Postdoctoral researcher VIDI project

University of Amsterdam
August 22 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Amsterdam Law School is offering a position for a postdoctoral researcher in the NWO-funded project ‘Judges in Utopia: Judicial law-making in European Private Law', coordinated by prof. Chantal Mak.

Political-philosophical calls for ‘more Europe' as a response to the economic crisis reveal the lack of civic solidarity underlying the project of European integration. Echoes of this debate inform the judicial application of the rules facilitating market integration, most importantly rules of private law (contracts, property, liability). The concept of social justice endorsed at EU level continues to significantly diverge from national concepts. The interplay of ideas of justice has not yet resulted in a lasting constitutional settlement that is able to reconcile conceptions of the ‘common good' pursued in European society. Consequently, judges struggle to align national social rights with European market freedoms in cases concerning private-legal transactions.

While the analysis of the ‘social deficit' in European private law has long followed a critical, deconstructive approach, this project takes a constructive turn. It aims at developing a (partial) normative theory of judicial rulemaking for the field of European private law. First, it analyses the implications of theories of European constitutionalism and philosophical theories of deliberation for judicial reasoning in this area. The focus lies on the potential of fundamental rights to deliberate value-choices in judicial rulemaking in the field of private law. Within this general framework, in-depth studies will be conducted of: (i) the interplay between principles of law in the multi-level order of the EU and its Member States, and (ii) the guaranteeing of effective remedies on the interface of EU and national private laws. Combined with the continuous input of an Expert Group, these studies will feed into the elaboration of a normative theory that (a) reconceptualises the role of judges in today's Europe, especially in their relation to the legislature, and (b) provides them with methodological guidance for the identification and integration of views on the ‘common good' in the resolution of private legal disputes.

This project investigates the evolution of judicial reasoning in domestic and European case law in private legal matters engaging legal principles. More specifically, it addresses the question how national judges and the CJEU should approach ‘hard cases' of a private legal nature that receive different answers in the laws of the Member States.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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