‘Flawed Strategies to Reducing Labor Exploitations’, 17 May 2017, PhD defense by Mark Kawakami

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in MEPLI Announcements | 0 comments

The main question that this thesis addressed was what private actors – from the companies to the consumers and even the laborers themselves – can do differently than what they are currently doing to further reduce instances of labor exploitation taking place in the global supply chain. To answer this question, this thesis first offered a descriptive overview of popular legal instruments and strategies that private actors are currently employing by relying on labor/employment law, tort law, company law, and contract law. This descriptive overview also addressed various semi- or non-legal instruments and initiatives with the intended aim of reducing labor exploitations as well such as corporate social responsibility initiatives and ethical consumerism campaigns.

Is there such a thing as ‘European Private Law’?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in General Posts | 0 comments


By Professor Jaap C. Hage

Is there such a thing as ‘European private law’? In my opinion there is not, just as there is no Dutch, French, English, or Chinese private law. Let me explain. Legal rules, including rules of private law, have many characteristics. They have a content, a scope, many of them were created by some agent, and many of them are applied and enforced by law-enforcing agents, with a prominent role for the judiciary. None of these characteristics can be used to classify some legal rules as rules of European private law.


Re- De- Co-dification? New Insights on the Codification of Private Law in Europe

Posted by on Apr 8, 2017 in European Private Law, MEPLI Announcements | 0 comments

M-EPLI Roundtable on May 12th 2017

The Roundtable will address recent developments and new perspectives on the codification of private law from a comparative law viewpoint. Scholars from six jurisdictions from Europe will share their insights on the main alterations and challenges that the codification phenomenon has experienced since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Speakers from continental European, common law, and mixed jurisdictions will meet to assess the virtues and weaknesses of the codification phenomenon, thus offering a forum to discuss the status of a paradigm that spread across part of the Western world.

For registration please contact Lars van Vliet at



The event is part of the Roundtable Series of the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI), and is organized by Lars van Vliet ( and Agustí­n Parise. Funds for the realization of the event were provided by the Science Committee of the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University and the University Fund Limburg.



Tapijnkazerne 21 ‘Building Z’, 6211 ME Maastricht



09:00 Opening Remarks, Lars van Vliet (Maastricht University)


First Session
Moderator: Bram Akkermans (Maastricht University)

09:05 William Swadling (University of Oxford, England)
Perspectives from England
09:25 Discussion

09:40 Martin A. Hogg (Edinburgh Law School, Scotland)
Perspectives from Scotland
10:00 Discussion

10:15 Jan Smits (Maastricht University)
Perspectives from the Netherlands
10:35 Discussion

10:50 Coffee Break


Second Session
Moderator: Lotte Meurkens (Maastricht University)

11:15 Monika Hinteregger (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria)
Perspectives from Austria
11:35 Discussion

11:50 Vincent Sagaert (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Perspectives from Belgium
12:10 Discussion

12:25 Mustapha Mekki (Université Paris XIII, IRDA, France)
Perspectives from France
12:45 Discussion

13:00 General Discussion, moderated by Gijs van Dijck (Maastricht University)

13:15 Closing Remarks, Agustín Parise (Maastricht University)

13:30 Lunch (Faculty of Law, Bouillonstraat 1-3, 6211 LH Maastricht)


For registration please contact Lars van Vliet at


The Unitary Patent Package and Brexit: A sign of things to come?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 in General Posts | 0 comments

And so it’s official: Last week Theresa May finally submitted the UK’s Article 50 exit notification, thereby triggering for the first time the formal process of leaving the EU that was only laid down (ironically enough) with the last major revision of the founding treaties, amidst continued Conservative party infighting and the prospect of a second Scottish referendum looming large.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I chose not to express my views on the Brexit referendum in this forum at the time the result became apparent, partly because this is a family blog, but also because my overriding feeling was one of resignation. I did not feel the need to question the level of understanding or motives of those who, unlike myself, voted to leave, nor particularly to connect the vote to a more general populist sentiment sweeping the continent, or even the world. That is not necessarily to say there is no truth to this, but my own thoughts were much closer to home.


Oxford Journal of Legal Studies Article: Do Apologies Ordered by the Court Serve A Purpose?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in General Posts | 0 comments

An employee seeks an apology from his employer for inadequately handling a complaint against him. A sexual abuse victim pursues an apology from the Catholic Church for the harm that was done by one of the priests. And a homosexual man feels discriminated against by a radio host who made degrading statements about homosexuals.

Can these individuals claim an apology, and will a court order one? The conventional wisdom is that apologies that are claimed or ordered do not serve a purpose because they lack sincerity and violate the right to freedom of expression. In a recent publication, I challenge conventional wisdom by demonstrating that apologies do not need to be sincere in order for them to serve a purpose.

If sincerity cannot be the decisive criterion for determining whether apologies should be ordered, what criterion should then be decisive? Based on available empirical research, case law and scholarly research on apologies, the article identifies the purposes of coerced apologies and uses these purposes to draft criteria for determining when ordered apologies are appropriate. It is concluded that an ordered apology is a fulfilment of a legal requirement rather than a statement of genuinely held feelings.

A proportionality test is developed in order to determine the permissibility of ordered apologies. The findings in the article refute the sincerity myth, offer suggestions as to how to overcome freedom of expression concerns and call for a more welcoming approach towards court-ordered apologies.

(URL: Gijs van Dijck, ‘The Ordered Apology’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (advance access))

Two new books: European private law as a national discipline

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in Jan Smits | 0 comments


The international character of European private law is one of the reasons why I have always been attracted to this field. Like legal history and philosophy of law, European private law is an academic discipline practiced by academics from a wide range of different countries together making up a vibrant academic community. In law, this is still exceptional. This, however, is not the only dimension of European private law. There is also the national dimension: how do national private laws and European private law interact? There are many dimensions to this interaction. One is how national law influences EU private law (an obvious example being the inspiration that the EU legislator takes from national laws when drafting EU directives). Another is how EU directives and the case law of the CJEU ‘land’ at the national level and influence national courts, legislators and private actors.

Recently two books saw the light that both deal with this national aspect of European private law. The first, edited by Annina H. Persson and Eleonor Kristofferson from Örebro University, deals specifically with the Swedish experience with private law Europeanisation. Although this book also contains contributions about European private law in general, it also contains some interesting accounts of how EU law affects Swedish private law. One example is the 2009 Messner case in which the CJEU ‘invented’ a European principle of unjust enrichment when interpreting EU Directive 97/7 on distance contracts. This sits uneasily with domestic Swedish law that never accepted any such principle. The second book is the latest addition to the well-known Ius Commune Casebooks for the Common Law of Europe. This book, edited by Arthur Hartkamp, Carla Sieburgh and Wouter Devroe and called Cases, Materials and Text on European Law and Private Law essentially deals with the horizontal (‘among individuals’) effects of EU law. It is no surprise that this leads to elaborate attention for in particular the role of the CJEU and of EU directives in setting rights and obligations of people.


Lessons from Voices: Empirical Findings on Domestic Violence and Legal Empowerment

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in PhD | 0 comments

By Dr. Julieta Marotta, Deputy Academic Director, MPP, UNU-MERIT/MGSoG

We approach the judicial system when facing problems. We assume that legal provisions and state organizations will serve us to find remedies to our problems. Violence against women is a global challenge. UNWomen estimates that 35% of women have experienced gender violence while less than 40% seek for help. For example, in the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina), a larger number of domestic violence complaints are being submitted daily by women.

Yet, how does access to justice legally empower victims of domestic violence? Legal empowerment uses the law as a tool for individual development, and affects legal provisions, providers, and victims. Qualitative empirical legal research is used to understand this given reality from the voices of actors.


Research on Dispute Resolution Clauses by Maryam Salehijam

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Commercial Law, Contract Law, European Private Law, MEPLI Announcements | 0 comments

Maryam Salehijam is a European Law School (Faculty of Law, Maastricht University) alumna who is currently doing her PhD research at the Transnational Law Centre of the University of Ghent under the supervision of Maud Piers. Maryam is undertaking research on the familiarity of legal professionals (including lawyers and third-party neutrals) with dispute resolution clauses which provide for non-binding ADR mechanisms such as mediation and conciliation. Her research focuses on legal professionals from the following jurisdictions: Austria, Australia, England & Wales, Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands, and the United States.

For her research, Maryam is gathering data by means of a short questionnaire which can be accessed here and which Maryam elaborates on below. Should you have any expertise in the relevant jurisdictions and would like to contribute to her research, we kindly invite you to have a look at the questionnaire or contact Maryam directly.

By Maryam Salehijam:

​Call to Participate in a Questionnaire on Dispute Resolution Clauses

There is a lack of clarity regarding the obligations that arise from dispute resolution agreements with a mediation/conciliation component. In order to reduce this uncertainty, a chapter of the BOF funded PhD research of Maryam Salehijam (supervisor: Professor Maud Piers) from the Transnational Law Center at the University of Ghent focuses on the question “What are the parties’ obligations under an ADR agreement?”

To answer this question, the research is divided into two stages: the first stage involves a questionnaire that assesses the familiarity of legal professionals –including lawyers and third-party neutrals- in selected jurisdictions (Austria, Australia, England & Wales, Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands, and the United States) with dispute resolution clauses calling for non-binding ADR mechanisms such as mediation/conciliation. Moreover, the questionnaire provides willing participants the opportunity to copy and paste a model or previously utilized dispute resolution clause. In the second stage, the clauses gathered as well as clauses extracted from other sources will be content coded using the software NVivo in order to determine which obligations tend to be reoccurring in the majority of the clauses under analysis.

The questionnaire targets individuals who have experience with commercial dispute resolution. The participation in the short questionnaire will require minimum effort, as most questions only require a simple mouse-click. Please note that the information entered in the survey is kept anonymous unless indicated to the contrary by the participants. Moreover, as the analysis takes place on an aggregated level, the findings will not disclose personally identifiable information. Accordingly, the information provided will only serve scientific purposes.

To complete the questionnaire, please click here to access the survey. The closing date of the survey is 29th April 2017.

If you wish to provide the model/previously used dispute resolution clauses without completing the questionnaire, please email Maryam Salehijam at

Maryam Salehijam

The Netherlands out of the EU: What does it cost us?

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in General Posts | 0 comments

In the light of the upcoming general elections in the Netherlands, a lot of citizens are questioning the membership of the country in the European Union. What are the consequences of a possible NEXIT and what are the pros and cons thereof?

In this KNAW symposium in Maastricht four KNAW-members, including M-EPLI’s Jan Smits, will cover what will happen after the Netherlands leave the EU. A special focus will be laid on the areas of criminal law, private law, and economics. This event will be held in Dutch.

Time: 9th March 2017, 7pm till 9.15pm

Location: Maastricht University Hoofdgebouw, Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, 6211 LK Maastricht


  • Arnoud Boot, full professor of economics at Amsterdam University
  • André Klip, full professor of criminal law at Maastricht University
  • Corien Prins, full professor of law and computerisation at Tilburg University and soon chairwoman of WRR
  • Jan Smits, full professor of private law at Maastricht University

This symposium and the debate will be moderated by Corien Prins.

Free registration is required. Please click here.

Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology (Pavia, 8 February)

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Catalina Goanta, Consumer Law, Contract Law, European Integration, European Private Law, Legal Education, MEPLI, Online Shopping | 0 comments

On 8 February I had the pleasure to accompany Jan Smits for a visit to Pavia, where we gave a presentation titled ‘Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology’, on the third day of the Innovating Legal Studies and Practice Winter School 2017.