Call for student applications: the User_Based Law Research Project


‘The Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, and HiiL have been granted a subsidy from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in order to set up a Chair, with the purpose to involve prestigious lawyers, who work in the field of the internationalization of law, in research, teaching and PhD research. Part of the grant allows the Faculty of Law to assign a young researcher to write a PhD under the supervision of the Chairholder.’ –

MEPLI conducts fundamental research in the field of European private law, covering the law of contract, property and tort, but also European procedural law, European legal theory and European legal history. Its establishment in 2010 marks the importance Maastricht University attaches to the international study of law and its commitment to facilitate both internationally leading academics and young scholars in pursuing high quality academic work. MEPLI’s main mission is to conduct creative and fundamental research with a special focus on exploring the consequences of Europeanization and globalization in the field of private law. In doing so, MEPLI questions the relevance of territorial and dogmatic borders delineating both national jurisdictions and the classical areas of law. Where useful, it also involves other disciplines (such as political science, economics and psychology).

The above-mentioned HiiL-UM framework supports the organization of events surrounding the research design and topics pursued by individual PhD candidates. In the light of this context, MEPLI is seeking to collaborate with students on a research project on User_Based Law.

One of the reasons why law is often criticized is that it is the product of bureaucratic non-transparent systems. This project wishes to investigate how private actors envision law. Students will focus on specific pools of law users, such as academics, who analyze the law, or consumers, who are governed by law in their daily lives. To understand how these preferences work in practice, students will create survey/questionnaire/interview templates and reach out to representatives of these user pools. On the basis of their results, students can eventually make recommendations for building alternative grassroots rules applicable to selected transactions.

The project should boost student involvement in extra-curricular research projects and acquaint students with innovative legal research methods. This project would preferably last for around 6 months (December 2014 – March 2015) and the students would receive several lectures on the topic, research and methodology matters from various MEPLI fellows and Faculty members. The research product coming out of this activity would be a collection of papers bundled into a small printed publication.

MEPLI is looking for approximately 10 students to work on this project. Selected students would first undergo an interdisciplinary training track (max. 10 hours) to discuss the research question and methodology. After this, the students will be required to work in groups and undertake the empirical research as well as draft the final written deliverable. Once the written deliverables are handed in, the students must organize a subsequent workshop for, among others, the dissemination of their work.

Student profile (selected features):

– creativity and enthusiasm;

– experience/interest in interdisciplinary (including empirical) research;

– team communication skills and willingness to learn project management;

– interest in private law (European and comparative);

– good organization skills.

If you are interested in this activity, please send your CV and a letter of intent to and by 20 November 2014. Please note that in order to be eligible to apply for this research project you must be at least a 2nd year student. We plan to make ECTS points available for this activity.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Later edit: because of tech issues with the blog, the deadline is extended until (including) 23 November 2014!

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