Workshop on The Right of Necessity


9.30-9.45  Introduction and welcome, Garrett Brown (Leeds)

9.45-11 The theoretical framework

Is there a right of necessity? If there is, how does it relate to the basic right to subsistence? Does it make sense to apply an old idea such as this to the contemporary problem of global poverty?

Panel: Jesse Tomalty (Oxford/Bergen), Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL)

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-12.45 Property rights and the right of necessity: friends or foe?

Medieval and early modern natural law theorists saw the right of necessity as limiting property rights: it was a natural right that trumped human-made laws—like property laws—in exceptional situations. But, may property rights be coherently limited in this way?

Panel: Chris Bertram (Bristol), Grethe Netland (Oslo)

12.45-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.15 The right of necessity: A remedy worse than the disease?

That the disorganized exercise of the individual right of necessity of thousands might create unfair, and even worse outcomes than those trying to be remedied is one forceful objection against its moral acceptability. What is the relationship between the right of necessity and fairness? How to avoid the overdemandingness of the duties correlated to its exercise?

Panel: David V. Axelsen (LSE), Lars Christie (Oslo/Oxford)

15.15-15.45 Coffee break

15.45-17.00 The right of necessity: theoretically empowering, practically powerless?

Even if we recognize that millions may legitimately exercise their right of necessity today, to get out of their chronically deprived situations, in practice most of them will not be able to—because the resources are too far, or too difficult to obtain. So, what is the point of theoretically empowering individuals with this right if they won’t be able to realize it? How may cosmopolitan duties be reconceptualized through the lens of the right of necessity?

Panel: Michael Neu (Brighton), Scott Wisor (Minerva Schools)

17.00-17:15 Closing Remarks, Alejandra Mancilla (Oslo)


The workshop is open to all, but registration is required. To register, please email Lina Tosterud: This event is sponsored by CSMN.


Alejandra Mancilla
Published Feb. 21, 2018 1:03 PM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2018 1:04 PM