Dr Marie Newhouse

Lecturer in Law, Philosophy, and Public Policy
32 AB 05
Wednesdays 1pm - 3pm or by appointment

Academic and research departments

School of Law.



Marie Newhouse is a lecturer in law, philosophy, and public policy at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses on legal philosophy, especially Kantian accounts of legal obligation and the nature of criminal wrongdoing. She also does U.S. constitutional analysis related to executive power and the First Amendment. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Washington, a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. Dr. Newhouse has recently appeared on BBC News, BBC World News, and BBC Breakfast as a legal analyst in connection with the U.S. travel ban litigation.

Research interests

Kantian legal philosophy, legal obligation, theories of criminalization


Criminal Law

Departmental duties

Director, Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy


UK Kant Society, North American Kant Society

Selected Media Appearances

BBC Breakfast, 8 February 2017 (discussing the 9th Circuit oral argument in the US litigation: Washington v Trump) Watch

BBC News, 10 February 2017 (discussing the 9th Circuit opinion in the US litigation: Washington v Trump)

BBC World News, 10 February 2017 (discussing the 9th Circuit opinion in the US litigation: Washington v Trump)


Media Contacts

Contact the press team



Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7773 479911
Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

My publications


M. E. Newhouse, 'Two Types of Legal Wrongdoing' (2016) 22(1) Legal Theory 59 (linkSSRN)

M. E. Newhouse, ‘Juridical Law as a Categorical Imperative’, in Ruhi Demiray & Alice Pinheiro Walla (eds), Reason, Rights and Law: New Essays on Kantian Philosophy, (University of Wales Press 2018). (forthcoming)

M. E. Newhouse, 'In Defense of Liberal Equality', 9(1-2) Public Reason (2017): 97-108. (forthcoming)

M. E. Newhouse, ‘Institutional Corruption: A Fiduciary Theory’, 23(3) Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy (2014): 553-594. (link)


Newhouse M (2016) Two Types of Legal Wrongdoing, Legal Theory 22 (1) pp. 59-75 Cambridge University Press
There are two distinct types of legal wrongdoing: civil and criminal. This article demonstrates in three ways that Immanuel Kant?s Universal Principle of Right, properly interpreted, offers a plausible and resilient account of this important distinction. First, Kant?s principle correctly identifies attempted crimes as crimes themselves even when they do not violate the rights of any individual. Second, it justifies our treatment of reckless endangerment as a crime by distinguishing it from ordinary negligence, which traditionally is only civilly wrong. Third, it justifies differences between the way in which we determine criminal punishments and the way in which we measure civil remedies. Moreover, the Universal Principle of Right yields a Kantian standard for criminal wrongdoing that is compelling enough to inform future philosophical inquiries into the nature and limits of the state?s criminal lawmaking authority.
Newhouse ME (2013) Kant's Typo, and the Limits of the Law,
This dissertation develops a Kantian philosophical framework for understanding our individual obligations under public law. Because we have a right to do anything that is not wrong, the best interpretation of Immanuel Kant's Universal Principle of Right tracks the two ways--material and formal--in which actions can be wrong. This interpretation yields surprising insights, most notably a novel formulation of Kant's standard for formal wrongdoing. Because the wrong-making property of a formally wrong action does not depend on whether or not the action in question has been prohibited by statute, Kant's legal philosophy is consistent with a natural law theory of public crime. Moreover, because the law can obligate us only by establishing a universal external incentive to obey its commands, statutes that impose only fines on nominal violators do not constrain our lawful options. Instead, if they are otherwise just, such statutes must be regarded as rightful permissive laws, according to which we may incur liabilities through our voluntary choices.
Newhouse ME (2014) Institutional Corruption: A Fiduciary Theory, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 23 (3) pp. 553-594 Cornell University
Dennis F. Thompson developed a theory of ?institutional corruption? in order to explain a phenomenon that he believed the Congressional ethics rules failed to address: Congress? systematic deviation from its proper purpose as a consequence ? not merely of individual wrongdoing ? but of the influence of several general systemic features of the legislative process. Researchers at Harvard University?s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics have recently deployed the language of institutional corruption broadly in analyses of various other public and private institutions, such as regulatory agencies, banks, pharmaceutical companies, and think tanks. The states of affairs that researchers have identified as ?institutional corruption? fall into four categories: 1) breaches of fiduciary duty, 2) fraud or otherwise unfair commercial practices, 3) destructive firm behavior, and 4) mistake, inefficiency, or incompetence. This Article reveals that only the first of these represents a true application of Dennis F. Thompson?s theory of institutional corruption, which was originally developed in the context of Congressional ethics. Research projects that deploy the terminology of institutional corruption in non-fiduciary contexts are certainly valuable, but they do not address the subject matter of institutional corruption, properly understood.
Gryphon M (2011) The Better Part of Lenity, The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy 7 (4) pp. 717-724
Gryphon M (2011) Assessing the Effects of a "Loser Pays" Rule on the American Legal System: An Economic Analysis and Proposal for Reform, Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy 8 (3) pp. 567-613 Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy
Newhouse M (2018) In Defense of Liberal Equality, Public Reason 9 (1-2) pp. 98-107 The Center for the Study of Rationality and Beliefs
In A Theory of Justice, Rawls concludes that individuals in the original position
would choose to adopt a system of democratic equality governed by his two principles of
justice. However, Rawls mistakenly defines the possibility space within which individuals in
his original position must make their choice. An alternative account of the possibility space
created by Rawls?s original position reveals that a system of liberal equality, according to which
distributive shares would be determined by market processes, would be preferred by risk-averse
individuals. However, such individuals would guard against the erosion of the social bases of
self-respect by including a social safety net among the basic equal liberties secured by Rawls?s
first principle of justice.
Newhouse M (2018) Juridical Law as a Categorical Imperative, University of Wales Press

In Kant?s moral and political writings, laws of freedom are called moral laws. There are two types of moral law. As directed merely to external actions and their conformity to law they are juridical laws; but if they also require that they (the laws) themselves be the determining grounds of actions, they are ethical laws? (6:214).ii Kant also writes: ?For us, whose choice is sensibly affected and so does not of itself conform to the pure will but often opposes it, moral laws are imperatives (commands or prohibitions) and indeed categorical (unconditional) imperatives? (6:221). I understand Kant to mean that moral laws are, by definition, unconditional practical laws, which are therefore categorical imperatives for imperfectly rational beings like us.iii This raises a very broad question: how it can be the case that a juridical law is a categorical imperative? Most of this chapter will focus on a somewhat narrower question: how can a statute passed by a legislative body generate an unconditional rational requirement for us to obey?

The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate that juridical lawsiv enacted by legislators are categorical imperatives, and that the external incentives that the state links to its legal commands play a critical role in making them so. I will argue that statutory commands must be categorical imperatives if they are to establish juridical laws, and that statutes that fail to establish juridical laws do not obligate us to obey their terms.

Additional publications