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George Fletcher

Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence

George Fletcher

Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence

George P. Fletcher is the Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School. Fletcher is regarded as one of the leading scholars in the United States in the fields of torts and criminal law, and, in particular, comparative and international criminal law. Fletcher is the only scholar, writing in English, to be cited by the International Criminal Court.

In 2015, Fletcher received the Silvia Sandano Prize in Human Rights. The international prize was presented at a ceremony in the Rome Senate.

In 2009, Fletcher published two books, The Bond and also Tort Liability for Human Rights Abuses, which discusses tort liability in international cases. Another book he wrote, Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why, explores the analogies between self-defense in domestic and international law. The Grammar of Criminal Law: American, Comparative, and International probes the basic structure and language of diverse systems in criminal punishment. In addition, he has published 10 other books and more than 150 law review articles.

Fletcher's most famous law review article is “Fairness and Utility in Tort Theory,” which has been widely cited. In 2006, he wrote a brief in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which was adopted by Justice John Paul Stevens and the four-vote plurality. In 2004, Fletcher was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Fletcher has lectured and conducted media spots in Russian, French, German, Hebrew, Spanish, Hungarian, and Italian. Fletcher has published dozens of op-ed pieces and longer articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books.

  • M.C.L., University of Chicago, 1965
  • J.D., University of Chicago, 1964
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1960
Areas of Expertise
  • Criminal law
  • Comparative law
  • Torts
  • Jurisprudence
  • International criminal law
  • “Fletcher's Essays on Criminal Law” by Christopher Russel, Oxford University Press, 2012
  • “Tort Liability for Human Rights Abuses,” Hart Publishing, 2008
  • “Defending Humanity,” (with Jens David Ohlin) Oxford University Press, 2008
  • “The Grammar of Criminal Law,” Oxford University Press, 2007, second and third volumes pending.
  • “The Law of War and its Pathologies,” Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 2007
  • “Hamdan Confront the Military Commissions Act of 2006,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 2006
  • “Reasonableness im amerikanischen und im Völker strafrecht,” Menschengerechtes Strafrecht: Festschrift für Albin Eser, Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2005
  • “Parochial vs. Universal in Criminal Law,” Journal of International Criminal Justice, 2005
  • “Reclaiming Fundamental Principles of Criminal Law in the Darfur Case,” (with Jens David Ohlin), Journal of International Criminal Justice, 2005
  • “Justice & Fairness in the Protection of Crime Victims,” Lewis & Clark Law Review, 2005
  • “American Law in a Global Context: The Basics,” (with Steve Sheppard), Oxford University Press, 2005
  • “Romantics at War: Glory and Guilt in the Age of Terrorism,” Princeton University Press, 2002
  • “Our Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy,” Oxford University Press, 2001
  • “Basic Concepts of Criminal Law,” Oxford University Press, 1998
  • “Basic Concepts of Legal Thought,” Oxford University Press, 1996
  • “With Justice for Some: Victims' Rights in Criminal Trials,” Addison Wesley, 1995
  • “Loyalty: An Essay on the Morality of Relationships,” Oxford University Press, 1993
  • “A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial,” University of Chicago Press, 1988
  • “Rethinking Criminal Law,” Oxford University Press, 1978
Honors and Awards
  • Associate, Hartman Center, Jerusalem
  • Associate, Max Planck Institute in Freiburg
  • Winner, German Wissenschaftspreis, 1995
  • Storrs Lectures, Yale University, 2001
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2004
  • Silvia Sandano Prize on Criminal Law, Rome, December 2015
Download Full C.V.
Advanced Criminal Law: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives
Introduction to American Law
Jurisprudence of War
S. Biblical Jurisprudence
S. Victims' Rights
The Jurisprudence of Crime: Interdisciplinary Perspectives