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Dr Simon Lavis

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Law
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Law School
  • The Law School
  • simon.lavis

Professional biography

Simon joined the Open University Law School as a Lecturer in Law in October 2013. Prior to this he studied for a PhD in Law at the University of Nottingham, which he was awarded in 2015. Simon initially completed undergraduate and masters degrees in history at the University of Sheffield, specialising in historical theory and the history of Nazi Germany, before undertaking the GDL and LPC at the College of Law, Guildford. He trained and qualified as a solicitor at commercial firm DLA Piper UK LLP between 2007-2009 and re-entered academia via an LLM from the University of Birmingham, in which he studied aspects of legal and criminal theory and international law.

Research interests

Simon's PhD research at the University of Nottingham was funded by an AHRC studentship. His thesis is concerned with the historical and contemporary implications of the period of National Socialist rule in Germany, as well as the way in which legal and historical knowledge and meaning are constructed. It explores how legal scholars, and those from related disciplines, write about the Nazi past and the impact this has on the way in which this period is perceived and understood as having legal and historical significance. His thesis counters the theoretical assumptions that lead to the exclusion of the Nazi experience of law in the construction of legal knowledge. It also examines and develops encounters between law and other disciplines, history in particular, in writing about Nazi Germany, in order to trace parallel approaches between these subject-areas and make further connections across these disciplines.

Simon's current research is an extension of this area and involves examining the relationship between ideology and law in the Third Reich in order to understand the role of law in shaping the normative environment of consensus, as well as repression, within which Nazi policy goals could be implemented.

Simon is also interested in research in public law (particular judicial review and constitutional law), 20th century US legal and constitutional history, and criminal law theory.

Teaching interests

Simon is Chair of W203 Public and Criminal Law module on the Open University LLB programme. He is also an associate lecturer on W203 and on W821 Exploring the Boundaries of International Law on the LLM programme. He previously taught public law and contract law at the University of Nottingham.