Photo of Ratna Rueban Balasubramaniam

Ratna Rueban Balasubramaniam

Associate Professor

Degrees:LL.B. (London), M.Phil. (Australian National University), S.J.D. (Toronto)
Office:D583 Loeb

Research Interests

My current area of research revolves around the theme of authoritarian legalism, especially the role of legal authority in constructing and maintaining structures of political domination as well as the extent to which the law itself could generate critical resources that might be used to critique such structures. My approach to scholarship thus involves the intersection of philosophy of law and political science and generally focuses on “hybrid” regimes that simultaneously display both authoritarian and democratic political patterns.  I am presently writing a book about the problem of jurisprudential ideology in the maintenance and resilience of the ethnocratic state that blights the theory and practice of Malaysian constitutional law.

Areas of Interest

  • The Rule of Law
  • Philosophy of Law
  • States of Emergency or the “Exception” in Legal Theory
  • Unwritten constitutional principles and common law constitutionalism
  • Dual State Legality


I am a legal philosopher and teach philosophy of law at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, I also teach international human rights law and human rights and social justice with an emphasis on a jurisprudential perspective about the significant links between legality and the aspiration to protect human rights.

In addition, I have a deep interest in the craft of academic writing and am the co-founder of an education technology platform for academic writing called EssayJack that was acquired in 2021.

Selected Publications

Rueban Balasubramaniam. 2022, “Constitutional Statecraft in Malaysian Courts: A Naïve Schmittian Misappropriation” 17:1 Asian Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming)

— 2022, “The Covid-19 Emergency: Malaysia’s Fragile Democracy” in Grogan & McDonald (eds) The Routledge Handbook on Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic (Routledge, forthcoming)

— 2021, “The Conceptual Case for Law as Integrity in Malaysia” in Matthew McManus (ed) Socialism and Liberalism: Embittered Kin or Mortal Enemies (Palgrave)

— 2018, “Malaysia’s Blocked Social Contract Debate” in Andrew Harding & Dian Shah (eds) Law and Society in Malaysia: Pluralism, Religion, and Ethnicity (Routledge)

— 2018, “ Dislodging Malaysia’s Culture of Domination” in Greg Lopez & Bridget Welsh (eds) Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore (SIRD)