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Staff Profile

Mr Joshua Jowitt, MA (Cantab), LLM, AFHEA

(email at


Josh came to Durham Law School in September 2013 to undertake PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Deryck Beyleveld and Prof. Shaun Pattinson. He graduated with a 2.i in Law from Homerton College, University of Cambridge in 2009 but, having successfully completed a Vacation Scheme at the London and Paris Offices of Clifford Chance LLP in the summer of 2008, knew that commercial practice wasn’t for him. After a period of time working in Widening Participation and Outreach as Schools Liaison Officer for Selwyn College, Cambridge, he returned to Law and took his LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights from the University of Warwick in 2012. His LLM dissertation explored the contradictions between the objective moral standard John Rawls lays down through the Original Position in his Theory of Justice and the more pluralist view he takes in the Law of Peoples, focussing on the extent to which legally entrenched respect for Human Rights could be seen as the bare minimum requirement to be considered a ‘Decent’ Society in Rawls’ latter work. He was awarded the Cambridge MA in March 2013, and is able to continue into his doctoral studies thanks to funding from the Durham Law School Studentship. In 2014 he became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In addition to his work in the Law School, Josh is also a member of the Senior Common Room at University College. He is currently the Junior Lowe Librarian, and served as Vice President of the Middle Common Room for the summer of 2014. He was awarded the William St. Calais Cup in October 2013 after winning the University College Inter-Common Room Croquet Tournament, chose not to defend the trophy in 2014 in the interests of fair play, but regained his title in 2015.

Current Research

Josh’s PhD research continues his earlier work on the relationship between popular conceptions of morality and their interplay with the law. He is interested in the increased appeal to morality beyond black letter law in contemporary legal and political discourse, and the extent to which this is superseding beliefs that law should be nominally separate to moral codes and subjective class biases.

His thesis begins with a discussion of the extent to which Alan Gewirth's Principle of Generic Consistency (PGC) can be seen as a supreme constitutional principle against which the normative validity of law can be judged, as suggested by Beyleveld and Brownsword in Law as a Moral Judgement. It will consider the extent to which this claim still stands when faced with recent developments within Jurisprudence, particularly the Incorporationist School within Legal Positivism and the rise of Virtue Jurisprudence, with emphasis on the application of the Dialectically Necessary nature of the rights which emerge from Gewirth's Reason and Morality

Teaching Areas

  • UK Constitutional Law
  • The Individual and the State

Research Interests

  • Ethics and Moral Theory
  • Human Rights
  • Jurisprudence
  • Legal and Political Theory
  • Public Law

Teaching Areas

  • The Individual and the State

    (20 hours/year.)
  • UK Constitutional Law

    (20 hours/year.)


Book review

  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015). Book Review: Kant's Politics in Context by Reidar Maliks. LSE Review of Books
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015). Book Review: The Nature and Limits of Human Equality by John Charvet. LSE Review of Books
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2014). Book Review: Confucius, Rawls, and the Sense of Justice by Erin M. Cline. Kaleidoscope 6.1: 119-121.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2014). Book Review: On the Universal: the uniform, the common and dialogue between cultures by François Jullien. LSE Review of Books

Conference Paper

  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015), Alan Gewirth's Principle of Generic Consistency as a Legal Rule of Recognition, Cambridge Doctoral Workshop in Legal Theory. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, University of Cambridge.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015), Human Rights in the Law - Applying the Principle of Generic Consistency to the Legal, Public/Private: Unlocking the Boundaries of Legal Thought, UK IVR Conference 2015. Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, Queen's University Belfast.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015), Is Human Rights Theory Gewirth the Effort?, Association of Human Rights Institutes Annual Conference. Belgrade Centre of Human Rights, Belgrade, Serbia, Belgrade Centre of Human Rights.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2014), Human Rights: Establishing the Ground-Rawls, Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, University of Melbourne.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2014), Rawls and Regulations: Using the Original Position to Identify Human Rights Norms, 'Rights and Freedoms: the United Kingdom, Europe and Beyond' - Durham Law School Annual Postgraduate Conference. St. Mary's College, University of Durham, United Kingdom, St. Mary's College, Durham University.


  • Jowitt, Joshua (2016), Monkey See, Monkey Sue? Gerwith’s Principle of Generic Consistency and Rights for Non-Human Agents, XIX: Trinity College, 71-96.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2016), Monkey See, Monkey Sue? Gerwith’s Principle of Generic Consistency and Rights for Non-Human Agents, Trinity College Law Student Colloquium. Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
  • Jowitt, Joshua (2015), Applying Gewirth to the Positivism of Hart and Kelsen, University College MCR Lecture Series. University College, University of Durham, United Kingdom.