Shiv
Swaminathan

Professor and Dean of the Shiv Nadar
School of Law 

Areas of Interest

Legal Theory | Contract Law | Moral Philosophy

Professor Shivprasad Swaminathan got his undergraduate law degree from Indian Law Society, Pune before going on to read for B.C.L (with Distinction) at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, and D. Phil in Law (Jurisprudence), at Balliol College, Oxford University, where he was a Clarendon Scholar. He works primarily in legal philosophy; and teaches Jurisprudence and Contract law for which he has won several teaching excellence awards. His doctoral dissertation at Oxford, Making Law Matter: Projectivism and Hart’s Normativity, was supervised by Professor John Gardner and Professor Julie Dickson. 

Professor Swaminathan received the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, and has been a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt; National University of Singapore; Max Planck Institute of Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg; and École Normale Supérieure, Paris. He was previously Professor, Director of the Centre for Legal Theory and Associate Dean (Research) at Jindal Global Law School. He has been a Tutor for Jurisprudence at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, and has previously practised at the bar in the Bombay High Court, where he read in the chambers of Navroz Seervai, Senior Advocate.

Professor Swaminathan’s work has been published in leading publications including Cambridge Law Journal,  Modern Law Review, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies,  Legal Theory,  Jurisprudence,  Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law and Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia (Oxford University Press).
He is presently co-editing a volume titled, Foundations of Indian Contract Law (Oxford University Press: 2024) and authoring a book titled Central Concepts of Indian Contract Law: A Genealogy (under contract with Routledge). He is a member of the editorial board at IndiaCorpLaw Blog.

Publications

‘Metaethics and Limits of Normative Contract Theory’ (2023) 36 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 525-551.

‘Persistence of the Codeless Myriad: The Indian Contract Act, 1872 and a Puzzle of Common Law Codification’ (2023) 43 Statute Law Review 1-16.

‘Moore’s Paradox and Normative Detachment’ (2022) 28 Journal of Human Values 1-12.

‘Frustration: Navigating the Bramble Bush’ (2022) 43 Liverpool Law Review 501-515

‘Analogy Reversed’ (2021) 80 Cambridge Law Journal 366 

‘Minors’ Contracts: A Major Problem with the Indian Contract Act, 1872’ (2021) 42 Statute Law Review  101 (with Ragini Surana)

Book Review: ‘Legal Validity: The Fabric of Justice and A Short History of Legal Validity and Invalidity: Foundations of Private and Public Law’ (2021) 80 Cambridge Law Journal 203.

‘What the Centipede Knows: Polycentricity and Theory for Common Lawyers’ (2020) 40 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 265.

‘Contractual Unfairness: Another Way of Skinning the Cat’ (2019) 3 Indian Law Review 299.

‘Dicey and the Brickmaker: An Unresolved Tension between the Rational and the Reasonable in Common Law Pedagogy’ (2019) 40 Liverpool Law Review 203-226 (Special Issue)  

Mos Geometricus and the Common Law Mind: Interrogating Contract Theory’ (2019) 82 Modern Law Review 46-70.  

‘Nothing ‘Mere’ to It: Reclaiming Subjective Accounts of Normativity of Law’ (2019) 25 Journal of Human Values 1-14 (Special Issue: Norms Values and Human Conditions).

Book Review: ‘Law in Theory and History: New Essays on a Neglected Dialogue’ (2019) 32 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 249-254.

‘De-Inventing the Wheel: Liquidated Damages, Penalties and the Indian Contract Act,1872’ (2018) 6 Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 103-117.

‘The Will Theorist’s Mail Box: Misunderstanding the Moment of Contract Creation in the Indian Contract Act’ (2018) 39 Statute Law Review 14-26.

‘A Tale of Two Harts: The Paradox in Essays on Bentham’ (2017) 23 Legal Theory 27-54.

‘Eclipsed by Orthodoxy: The Vanishing Point of Consideration and the Forgotten Ingenuity of the Indian Contract Act’ (2017) 12 Asian Journal of Comparative Law141-165.

‘The Great Indian Privity Trick: Hundred Years of Misunderstanding Nineteenth Century English Law’ (2016) 16 Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal160-182.

‘The Long Slumber of Dicey’s Indian Monarch’ (2016) 42 Commonwealth Law Bulletin 212-235.

‘A Centennial Refurbishment of Dunlop’s Contractual Concepts’ (2016) 45 Common Law World Review 248-256.

‘Projectivism and the Metaethical Foundations of the Normativity of Law’ (2016) 7 Jurisprudence 231-266.

‘In Search of a Mythical Exception to Privity in Indian Law’ (2016) 43 Journal of Malaysian and Comparative Law 53-68.

‘Expressivist Turn, Relativist Returns: Toh’s Hartian Project’, (2014) 29 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 87-116.

‘Police Powers and the Constitution of India: The Inconspicuous Ascent of an Incongruent American Implant’ (2014) 28 Emory International Law Review 63-121 (with Arvind Datar SC).

‘Schrödinger’s Constitutional Cat: The Effect of the High Court’s Declaration of Unconstitutionality’ (2013) 25 National Law School of India Review 100-118.

‘The Conflict between Freedom of the Press and Parliamentary Privileges: An Unfamiliar Twist in a familiar Tale’ (2010) 22 National Law School of India Review 123-133.

‘The Rise and Fall of Hercules: A Hard Look at Dworkin’s Theory of Adjudication’ (2007) Supreme Court Cases Journal 15- 32 (Eastern Book Company).

‘Common Law’ in Mathias Siems and Po Jen Yap (eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press: forthcoming)

‘Coercion, Undue Influence and Unconscionability in Indian Law’ in Mindy Chen-Wishart, Stefan Vogenauer and Hiroo Sono (eds.) Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia IV : Validity (Oxford University Press 2022).

‘Common Lawyer as Practical Philosopher’ in Arvind Datar SC ed. Essays and Reminiscences: A Festschrift in Honour of Nani Palkhivala (Lexis Nexis 2020).

‘Lalman v Gauri Dutt: Legend and Reality’ in Umakanth Varottil, V. Niranjan and Mihir Naniwadekar (eds.) Corporate and Commercial Law in India: The Reform Decade (Eastern Book Company: forthcoming).

‘A Novel Exception to Privity of Contract’ in Umakanth Varottil, V Niranjan and Mihir Naniwadekar (eds.) Corporate and Commercial Law in India: The Reform Decade (Eastern Book Company: forthcoming).

‘The Philosophical Foundations of the Basic Structure Doctrine: Entrenchment or Defeasibility?’ in Sanjay Jain and Sathya Narayan (eds.) Basic Structure Constitutionalism (Eastern Book Company 2011) 257-272.

As invited speaker, gave seminar on ‘Who Moved my Code: Limits of Common Law Codification’ at Common Law Seminar at Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt, December 2023.

As invited speaker, gave seminar in the Brown Bag Seminar at University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, November, 2023.

As invited speaker, gave seminar on ‘Common Law’s Normativity: Challenges for Theory and Pedagogy’ at École Normale Supérieure, Paris, December 2022.

As invited speaker, gave seminar on ‘Analogical Reasoning’ at University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, June, 2022.

Presented Paper, ‘Polycentricity and Analogical Reasoning’ at UK-IVR, University of Sussex, June, 2022 (online)

Invited speaker, panel on ‘A Constellation: The Inclusive Epistemology of Global Legal Studies’ at Global Law Schools Summit, Jindal Global University, December, 2021 (online).

As invited speaker, presented paper, ‘Analogy Reversed’ at European University Institute, Florence, June 2021 (online).

Co-organized conference, ‘150 years of Indian Contract Act’ at Jindal Global University (funded by Melbourne Law School and NUS Law) with papers from over twenty leading scholars and practitioners (co-organizers: Umakanth Varottil, Niranjan Venkatesan and K.V. Krishnaprasad) in August and September 2020 (online).

Presented paper, ‘Coercion and Undue Influence in Indian Contract Law’ at Conference ‘150 years of Indian Contract Act’ at Jindal Global University in August, 2020 (online).

Invited as key speaker at ‘Remembering S.P. Sathe, 14th International Conference on Contemporary Trends in Comparative Public Law’ I.L.S Law College in March 2020.

As invited speaker, presented paper ‘Recalibrating Normativity’ at ‘Normativity of Law: Metaethical and Metaphysical Foundations’, Queen Mary University of London in May, 2019.

Presented paper, ‘Who Moved my Code: Decoding a Jurisprudential Puzzle of Common Law Codification and the Indian Contract Act, 1872’ at Asian Law Institute (ASLI) Visiting Fellows’ Seminar Series at National University of Singapore in April, 2019.

As invited speaker, presented ‘What the Centipede Knows: Private Law Theory for Common Lawyers’ at seminar at Càtedra de Cultura Jurídica, University of Girona in December, 2018.

Presented paper, ‘What the Centipede Knows: Private Law Theory for Common Lawyers’ at ‘Private Law and Vulnerability’, Centre for Study of European Contract Law at University of Amsterdam in July 2018.

As invited speaker, presented paper, ‘What the Centipede Knows: Theory for Common Lawyers’ at seminar in Metaguiridica, Tarello Institute for Legal Philosophy, Genoa in June, 2018.

Spoke as Expert Panelist at ‘Remembering S.P. Sathe: 12th National Workshop on Curriculum and Learning Outcomes’ at I.L.S Law College, Pune in May 2018.

Invited to present book chapter, ‘Coercion and Undue Influence’ at Conference on Contract Laws of Asia: Volume IV, National University of Singapore in March, 2018.

Invited to present paper, ‘Mos Geometricus and the Common Law Mind: Interrogating Contract Theory’ at Stanford-Pennsylvania International Junior Faculty Forum, Stanford University in October, 2017.

Presented paper, ‘Mos Geometricus and the Common Law Mind: Interrogating Contract Theory’ at ‘Contract Law and the Moral Limits of Markets’, Centre for Study of European Contract Law at University of Amsterdam in July 2017.

Presented paper ‘Mos Geometricus and the Common Law Mind’ at the Legal Argumentation ‘LegArg’ conference at European Law Faculty, Ljubljana in November, 2016.

Presented paper ‘Metaethics and the Limits of Normative Contract Theory’ at ‘Contract Law in a Liberal Society’, Centre for Study of European Contract Law at University of Amsterdam in July 2016.

Presented paper, ‘A Subjective Source of Normativity of Law: Prolegomena to an Apology’ at Braga Meetings in Ethics and Political Philosophy VII at University of Minho, Braga in June, 2016.

Organized legal philosophy conference, ‘Analytic Just War Theory’ at India Habitat Centre, Delhi in February, 2015.

Gave seminar on ‘A Tale of Two Harts: The Paradox in Essays on Bentham’ at Tarello Institute for Legal Philosophy, Genoa in December, 2014.

Organized legal philosophy conference, ‘Philosophy in the Public Sphere’ at Jindal Global University in November, 2014 (Keynote speaker: Prof. Brian Leiter).

Presented paper, ‘A Tale of Two Harts: The Paradox in Essays on Bentham’ at Oxford Jurisprudence Discussion Group at University of Oxford in June, 2014.

As invited speaker, presented paper, ‘Long Slumber of Dicey’s Indian Monarch’ at seminar on the ‘Basic Structure Theory’ at Jindal Global Law School in March, 2014.

Presented paper, ‘Projectivism and the Metaethical Foundations of Normativity of Law’ at conference of OZSW (Dutch Research School of Philosophy) at Erasmus University, Rotterdam in November, 2013.

As invited speaker, presented paper, ‘The Last Realist of High Street: Hart and Scandinavian Legal Realism’ at High Seminar in Law and Philosophy at University of Lund in November, 2013.

Presented paper, ‘Expressivist Turn, Relativist Return: Toh’s Hartian Reconstruction’ at Australian Society for Legal Philosophy conference at University of Sydney in August, 2013.

As invited speaker, gave talk on ‘Theory Creation: Top-Down and Bottom-Up’ at Jindal National Student Research Colloquium in April, 2013.

Invited to give a talk on ‘Normativity of Law’ at Azim Premji University, Bangalore in December, 2011.

 Taught short seminar courses in constitutional theory and private law theory at ILS Law College, University of Pune between 2006 and 2008.

Gave lectures in Jurisprudence to students at Government Law College, Mumbai in academic year 2006-2007.

Awards & Recognitions

Awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (2023)

Awarded Scholarship for International Researchers by Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg (July-September 2023) (not taken up).

Awarded ‘Short research visit’ grant by the French Institute in India, Embassy of France (December 2022).

‘Award for Research Excellence:’ Jindal Global University (2020-2021).

‘Award for Research Excellence:’ Jindal Global University (2019-2020).

‘Award for Research Excellence:’ Jindal Global University (2018-2019).

Awarded the Asian Law Institute Visiting Fellowship at National University of Singapore (March-April 2019).

Appointed as one of the inaugural (Associate) Professors of Research at Jindal Global
Law School (2018-2019).

Awarded Scholarship for International Researchers by Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg (September-November 2017).

Stanford-Pennsylvania International Junior Faculty Forum, Stanford University (2017)

‘Award for Research Excellence’: Jindal Global University (2017-2018).

‘Award for Research Excellence’: Jindal Global University (2016-2017).

‘Award for Research Excellence:’ Jindal Global University (2015-2016).

Awarded ‘Special Mention for Outstanding Performance in Teaching’ Jindal Global University (2014-2015).

Awarded ‘Special Mention for Outstanding Performance in Teaching’ Jindal Global University (2013-2014).

Awarded ‘Teaching Excellence Award’: Jindal Global University (2012-2013).

Clarendon Fund Scholarship, University of Oxford: University and College Fees for D.Phil. (2008-2011).

Balliol Eddie Dinshaw Scholarship, Balliol College: Full maintenance grant (2008-2011).

Sir Louis Stuart Fund Bursary, Balliol College: Maintenance grant (2011-12).