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Professor Michael King

Professor Michael King
  • Professor

Areas of interest

  • Children and the Law
  • International Children’s Rights
    • Established the ‘International Children’s Rights’ undergraduate module at Reading before retiring from active duties in the Law School in 2012
  • Social theory and its application to current social issues, in particular Niklas Luhmann's theory of closed/autopoietic systems
  • Special Educational Needs law, where he acted for many years as legal representative for parents engaged in tribunal proceedings.


Joined Reading in 2006, having previously been a professor at Brunel and a lecturer at Warwick. He was a visiting Associate Professor at SUNY Buffalo and worked for two years as a Jean Monet Fellow and Research Fellow at The European University Institute, Florence. He has also held Visiting Fellowships at Australian National University, University of Glasgow, University of Cape Town, University of Sydney he taught on the Masters Course at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain.  

He has authored and co-authored eight books and over 50 articles and book chapters.  His books include The Framework of Criminal Justice (1981, London: Croom Helm) Children’s Welfare and the Law (with Judith Trowell) (1984: London, Sage) A Better World for Children. Explorations in Morality and Authority (1997, London:Routledge) and Systems, not People, make Society Happen (Edinburgh: Holcombe Publishing)

Academic qualifications

BA (Psychology) (London), LL.M (Warwick)

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Solicitor and member of the Law Society
  • A Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Law and Society
  • Special educational Needs Tribunal Representative for the Independent Panel Special Educational Advice (IPSEA)
  • Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Associate Member of the Royal Society for Medicine

Recent selected publications

  • “Led by the Science (2021)” in Markus Heldingsfelder and Maren Lehmann (eds) Corona – Weltgeschaft im Ausnamenzustand  (Weilerwist, Velbrück Wissenschaft, Germany)
  • Editor and translator (with Christian Morgner) of Niklas Luhmann’s Trust and Power (2017) Polity Press
  • Time and the Fall - The Limits of Political Steering in Hard Times
  • A review article of Elena Esposito: The Future of Futures. The Time of Money in Financing and Society(2013) Economy and Sciety
  • Systems, not People, Make Society Happen (2009) Edinburgh:Holcombe Publishing (Available as an e-book free download)
  • "The Right Decision for the Child" (2007) Modern Law Review Vol.70 (5) 857-871
  • "How the Law Defines the Special Educational Needs of Autistic Children". (With Diane King), (2006) Child and Family Law Quarterly Vol.18 (1). To download a copy of this article Click Here
  • "What's the Use of Luhmann's Theory?" in Luhmann on Law and Politics. Critical Appraisals and Applications,(eds) King, M. and Thornhill, C. (London:Hart Publishing, 2006)
  • Y diritti dei bambini in un mondo incerto (Rome:Donzelli, 2004)
  • Niklas Luhmann's Theory of Politics and Law (with Chris Thornhill) (Basingstoke,:Palgrave/Macmillan. 2003)


In Press

  • Translator with (Margaret Hiley and Christian Morgner) and Author of ‘Afterword’, The Making of Meaning: From the Individual to Social Order: Selections from Niklas Luhmann’s Works on Semantics and Social Structure (Oxford, Oxford University Press) (to be published March 2022)
  • Editor of Special Edition on Niklas Luhmann’s ‘The Child as the Medium for Education (to be published in the Journal of Educational Theory, 2022)


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