Sarah Sorial

Associate Professor

  • 33 Citations
  • 4 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor in Law at Macquarie University. Between 2008-2011, I was an ARC Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Macquarie University (2008) and the University of Wollongong (2009-11). Between 2011-18, I was a senior lecturer and Associate Professor in Philosophy at UOW. I completed my undergraduate degrees in philosophy (with honours) and law at Macquarie University, and was awarded my PhD in Philosophy from the University of New South Wales in 2006.

Research interests

My research specialisation is primarily at the intersection of philosophy and law. Specifically, I am interested in how philosophical concepts can be utilised to address various and persistent legal dilemmas, including dilemmas about the limits of speech, the importance of democratic deliberation, the place of rights in liberal democracies, and more recently, the place of emotions in law. My book, Sedition and the Advocacy of Violence: Free Speech and Counter-terrorism, is a book length philosophical treatment of modern sedition laws in Australia, and the offence of 'glorifying terrorism' in the United Kingdom. Using established concepts in philosophy of language I demonstrated various problems with the current laws and made proposals for addressing them. I also developed a systematic analysis of the concept of harm and the nature of speaker authority in establishing harm. I have applied this account to other areas of contested speech, including hate speech, holocaust denial, pseudo-scientific speech, and emotionally charged speech in the public sphere. More recently, I have been working in the area of emotions and the law, specifically on the expression and management of emotions during criminal trials. I have supervised and am able to supervise PhD theses in the areas of political philosophy, philosophy of law, and feminism. 


  • LAWS214 - Juripsrudence
  • LAWS805 - Theories of Law and Justice

Research student supervision

I have supervised HDR students in the areas of political philosophy. My areas of interests include political philosophy and philosophy of law. I am to supervise topics in this area. 

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Research Outputs

Legal Legitimacy and the relevance of participatory procedures

Sorial, S., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Procedural justice and relational theory: empirical, philosophical and legal perspective. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Anger, provocation and loss of self-control: what does 'losing it' really mean?

Sorial, S., Jun 2019, In : Criminal Law and Philosophy. 13, 2, p. 247–269 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Australian schools as deliberative spaces: framing the goal of active and informed citizenship

    Sorial, S. & Peterson, A., 2019, In : Curriculum Journal. 30, 1, p. 24-39 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Emotions and the criminal law: anger and the defence of provocation

    Sorial, S., 2019, Emotions in late modernity. Patulny, R., Bellocchi, A., Olson, R. E., Khorana, S., McKenzie, J. & Peterie, M. (eds.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 129-141 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Punishment for mob-based harms: expressing and denouncing mob mentality

    Bowden, S., Sorial, S. & Bourne, K., 17 Jun 2019, In : Journal of applied philosophy. 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle