Jonathan Klick appointed Erasmus Chair of Empirical Legal Studies
18 December 2009 - Jonathan Klick (1975), Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, has been appointed part-time Chair of Empirical Legal Studies at Erasmus School of Law. Prof. Klick is both a lawyer and an economist, and he specialises in empirical law and economics.
Prof. Klick joins the Erasmus School of Law interdisciplinary research team ‘Behavioural approaches to contract and tort’ to pursue new strands of empirical research into areas such as corporate governance and tort law. Prof. Klick has ample experience in the methodology of empirical law and economics, and he will thus provide invaluable input with a view to accomplishing the empirical aspirations of Erasmus School of Law research.
- For a profile of Prof. Klick, please visit Penn Law.
Roland Eshuis visiting research fellow
4 December 2009 - Starting 1 January 2010, Roland Eshuis will be Visiting Research Fellow in the Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort research programme. Eshuis is a professional researcher at the WODC, the research institute of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. For more than a decade, Eshuis has focused on empirical research in the domain of civil justice, and has been involved — actively or in an advisory role — in a large number of studies both within and outside the Justice Department. In 2007, he obtained his doctoral degree at Erasmus University with a thesis on measures to accelerate civil court proceedings. His most recent book, on the execution of judicial decisions and friendly settlements, was published by the Dutch Council for the Judiciary (October 2009). Together with the WODC, the Council for the Judiciary, and the Dutch Statistics Office (CBS), Eshuis is currently developing a general statistical publication on Dutch civil and administrative dispute resolution, court procedures, and professionals in the field of law. His international projects include the development of the Council of Europe's 'European Judicial Systems' publication.
PhD defence Sonja Keske
4 December 2009 - On 15 December 2009, the first EDLE graduate, Sonja Keske, will hold her PhD defence on 'Group Litigation in European Competition Law. A Law and Economics perspective'.
In this thesis, insights of the law and economics literature were collected in order to develop the features of an optimal group litigation concerning the deterrence of European Competition Law violation, and were then compared to the proposals of the European Commission in the White Paper on damages actions. The full text of the summary can be downloaded here.
Dr. Klaus Heine appointed Erasmus Chair of Law and Economics
3 November 2009 - Klaus Heine (1970) has been appointed Chair of Law and Economics at Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam. Heine, who is currently associate professor in the Department for Human and Economic Sciences, University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT, Vienna, Austria), received his education as an economist at Philipps University, Marburg, Germany.
Professor Heine has since developed extensive experience in the areas of European integration, economic policy, and institutional economics. Moreover, he specialises in the law and economics of corporate governance and in theory of the firm.
As of January 2010, Heine joins the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (www.rile.nl) and he will participate in the research programme “Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort: Relevance for Policymaking”.
- For a profile of Prof. Heine, please visit UMIT.
Prof. Gerhard Wagner appointed Erasmus Chair of Fundamentals of Private Law
2 November 2009 - Prof. Gerhard Wagner (1962), professor of German and European Private Law, Civil Procedure, and Comparative Law at the University of Bonn, has been appointed part-time Chair of Fundamentals of Private Law at Erasmus School of Law.
Prof. Wagner has extensive experience in the broad field of private law and civil procedure. With his research, Professor Wagner combines substantive private law, law and economics, and comparative law into policy-oriented groundbreaking publications.
In recent years, Erasmus School of Law has invested a great deal in the internationalisation of its research activities. This has resulted in a repositioning of research activities and in the creation of a stimulating research environment that attracts scholars with international and interdisciplinary interests and experience.
With the appointment in 2008 of Prof. Anthony Ogus to the Erasmus Chair of Fundamentals of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law set out to strengthen its focus on an international and interdisciplinary study of private law. The chair helps to bring research to a higher level both in comparative law and in an interdisciplinary study of private law. The chair analyses the fundamentals of private law in Europe and will add a new perspective to the research portfolio of the Department and the Faculty.
By appointing Prof. Wagner as additional Chair of Fundamentals of Private Law, Erasmus School of Law affirms its commitment to in-depth multi-disciplinary research. Prof. Wagner will participate in the research programme ‘Behavioural Approaches to Contract and Tort: Relevance for Policymaking’.
- For a profile of Prof. Wagner, please visit University of Bonn.
Vincent Buskens appointed Erasmus Chair of Empirical Legal Studies
13 October 2009 - Vincent Buskens (1968), currently associate professor of sociology at Utrecht University, has been appointed part-time Erasmus Chair of Empirical Legal Studies at Erasmus School of Law. Buskens is both a mathematician and an empirical sociologist, and he specialises in research on decision-making in business contracts and on trust issues in cooperation networks.
Prof. Buskens joins the Erasmus School of Law interdisciplinary research team ‘Behavioural approaches to contract and tort’ to pursue new strands of empirical research into consumer behaviour and the regulation of B2C markets. Prof. Buskens has ample methodological and statistical expertise in the social sciences, and he will thus provide invaluable input with a view to accomplishing the empirical aspirations of Erasmus School of Law research.
- For a profile of Prof. Buskens, please visit Utrecht University.
Dealing with the masses: legal and logistical issues of representation and distribution
8 October 2009 - On 11 December 2009, Prof. Jenny Steele (York Law School, UK) and Prof. Willem van Boom (Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam) will jointly organise a research workshop on legal and logistical issues of representation and distribution in mass claim procedures. Topics include not only the obvious, such as class action mechanisms, but also apparently unrelated areas such as liquidation of insolvent companies and collective action in labour disputes. On closer inspection, these seemingly disparate domains prove to have a great deal in common. In dealing with the masses, the law always has to weigh the need for quick and efficient administration against fundamental individual access to justice. It needs to install instruments for accountability, as well as attain procedural and substantive fairness. A few of the questions that could be relevant in this area are:
- What specific requirements of procedural justice follow from the role of distributor?
- How can the role of distributor be described best, both in legal and logistical terms?
- What abilities fit the distributor best (e.g. a dealmaker rather than a good lawyer)?
- What is the role of courts: to manage the case or merely police it from the sidelines?
- How much leeway does a distributor have in the distribution process? Is he bound by strict rules on ‘who gets what’ or is he to some extent able to negotiate or play the distribution game with different parties simultaneously?
- Distribution of proceeds: do legal formalities help or impede logistic efficiency? Are the rules modelled to support logistical efficiency?
This workshop brings together renowned legal scholars and practitioners with the aim to gain a closer understanding of how the masses are to be dealt with fairly and efficiently.
Contributors to the workshop
School of Law , University of Manchester, England
School of Law, Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
School of Law, University of Southampton, England
School of Law, Lancaster University, England
International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, London
School of Law , University of Konstanz, Germany
York Law School, University of York, England
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
School of Law , University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
PhD defence Yvonne Watermann 'The employers’ liability for occupational accidents and diseases. A comparative research'
8 October 2009 - In recent years, interest in the field of employers’ liability for occupational accidents and diseases has grown considerably in the Netherlands. In this PhD dissertation, the developments in Dutch employers’ liability law and the relevant regulations of social security law are closely scrutinised. Belgian and English employers’ liability law for occupational accidents and diseases are considered and contrasted in order to learn from the different approaches.
One of the main conclusions drawn by Waterman is that a modernisation of the Dutch employers’ liability law is long overdue. Recent case law concerning labour-related traffic accidents in particular makes the introduction of strict liability of employers imperative, if not unavoidable. Such a fundamental change would be tantamount to ending the present system of employers’ liability law, which is essentially still based on employer’s negligence. Additionally, Waterman recommends the introduction of a statutory duty for employers to insure themselves against claims arising from occupational accidents and diseases, combined with a national register of employers’ liability insurance policies.
Waterman has also examined Dutch social security legislation, in particular the Labour and Income According to Capacity Act 2006 (WIA) from the viewpoint of victims of occupational accidents and diseases. Interestingly, she has found that this important legislation is not compatible with ratified ILO Convention no. 121, also known as the Employment Injury Benefits Convention 1964. According to Waterman, current Dutch social security legislation fails to ensure that the income of incapacitated employees is at least equal to the level of protection prescribed by the treaty.
This finding has led her to advocate the introduction of the Additional Guarantee for Occupational Risks Provision (Extra Garantieregeling Beroepsrisico’s or EGB), which would offer additional income protection to victims of occupational hazards. Implementing this Additional Guarantee would necessitate a major overhaul of the WIA.
The defence will take place on Friday, 13 November 2009, at 09:30 a.m. in the Senate Hall, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Woudestein Campus, Burg. Oudlaan 50 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
'Trade practices, advertising, and self-regulation: pilot study on societal instruments of regulation'
September 2009 - September 2009 saw the publication of a study commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Justice (WODC). The study was co-authored by Willem van Boom, Michael Faure, Nick Huls, and Niels Philipsen (Maastricht University).Whenever policymakers have to decide on which instrument to use in order to attain policy goals, the instrument of legislation is the straightforward choice. There may, however, be viable alternatives such as what are termed societal instruments of regulation: namely, non-legislative forms of regulation in society initiated by private actors without any special legislative authority. For policymakers to choose between alternative instruments, it is crucial that they have a firm understanding of the respective benefits and drawbacks of the array of instruments at their disposal. What then are the advantages and disadvantages of these societal instruments of regulation? Under what conditions can instruments such as self-regulatory codes of good practice serve as an alternative instrument of government policy? To answer these questions, we need to establish, on the one hand, the standards against which legislation is evaluated, and, on the other hand, under what conditions society (or at least part of it) is able and willing to subject itself voluntarily to regulatory goals. This pilot study aims at providing an insight into the various ways in which non-legislative instruments of regulation work, how they are instituted, how they are enforced and complied with, and to what extent they can serve as an alternative to the legislative instruments commonly used by policymakers. To be more precise, this study focuses on one specific form: self-regulation through codes of conduct in Dutch business with regard to consumer trade practices and advertising. By thus focusing on a type of self-regulation, this unadorned study sets forth a basic surveillance of the field of regulation and self-regulation of B2C marketing, trade practices, and advertising of goods and services. The authors addressed three specific areas where this dynamic state can currently be witnessed: namely, in the area of codes of conduct with regard to advertising for alcoholic beverages, to telemarketing, and to consumer credit.
As well as reaching conclusions relating to these specific areas, the authors conclude that self-regulation does not exist in a vacuum but is increasingly part of a regulatory mix of legislative intervention, market supervision by special agencies, and self-regulatory initiatives. Furthermore, they find that Dutch legislative standards reflect an outdated dichotomy between self-regulation and legislation. More often than not, self-regulation is generated by legislation or by the threat of policymakers to introduce legislation. Moreover, they find in the investigated areas that the failure of self-regulation seems to be 'caused' predominantly by shifting political goals and the fact that free riders among stakeholders incite policymakers to declare self-regulation a failure.
Publication details: W.H. van Boom, M.G. Faure, N.J.H. Huls, N.J. Philipsen, ‘Handelspraktijken, reclame en zelfregulering’, The Hague: BJU 2009, ISBN 978-90-8974-142-4
Inaugural address Prof. Faure
12 June 2009 - Prof. Michael Faure, professor of Comparative Private Law and Economics, gave his inaugural address on June 12. The inaugural address dealt with the consequences of the behavioural law and economics literature for the economic analysis of tort and insurance. There is currently an overwhelming literature, both empirical and experimental, claiming that individuals do not react or respond as assumed by the rational actor model. Much of the economic analysis of tort and insurance is, however, based on the assumption that individuals will respond rationally to incentives provided by varying liability rules and insurance possibilities. The question therefore arises to what extent the outcome of this behavioural literature changes some of the outcomes of the traditional economic analysis of liability rules and insurance. The question was also addressed as to whether this literature leads to particular policy recommendations: for instance, concerning the introduction of compulsory insurance for particular domains.
PhD thesis 'Calculating case law: a quantitative legal study of WIPO domain name arbitration decisions'
18 June 2009 - Johanna Visser, formerly a PhD student within the civil law section, defended her thesis ‘Rekenen met rechtspraak - Een juridisch-kwantitatief onderzoek naar WIPO domeinnaamarbitrage’ (‘Calculating case law: a quantitative legal study of WIPO domain name arbitration decisions’). Supervisors were Willem van Boom (Erasmus School of Law, Civil law) and Henk Elffers (Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).
The thesis contains a large-scale quantitative legal analysis of WIPO arbitral decisions on domain names (UDRP domain name arbitration procedure). Quantitative legal research entails using statistical calculations in order to undertake a systematic analysis of the collected decisions. The analysis includes the percentage of affirmed and dismissed cases; the cases in which an irregular decision was made; which factors were important or not; and whether the procedural rules were applied fairly.
In comparison with the results of other researchers who had previously carried out a quantitative legal analysis of the UDRP procedure, the results concerning the significant factors were generally confirmed or nuanced, and only in some cases denied. Thus, the status of the complainant also turned out to be crucial if he were running a business. Instead of proving one of the three UDRP elements, certain circumstances for that, which also are enumerated in the procedure, were significant. It was remarkable, for example, that in this research the evidence as presented by the respondent was indeed significant in the case of WIPO decisions, while other researchers found that certain institutions were biased towards complainants. In addition, the number of arbitrators deciding a case did not influence the outcome of the dispute. Furthermore, the panel factors appeared to have a greater influence on the outcome of the decision than those of the complainant and the respondent. Only the significance of the miscellaneous factors could dominate the influence of the panel factors, among which was the number of default cases.
This study demonstrates that previous researchers’ criticism concerning the functioning of the UDRP system was unjustified on certain points. However, the results also show that the UDRP procedure still needs improvement in particular areas.
'Politicians and the paradoxes of paternalism' - inaugural lecture by Prof. Ogus at Erasmus School of Law
14 May 2009 - Anthony Ogus, professor of fundamentals of private law at the Erasmus School of Law, delivered his oratio (inaugural lecture) on Thursday, 14 May 2009, on the topic ‘Politicians and the paradoxes of paternalism’. Legal paternalism occurs when the law forces individuals to avoid certain risks, or without coercion nudges them away from such risks, on the ground that otherwise they will make unwise decisions. Although the questions of when and how such approaches should be taken are of fundamental importance in a society in which there are increasing risks to health and livelihood resulting from technological developments and greater freedom of choice, they appear not to be openly addressed in policymaking circles. Prof. Ogus explained this neglect and outlined a theoretical framework for determining when and how legal paternalism might be considered appropriate.
The inaugural lecture was subsequently published in Legal Studies (A. Ogus, "The paradoxes of legal paternalism and how to resolve them", 30 Legal Studies (2010) 1, 61-73).
New trends in financing civil litigation
April 2009 - On 24 April 2009, the New Trends in Financing Civil Litigation Conference was organised, and focused on the possibilities for financing a civil claim in Europe. Researchers from several European countries presented papers on this subject, examining it from a legal, economic, and empirical perspective.
New PhD student to start in the Department of Civil Law
1 March 2009 - Catherine Garcia has started her work as a PhD student in the civil law department. Catherine will do research on Decision Making in Consumer Transactions, and will focus on the topic of psychological insights and their relevance for private law.