Panu Minkkinen is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He coordinates socio-legal scholarship in the Faculty (and beyond) through the Helsinki Socio-Legal Initiative (HSLI) , and he is a member of the Executive Group of the multidisciplinary Doctoral Programme in Gender, Culture, and Society (SKY).

Date & Time

7 October 2021

13:00 -14:30 (cet)

More Details


Usually the interrelations between the central political and legal institutions of a state are described through some form of ‘separation of powers’ doctrine. There are, of course, numerous variations to the doctrine, but they usually focus on the competences that constitutions award the respective institutions. So in its crudest form, a legislature passes laws that an executive has first drafted and then puts into effect, while the judiciary applies these laws in individual cases. However, a competence-focused approach to the doctrine has limitations. It will not be able to account for the more nuanced expressions of possible disagreement between the institutions. Is there, for instance, tension between the legislature’s intended political agenda and what the executive is willing to do about it? Is the judiciary satisfied with its relatively limited role in applying particular laws as opposed to interpreting them with broader discretionary powers? The limitations of the competence-focused approach arise from the liberal underpinnings that steer it towards models built on inter-institutional deliberation and consensus. Professor Minkkinen’s talk asks what these institutional interrelations would look like if our starting point was not something akin to political liberalism but, rather, agonism, that is, conflict and disagreement.


Panu Minkkinen is Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include jurisprudence, legal theory, Constitutional theory, socio-legal studies, political and cultural theory and philosophy. Panu is author of Thinking without Desire: A First Philosophy of Law (Hart, 2009) and Sovereignty, Knowledge, Law (Routledge, 2011) and co-editor (alongside Matilda and Leila) of The Contemporary Relevance of Carl Schmitt: Law, Politics, Theology (Routledge, 2015).