught Corporations Law, Trusts, Legal Ethics, Legal Method & Reasoning, Legal Theory, and The Rule of Law in Theory & Practice.


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