17 October 2016

Utrecht University School of Law (The Netherlands)
PhD Researchers

The Lisbon Treaty (2009) has set new goals for judicial cooperation between member states of the European Union (EU) with an eye to providing effective legal remedies and fundamental rights protection. This cooperation is stimulated by the European Commission’s agenda (e.g. judicial training) and practices of ‘transnational borrowing’ between courts in the EU. However, it remains unclear to what extent national judicial cultures, i.e. ideas and practices regarding judging and judicial organisation which have developed over time, can and should converge into a shared ‘European judicial culture’.

The Utrecht University School of Law will be appointing two PhD researchers in law within the NWO Vidi project ‘Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: A Comparative Analysis of European Judicial Culture(s)’, headed by Prof. Dr. Elaine Mak. The project is connected with the research activities of Utrecht University’s Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution.
The PhD projects will address two aspects of judicial culture: legal rules and concepts for European cases (legal dimension; project 1) and leadership in judging EU law cases (institutional dimension; project 2). 

These projects will interconnect with the project leader’s analysis of a third aspect of judicial culture: professional values for judges (moral dimension). All three projects will combine a comparative-legal analysis with an empirical approach (surveys, interviews, observations). Focus is on civil, criminal, administrative and constitutional courts in selected EU member states and on European judicial networks. The outcomes of the PhD projects will assist in answering the project’s central research question, which concerns the possibilities and constraints regarding further alignment of judicial cultures in the EU. A more detailed research plan is available upon request.

Job description
The PhD researchers will:
• engage in supervised scientific research that will ultimately result in a doctoral thesis.
• participate in the activities of the Montaigne Centre for Judicial Administration and Conflict Resolution, such as conferences and seminars.
• give presentations of the PhD research at (international) conferences and seminars and publish outcomes of this research in law journals and edited volumes.
• cparticipate in the organisation of research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications.
• (on a voluntary basis) engage in a limited amount of teaching on subjects within the institute of Jurisprudence, Constitutional and Administrative Law.

The successful candidate should have a law degree and have a particular interest in legal institutions and multidisciplinary legal research. As the research encompasses a comparative dimension (between a selection of EU member states) and a socio-legal dimension, experience in doing comparative or socio-legal research will be considered an asset.

The successful candidate should:
• have a law degree.
• have a demonstrable interest in legal institutions and multidisciplinary legal research.
• have a strong motivation to do PhD research in this area.
• be proficient in English.
• have excellent scientific writing, planning and communication skills.
• preferably have experience with the method of legal comparison.
• preferably have experience with empirical methods of data gathering (surveys, interviews, observations).

Conditions of employment
We offer a PhD position with a gross monthly salary starting at € 2,191 in the first year to € 2,801 in the fourth year of employment. The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract as a PhD researcher for 18 months. Upon positive evaluation of the PhD researcher’s performance the contract will be extended by 2,5 years. We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The PhD researcher will be based at the School of Law, Utrecht University.

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old centre and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance of Utrecht University has some 4000 students and 500 employees. The faculty is housed in several historical buildings in the centre of the city of Utrecht. Thanks to a broad range of departments, renowned research institutes and an outstandingly equipped library, the organisation is an active part of society.

Additional information
Questions about the project and the position may be addressed to Prof Dr Elaine Mak: e.mak@uu.nl.

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