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Tarun Khaitan

Professor Tarun Khaitan, Fellow in Law

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Professor Tarun Khaitan, Fellow in Law, Wadham College

Tarun Khaitan is the Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory at the University of Oxford and the Hackney Fellow in Law at Wadham College. Tarun is currently on special leave for four years from 1 September 2017 as a Future Fellow at Melbourne Law School, working on a project on the resilience of democratic constitutions, with a focus on South Asia. 

Contact Tarun Law at Wadham

He is also a visiting Global Professor of Law at New York University Law School, the General Editor of the Indian Law Review, an Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, an Affiliate of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. He completed his undergraduate studies (BA LLB Hons) at the National Law School (Bangalore) in 2004 as the 'Best All Round Graduating Student'. He then came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and completed his postgraduate studies (BCL with distinction, MPhil with distinction, DPhil) at Exeter College. Before joining Wadham, he was the Penningtons Student (Fellow) in Law at Christ Church.

His monograph entitled A Theory of Discrimination Law (OUP 2015 hbk, South Asia edition and Oxford Scholarship Online, 2016 pbk) has been cited by the European Court of Human Rights and reviewed very positively in leading journals, including in Law and Philosophy, where Sophia Moreau said "In this magnificent and wide-ranging book ... Khaitan attempts what very few others have tried." In Ethics, Deborah Hellman said that its 'ambitious scope and the careful argumentation it contains make it one of the best in the field’.  In his review in the Modern Law Review, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen claimed that "Khaitan's account is sophisticated, extensive and among the best normative accounts of discrimination law available." Colm O'Cinneide's review in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies says that "Khaitan’s quest shows up the inadequacies of previous attempts to track down this Holy Grail, and the path he has laid down will encourage others to follow in his footsteps." The book won the Woodward Medal (with a cash prize of 10,000 Australian dollars) in 2019 for making ‘a significant contribution to knowledge in a field of humanities and social sciences.’ A full list of reviews is available here.

He helped draft the Anti-Disrimination and Equality Bill 2017. His research on discrimination law has been quoted and relied upon by the Indian Supreme Court. He writes regularly for newspapers and blogs: links to his columns are available here. Dr Khaitan was awarded the 2018 Letten Prize, a 2 Million Norwegian Kroner award given biennially to a young researcher under the age of 45 conducting excellent research of great social relevance. He is using a part of the award towards setting up the Indian Equality Law Programme, aimed at capacity-building for early career scholars.

Selected publications


  • Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law (co-edited with Prof Hugh Collins, Bloomsbury, 2018). Key concepts discussed in a pre-publication interview on indirect discrimination law by a leading philosophy podcast

    • A Theory of Discrimination Law (OUP 2015, Oxford Scholarship Online2015, South Asia edition 2015, paperback 2016). Cited by the European Court of Human Rights in Carvalho Pinto de Sousa Morais v. Portugal (application no. 17484/15)
      Reviewed by Ethics, Law and Philosophy, Oxford Journal of Legal StudiesModern Law Review, Monash University Law ReviewRetfærdHong Kong Law Journal, International Journal of Discrimination and the LawVienna Journal on International Constitutional LawEdinburgh Law Review, I-CONnect blog, and Balkinization blog. Links to reviews available here
      Basis of a major BBC feature on racial profiling 

Journal Articles 

Peer Reviewed Articles 

Other Articles 

Book Chapters 

  • Discrimination’ in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and Rule of Law 2017) 

Newspaper Columns

Frequent contributor to various newspapers and blogs, including the pre-eminent ‘UK Constitutional Law Association Blog’ and the widely read Indian blog ‘Law and Other Things’. One of these blog posts was cited by the Indian Supreme Court in Navtej Johar v. Union of India (2018). Select contributions are linked here.