Research & Impact

Research projects

‘Citizen Energy Communities’: Exploring Innovative Private Relationships for Ensuring Public Goals in the EU Energy Sector
Principle investigator: Dr. Lea Diestelmeier

The public – private dimension has always been central to the energy sector. The first energy systems in the 1880s were often privately owned. However, with the upscaling of technology, economies of scale, and the growing importance of energy for society, it was a political choice to nationalise energy supply systems. Vertically integrated public companies were assigned the task of energy supply and were responsible for facilitating public goals. Commencing in the 1990s, the liberalization of the EU energy sector progressively unbundled network operation from production and supply, and public interests had to be explicitly assigned to different actors.

With the progression of the energy transition, however, new actors are entering the scene. Especially at local levels, a variety of stakeholders engage in the energy sector. The EU directive on the internal electricity market (2019/944/EU) introduces “Citizen Energy Communities” (CEC) (art. 2(11)) which brings together public and private actors in one entity. CECs are envisaged to take on a novel role in the energy sector by combining public “community” interests with private structures. This requires (re-)defining and evaluating the public – private dimension in the context of the liberalised energy sector and the aim to facilitate the role of CEC in the energy transition.

The Forced Sale of Homes
Principle investigator: dr. Irene Visser

The forced sale of registered property needs to be avoided as much as possible, because most of the time it entails losses and unnecessary transaction costs. However, such a sale is sometimes unavoidable. In these cases, it is important that the forced sale system works properly. This is of relevance in the first place for those directly involved: the mortgage lender (the creditor) and the owner (the debtor). But there are also public interests involved, like the financing of homes and financial stability. This research aims to develop a sustainable system of forced sales, which will lead to the optimal regulation of all public and private interests involved and that will be resistant against future economic and financial crises. This goal fits within the domain of a sustainable society. Important aspects of the Law Sector Plan are involved, like the question which level of regulation (public or private actors) is preferable, and the question whether it is better to give the debtor an active role in the forced sale procedures. Other disciplines, like economics, social and spatial sciences, will be involved in this research.

Sub project: Impact of ECHR on the forced sale of homes
Principal Investigator: Dr. Irene Visser

International human rights law is important for the forced sale of homes. More and more case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) shows the influence of Art. 1 of the First Protocol and Art. 8 ECHR on the forced sale of homes. This project investigates the influence of this case law in forced sale procedures, especially the (Dutch) procedures in which only private actors are involved.

The Rise of AI: The Interplay Between Transparency and Intellectual Property
Principle Investigator: Ida Varosanec LLM

The widespread utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) necessitates regulation to enable trust in such systems through the transparency of AI processes. However, intellectual property (IP) rights impede achieving transparency. Since the current state of affairs in the protection of AI (and human-generated works) where trade secrets are the most common current tool of regulation, self-regulatory arrangements impact society in a way that exacerbates mistrust in AI. Moreover, the increased use of AI in the automation of public services necessitates transparency guarantees, even when relying on private contractors who wish to maintain IP protection of their technology.

The present research delves into this unstudied problem that is currently placing the public interest of transparency in opposition with the private interest governed by the traditional narrative of IP law. As such, it is at the intersection between public and private law, and public and private interests. Since the European Union (EU) is in the process of developing AI regulation, there is a need to rethink and re-represent these interests. Hence, this research project seeks to ascertain the possibility of their coexistence within the evolving EU framework for AI, which lacks clarity on legal requirements for transparency and the role of IP rights in the regulation of AI.

Cracking the Code: A Multilevel, Good Governance Approach to Business, Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence
Principal investigator: Dr. Lottie Lane

The way in which public interests are protected in private relationships requires rethinking, as existing modes of protection are insufficient in the protection of human rights from businesses developing artificial intelligence – this was not envisaged in the current international human rights law framework, in which there are significant gaps in protection. These gaps pertain not only to the vast and fast-paced developments in technological capabilities that continue to occur, but also to the position of businesses under international human rights law. Although developments to ensure human rights protection from businesses are ongoing (e.g., the development of EU legislation on mandatory human rights due diligence for businesses) and new governance initiatives have been adopted, these are typically ad hoc and many are responses to a particular situation giving rise to an acute need for regulation. Crucially, the precise human rights responsibilities of businesses developing AI require clarification.

So far, responses to the problem of AI and human rights have been rather disjointed, overlapping governance activities by an abundance of actors, including academics, private companies, international organisations, governmental bodies, and (coalitions of) experts. Such governance efforts are to be applauded and are certainly of value. However, the effective protection of human rights requires the rethinking of existing regulatory models to improve coordination, more comprehensive protection, and a more concrete and coordinated governance system capable of adaptability and flexibility as AI technology continues to evolve and pose new challenges to human rights protection.

This project seeks to provide some solutions to these issues by addressing the following primary research question using a law-and-governance approach: In the absence of a comprehensive governance regime for AI and human rights and in light of the key position of private companies therein, how can a multi-level good governance approach be applied to best regulate AI and ensure its compatibility with human rights? This includes consideration of: the human rights responsibilities of businesses developing AI; existing governance activities that have been taken in relation to AI and human rights; the meaning of ‘good governance’ and what this requires in the present context; how a multi-level governance system could be organised here and the role of different actors therein; and the measures that should be taken under such an approach to better protect individuals’ human rights.

Good governance, health and the human rights responsibilities of public and private actors
Principle Investigator: Dr. Lottie Lane

Ensuring good governance and the effective protection of human rights requires an understanding of accountability, transparency and participation as core elements of good governance. In the field of health, and in particular areas such as access to medicine and tobacco control, the private sector can wield a huge amount of influence over public actors. This necessitates paying particular attention to businesses operating in these spheres, and especially how good governance and international human rights law apply to them. Additionally, States’ incorporation of good governance and human rights standards into domestic law in the field of health requires further examination.

Insolvency without liquidation
Principal Investigator: Dr. Arpi Karapetian

Following the entering into force of the ‘Act on Dutch Court Confirmation of Extrajudicial Restructuring Plans to avert Bankruptcy’ (Wet homologatie onderhands akkoord, WHOA) on 1 January 2021, the need for balancing public interests of business rescue and private interests of creditors has become highly significant. The new procedure offers failing companies a new restructuring tool according to which they may offer their creditors and shareholders a plan to restructure their debts. The procedure contains a court ratification of the plan in which classes of creditors and shareholders can be overruled. With the WHOA, Dutch insolvency law now contains a new insolvency procedure in addition to the existing liquidation procedure (faillissementsprocedure). The new procedure is designed to avert liquidation. As a result, many questions arise regarding the nature of insolvency, the interrelationship between the different insolvency procedures and their influence on rules in liability law, contract law, property law and criminal law.

These issues surrounding insolvency and the restructuring of failing companies, specifically illustrate that public interests have the potential to affect private relationships. In recent years, public interests of business rescue and job preservation have found their way into insolvency law where traditionally private interests of creditors dominated the legal discourse. The emergence of public interests in insolvency law gives rise to different questions that touch upon the taunt relationship between public interests and private interests. In the search for answering the above mentioned questions, this project seeks to establish a balanced approach where both public interests and private interests are considered.

Individual Rights and Public Interests in Collective Redress
Principle Investigator: Pim Wissink LLM

Recent years have seen an increasing adoption of collective redress mechanisms by European nations in response to the challenges posed by mass damages cases. Like traditional individual redress, collective redress primarily aims to protect private interests by providing effective relief to individuals who suffered some harm due to, for example, violations of consumer law. By enabling qualified entities to sue for damages on behalf of a group of victims, practical barriers that prevent individuals from vindicating their rights, such as cost or inexperience, can be overcome, thus improving access to justice. However, collective redress mechanisms are often also intended to advance certain public interests, such as effective private enforcement of the law and reducing the burden that mass damages cases impose on courts.

In many ways, collective redress is a shift away from the traditional private law paradigm. Its large-scale and collective nature necessitates mandatory group representation and a ‘generalized’ judicial assessment, which is at odds with traditional private law notions of individual autonomy and individual justice. Moreover, any one individuals’ private interests are no longer central to the proceedings, but will instead have to contend with (potentially divergent) collective and public interests. Therefore, the collectivization of private law redress warrants a rethinking of the individual’s legal position.

Restricting Choice Of Law in EU Consumer Contracts: Still Necessary to Protect the Consumer?
Principle Investigator: Benedikt Schmitz LLM

Traditionally, Private International Law (PIL) is value neutral. If one were to believe Savigny, PIL should not consider the contents of a contractual relationship. Savigny uses multilateral conflict rules. These rules point towards the country in which a certain connecting factor is situated. Savigny is the starting point of PIL in the EU, but the EU frequently deviates from Savigny.

EU PIL aims at protecting the consumer. Art. 6(2) Rome I Regulation grants parties the possibility to choose the applicable law. Yet, the mandatory rules of the place of habitual residence of the consumer can continue to apply if these rules provide better consumer protection. On one hand, there is the public interest of consumer protection. On the other hand, there is the private interest of freedom of contract and party autonomy. Additionally, the rule in Art 6(2) might be too inefficient from a PIL perspective.

The EU protects consumers through other ways than PIL, too. Consumer law legislation is already doing that on a substantive level. The question therefore is: Do we still need the restrictions of Art. 6(2) to protect the consumer? The hypothesis is: no.

The Public-Private Challenge: The Horizontal Effect of Fundamental Rights in Private Relationships
*partly funded by Sectorplan
Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Dr. Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi

This project explores, from an innovative angle, a classic interaction between public interests and private relationships: the effects of fundamental rights and (public) constitutional principles on the adjudication of private litigations. It embraces both a comparative law and a EU law dimension. Firstly, it critically compares different theories, practices and cultures of the effects of fundamental rights and constitutional principles in private relationships at a national level in a number of European countries. Secondly, it investigates the direct effects of EU fundamental rights in private relationships at the EU level.

Classification Societies and the Public Interest.
Principle investigator: Vivian van der Kuil

Classification societies have been the subject of various studies over the years. These studies provide a useful analysis of the development and current position of classification societies in the maritime world and a description of recent developments in legislation pertaining to classification societies.

Authors such as Lagoni and Goebel recognized that classification societies have a rather special position as privately owned commercial organizations working for the shipowner as well as for the flag state of a vessel simultaneously. These authors also recognized that there may be a potential conflict of interest due to this dual role. Especially, since public functions on behalf of the flag state are carried out on the basis of a private contract paid by the shipowner and classification societies economically dependent on shipowners and other parties within the maritime industry. At the same the classification activities undertaken by classification societies may have direct and severe consequences for exactly these parties.

The position of classification societies can be seen as part of a wider known phenomenon that privately owned commercially operating organizations are used to conduct public tasks. Other examples are certifiers engaged with consumer safety, credit rating agencies, chartered accountants and private security companies that are used to guard prisons or private armed guards placed on board ships in areas where piracy takes place. These private parties often provide higher quality, less bureaucracy, and greater efficiency and expertise in often (technical) complex subject matters. But it also raises questions regarding their independence, integrity and how to deal with questions pertaining to the liability of these organizations in case things go wrong. This research will focus on these questions by conducting legal doctrinal research combined with interviews of relevant persons working in the maritime industry.

This research follows from a cooperative research project that was commissioned by the Rotterdam Triangle Plus (Municipality, Customs, Police, Public Prosecutor) and conducted in 2018-2019. Ever since the researchers involved have continued working on projects related to drugs smuggling in the port of Rotterdam. This has resulted in several publications (see overview of publications) but also in various engagements with public and private stakeholders in and around the (Rotterdam) port and in news media mentionings about this research. An overview of activities since 2019:

  • 30 November 2021 – Keynote ‘De aanpak van ondermijnende criminaliteit in havens’ voor Webinar North Sea Port De haven en haar ‘license to operate’
  • 8 November 2021 – Paneldeelname in Talkshow Vers Beton Live over cocainehandel en de impact op de stad
  • 14 & 15 October 2021 – Mini-lecture on Vulnerabilities for drug crime in Dutch sea ports, Ports of Moerdijk & Terneuzen.
  • 2 June 2021 – Presentation on Public-Private Partnerships in the port of Rotterdam for Havenbazen stocktakes, Gemeente Rotterdam
  • 26 March 2021 – Keynote for Information Sharing Center ZeBra (Zeeland – West-Brabant) Kick-off
  • 24/26 November 2020 – Bijtende Bende livestream on waste from drug crime (synthetic drugs) organized by Trimbos institute and Studium Generale TU Eindhoven
  • January 2020 – Studio Erasmus mini-lecture on Drugs crime in Port of Rotterdam used in info-graphic of City of Rotterdam about approach to undermining/subversive crime
  • 15 January 2020 – Workshop on vulnerabilities for crime in the port of Rotterdam for Nationale Nederlanden, Corporate Security & Investigations
  • 21 November 2019 – City of Rotterdam Commission on Safety and Public Order, answering questions from members of City Council
  • 15 July 2019 – Seminar on ports and drugs, organized by City of Rotterdam
  • June 2019 – Feedback given to scenario writer Glen Rider about TV series ‘Ponies’ (airs in 2020) about drugs smuggling in Dutch and Belgian ports (Submarine TV, via AVROTROS)

News media mentioning:

Environmental crime and governance has been a core topic of research for Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop throughout her carreer. Aside from engaging in fundamental research projects, publishing about the results and organising yearly research seminars for her academic peers, she has also engaged with policy makers.

  • 15-22 September 2020 – Member of Expert Panel for review of Education for Justice Module “Forest and natural resources crime” – United Nations Organization for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • 2019-2022: International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) – member of the panels on Green Criminology and People and the Ocean
  • 21 September 2022 – Environmental Crime & Gender seminar – co-organizer
  • 20 May 2022 – Using the law to save the planet – co-organizer
  • 17 September 2019 – Environmental Crime & Power seminar – co-organizer

New power (im)balances? Power dynamics within online open-source investigations of international crimes.
Principle investigator: Isabella Regan, MSc.

Due to digitalisation and rising internet-usage, private actors have access to an overabundance of online information about potential criminal behaviour and can easily access tools and technologies to collect, verify and store this information. As a result, private actors increasingly interfere with criminal investigations by collecting information on the internet and handing this over to public investigatory bodies, such as the police. These developments have led to the rise of private actors, independently or as part of online networks, collecting and verifying content relevant to criminal investigations. This development can be described as the rise of private online open-source investigations, in which information freely available on the internet is used to investigate potential criminal acts.

A field in which this development can particularly be witnessed is that of international criminal investigations that focus on collecting evidence on war crimes or other severe crimes. The emergence of private online investigations may offer somewhat of a solution for investigatory issues public investigatory bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, have previously faced (e.g. security issues, unreliable witnesses, unavailability of information or denial of access). However, the interference of private actors in these criminal investigations may have implications for issues such as reliability, privacy, ownership of content or the chain of evidence. Moreover, the (lack of an official) position of private actors within the international legal context may raise questions on what their role should and can be (legally, practically and ethically speaking) and whether this development has led (or will lead) to a shift in public-private power dynamics in this field.

This PhD research therefore focuses on the concept of ‘power’ within public and private online open-source investigations of international crimes. Using qualitative research methods, the research first aims to examine what constitutes power within these types of investigations and, considering the dynamic and international context in which they occur, identify a framework for power analysis. Second, the research aims to explore how and whether power dynamics have shifted and what these potential changes may imply for (the legal practice of) international criminal investigations. By choosing a case study approach and utilizing in-depth interviews, the project hopes to gain insight into the mechanisms of power, (dis)empowerment and resistance within the context of online open-source investigations of international crimes.

Public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement
Principal researcher: mr. D.G.J. Grimmelikhuijzen

The question that is central to this research project is: how can corporations be involved in an appropriate and effective manner in criminal law enforcement of anti-fraud regulation in the Netherlands? This question is relevant, as fraud is a major and increasing problem in society, and (criminal law) enforcement against it is severely lacking. To ensure the proper functioning of current and future partnerships, a framework will have to be developed to guide adequate enforcement of anti-fraud regulation while still respecting the safeguards that have been developed in the context of criminal law. In order to design such a framework, several steps will be taken in the research.

First, a theoretical foundation will be laid on the basis of literature study of the theoretical underpinnings of public-private partnership and the Dutch system of criminal (procedural) law. On the basis of this research an inventory will be made regarding the possibilities and limitations of public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement. From this, several (preliminary) hypotheses and focal points will be developed which will be tested in the next phase of the research.

In the second phase of the research, two case studies will be done on innovative use of public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement. The cases will be VODIOM and the proeftuin verzekeringsfraude (test case insurance fraud). These cases have been selected because they represent efforts at the frontier of what is currently possible and acceptable in public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement. In the case of VODIOM, a conglomerate of (corporate) interest groups plan to set up a database to share information with regard to suspicious accounts, based on the UK example of CIFAS where such a database has been in use successfully for years. The other case is that of the proeftuin verzekeringsfraude, where the public prosecution office has worked together with insurance companies in order to bring cases of insurance fraud before the court where the majority or all the investigative work has been done by the companies themselves. This test case has led to several criminal judgments, with mixed results.  

On the basis of the previous phases of the research, a final framework will be devised for public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement in the Netherlands. The aim hereby is to establish, from a legal point of view, whether, and if so, how public-private partnership in criminal law enforcement can and should be conducted. 

Principal investigator: Dr Ioannis Kampourakis

This project explores the role of the Rule of Law in the face of rising private powers – most prominently transnational corporate actors. Starting from a teleological understanding of the rule of law, this project is premised on the assumption that private power is a rule of law concern as much as public power. One way of applying the rule of law to private power would be to limit instances of ‘lawlessness’ and arbitrariness through formal requirements and procedural guarantees. However, a core conceptual premise of this project is that private power is, to a significant extent, constituted by law in the first place. As such, the broader project examines the ways in which law constitutes private power, as well as what how the law may function as a vehicle for social transformation. One area of focus has been the regulation and governance of Global Value Chains. My research has attempted to demonstrate the conceptual underpinnings of recent ‘corporate sustainability’ laws, the shortcomings associated with their extraterritorial effects, and the ways in which public law and the rule of law – as a normative framework – could repurpose GVCs. Another area of focus has been the shift to ‘green’ industrial policies, their potential to instrumentalize markets for public interest objectives, and the extent to which they constitute a new iteration of public-private relations.

Principal Investigator: Michał Stambulski

This project aims to explore ways of defining and shaping public values under populist power. I am primarily interested in the (1) interactions of non-state actors with populist state and (2) the legal tools the actors use to promote their public values as well as the (3) reaction of international organizations for this development. The study is intended to provide a theoretical description of the logic of the populist governance of public values.

This project hypothesises that contrary to authoritarianism, the populist state does not monopolize the possibility of defining public values but shares this competence with non-public actors. The populist power selects those actors who share its general normative orientation (e. g. criticism of liberalism and conservative worldview) and then gives such actors part of its competence in defining values that should be protected. However, such definitions become part of the public sphere only when they are translated into judicial practice. Until then, they are only political definitions that can be neutralized by the judiciary. Opposition by other actors (business, NGOs and international courts) play an important role in such counteraction.

Principal Investigator: Michał Stambulski

This project involves ethnographic research on the Polish Constitutional Court as a locus of constitutional knowledge production. The central premise of the project is the claim that the authority of the Court and the related authority of the Constitution was created from 1989 onwards as an epistemic authority with significant reliance on specific non-state actors – law faculties. The future judges were recruited from among law professors and in their official decisions they presented their knowledge as certain, based on unquestioned sources and ways of reasoning. At the same time, the pilot study already conducted (five qualitative interviews with former judges) indicate that the judges relied on multiple, different, and non-formalised sources and intuitions in their actions. Thus, in the process of establishing the authority of the Court, there was a potential incompatibility, a disjunction between the official justification of knowledge and the ways in which it was acquired. This project will explore this inconsistency and the ways in which constitutional judges have approached it.

The aim of the project is to examine the process of creating, stabilizing, and reconstructing the authority of constitutional values. The empirical material to be analyzed will be qualitative interviews with constitutional judges in Poland and the decisions issued by this court at that time. Thus, the object of the study will be the processes of introduction, creation, and negotiation of knowledge by constitutional judges, under conditions of the persistence of multiple constitutional and political traditions (communism, dissident ethics, liberal democracy). Starting from a local example of Poland, the project will be directed, through comparative element, to achieve general, global results concerning creation and maintenance of constitutional knowledge and values.

Principal investigator: Dr. María Campo Comba

This project explores the rebalancing of public and private interests debate from the EU competition law perspective. It aims at exploring how EU competition law and private self-regulation can complement each other in the pursuing of important public interests.  On the one hand, this project focuses on the potential of self-regulation agreements in achieving public interests and whether and to which extent EU competition law rules should allow this type of agreements. The main discussion in this regard takes place in the context of the role of competition law in achieving sustainability objectives and whether agreements among private actors pursuing sustainability objectives should be allowed. Some of the principal questions that this project is tackling in this regard are: to which extent should EU competition law pursue consumer welfare and economic efficiency; to which extent can and should EU competition law promote sustainability objectives; and which are the possible and most adequate paths to do so. Another area of focus are the challenges that the digital market and Big Tech bring to the current EU competition law approach, and how to regulate them. The challenges brought by the digital market and the power of Big Tech -a power that goes beyond traditional market power- are difficult to tackle within the consumer welfare approach to competition law, which focuses on economic efficiencies and does not integrate non-market interests (such as data privacy).  My research shows the existent difficulties to deal with modern market challenges that are linked to societal challenges involving public interests, and it is aimed towards developing a progressive legal thinking of competition law in accordance with reality and with those current societal and market challenges.

Principal investigator: Enrique Santamaría Echeverría

The proposed research project explores, from a theoretical and practical perspective, how private law (property rights, intellectual property, licenses, and other contracts) can be used to develop models to lay down the legal foundation for the construction and further protection of the commons arising from the use and exchange of health data and human biological materials (hereafter HBM) in scientific research.

In particular, the project objective is to determine how, and to what extent, the interplay between private law and the commons is instrumental in: a) (re-)balancing the public and private interests of stakeholders in scientific research (human subjects, scientists, businesses, and society at large); b) protecting and promoting individual and collective human rights (human dignity, privacy, health, education, and the right to enjoy the benefits of science and scientific progress).

 More specifically, the aim of the proposed research project is threefold. Firstly, the project aims at determining whether the traditional functions of private law’s institutional arrangements can be modelled, or even subverted, to develop a commons on health data, HBM, and research results (all together included within the umbrella term human body commons). That is to say, can private law (e.g. property rights, contracts, and patents) be used against itself to guarantee open access to human body commons? Secondly, the project aims at determining what is the role that private law can play in rebalancing the public and private interests involved in the human body commons. In other words, can a private law-based model for the human body commons be used as a catalyst to foster scientific progress while at the same time guaranteeing societal access to other human rights (e.g. education and health)? Thirdly, the research aims at exploring to whether the aforementioned research objectives are compatible and functional to the protection of the human rights of the data subjects and donors of the materials.

Principal researcher: mr. D.G. van Kleef

Insights from behavioural economics have uncovered that investors do not always behave as presumed in (European) investor protection law. The rules in the investor protection regime expect investors to  mostly behave in a rational manner. In reality, however, these investors are proven to be boundedly rational: generally limited in their cognitive capacities and are often subject to a myriad of behavioural biases. In recent years, European legislators and policymakers, such as the European Commission and ESMA, have acknowledged the value of behavioural insights for investor protection laws and policy. In other words, the consumer image is starting to move towards a normative standard that increasingly considers real consumer behaviour, which is integral to the way in which consumers are approached in rules and policy.

This PhD research is focused on the fundamental regulatory and ethical themes within this structural integration of behavioural insights into law, more specifically the European investor protection regime. The road towards a more realistic perception of investors requires discussing themes such as (1) the (legal) way in which this fundamental shift take place, (2) the extent to which firms can be expected to protect investors against their own bounded rationality, (3) and the ethical discussion on the balance of consumer autonomy on the one hand, and consumer protection and paternalism on the other hand.

Integrating Environmental Sustainability into Corporate Governance Practices in the EU
Principle investigator: Seniha Irem Akin

In the midst of a multidimensional crisis with economic, social, and environmental aspects, corporations are paying close attention to their impacts on non-shareholder stakeholders. They undertake important societal roles which come not only with more power but also with great responsibility. Although the public interest debate in corporate governance is nothing new, it has come to the forefront in the past decade. The alarming state of the environment and especially, potentially irreversible effects of climate change is a primary reason for this.

The board of directors has a pivotal role in corporate governance as it is responsible for the overall strategy of the corporation. This strategy-setting power makes it a crucial actor that can have a direct impact on the corporation’s relationship with its outer world. This dynamic relationship is shaped by the private interests of the corporation and the public interest of the wider society. The conflict between these diverging interests, however, often poses an obstacle in the way of sustainable business practices.

In line with this, this research will discover the role of the board of directors in solving this conflict and the integration of environmental sustainability into corporate governance of listed companies in the EU. While doing this, it will not overlook the board`s interaction with the shareholders. Some of the main themes to be discovered will be “corporate interest” and “directors` duties”. The formulation, interpretation and the evolution of these concepts in the EU will be a major focus of this research project.


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  4. A.E. Christopoulou, ‘Consumer participation under Better Regulation Agenda: the case of Consumer Credit Directive’ [2023] 1/2023 REDC 31.
  5. A.E. Christopoulou, ‘Public Consultations Unpacked: The Commission’s participatory regime under the 2021 Better Regulation Agenda’ [2022] European Law Blog.
  6. A. Quintavalla and J. Temperman (eds), Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights (Oxford University Press 2023)
  7. A. Quintavalla, F. Kienzl and I. Samkharadze ‘The Human Right to Energy: Considerations from the Human Right to Water Experience’ (2023) 14(1) Journal of Human Rights and Environment 49;
  8. A. Quintavalla, ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Right to a Healthy Environment’ in A. Quintavalla and J. Temperman (eds), Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights (Oxford University Press 2023) 425-438;
  9. A. Quintavalla, ‘Water law and municipal water in an era of technological development’ in V. Casado Perez and R. Larson (eds), Research Agenda for Water Law (Edgar Elgar 2023) 185-204;
  10. A. Quintavalla & O. Yalnazov, ‘Regulating eco-innovation in the European Union’ (2023) Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 1;
  11. A. Quintavalla and L. Reins, ‘Ex Ante Regulation in An Era of Fast-Paced Innovation – Connecting the Time and Locus of Regulation’ CPI TechREG Chronicle (April 2023);
  12. Bisschop, L. & van Wingerde, K. (accepted). The Harms and Crimes of Waste. In H. Pontell (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.ORE_CRI-00777.
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  19. J. Essink, A. Quintavalla and J. Temperman, ‘The Indivisibility of Human Rights: An Empirical Analysis’ (2023) 23(3) Human Rights Law Review 1;
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  18. Nan, J., Grimmelikhuijzen, D., van der Vis, C., Mevis, P., Mascini, P., & Boer, VK. (2020). En plein public, Praktijk en jurisprudentie bij openlijke geweldpleging tegen functionarissen met een publieke taak. Boom Juridische Uitgevers.
  19. Purchase, D., Abbasi, G., Bisschop, L., Chatterjee, D., Ekberg, C., Ermolin, M., Fedotov, P., Garelick, H., Isimekhai, K., Kandile, N. G., Lundström, M., Matharu, A., Miller, B. W., Pineda, A., Popoola, O. E., Retegan, T., Ruedel, H., Serpe, A., Sheva, Y., Surati, K. R., Walsh, F., Wilson, B. P., & Wong, M. (2020). Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC technical report), Pure and Applied Chemistry, 92(11), 1733-67. doi:
  20. Roks, R., Bisschop, L., & Staring, R. (2020). Getting a foot in the door. Spaces of cocaine trafficking in the Port of Rotterdam. Trends in Organized Crime, 2020(October).
  21. Santamaria, E. & A. Petrucci (Eds.), Actos de disposición del cuerpo humano. Tradición jurídica romanista y perspectivas contemporáneas. (Università di Pisa & Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2020).
  22. Santamaria, E, & E. González de Cancino (Eds.), Cuerpo, Derecho y Cultura: perspectivas interdisciplinares sobre el cuerpo humano (Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2020)
  23. Santamaría, E. ‘Contract governance of human biological samples for genetic research’, (2020) 53 3 Law and the Human Genome Review: Genetics, Biotechnology and Advanced Medicine.
  24. Santamaría, E. ‘Modificaciones corporales permanentes’, in E. González de Cancino & E. Santamaria (Eds), Cuerpo, Derecho y Cultura: perspectivas interdisciplinares sobre el cuerpo humano (Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2020).
  25. Santamaría, E. ‘Autonomía y paternalismo en la comercialización de muestras biológicas humanas con fines de investigación científica’, in A. Petrucci & E. Santamaria (Eds), Actos de disposición del cuerpo humano. Tradición jurídica romanista y perspectivas contemporáneas. (Universidad Externado de Colombia & Università di Pisa, 2020).
  26. Santamaría, E. ‘El estatuto del cuerpo humano en el proyecto de Código Civil’, (2020). Blog Observatorio sobre Reforma y Vigencia del Código Civil Colombiano. Available at:
  27. Stambulski, M. (2020). Wiadomość od cesarza: Pojęcie prawa w teorii analitycznej i postanalitycznej. Warsaw, Scholar. Prawo i Teoria Społeczna Vol. 1
  28. Stambulski, M. (Author), & Kocemba, K. (Author). (2020). Divine Decision-Making: Right-Wing Constitutionalism in Poland. Web publication/site
  29. Stambulski, M., & Paździora, M. (2020). The Politics of Legal Theory and Education. In A. Sulikowski, R. Mańko, & J. Łakomy (Eds.), Legal Scholarship and the Political: In Search of a New Paradigm (pp. 41-55). Verlag Peter Lang.
  30. Staring, R., Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Brein, E., & Van de Bunt, HG. (2020). Drug crime in the Port of Rotterdam: about the phenomenon and its approach. City of Rotterdam Department of Public Safety, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Police, Customs, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  31. Swinnen, K. (2020). Horizontale natrekking bij ondergrondse gangen. Maandblad voor vermogensrecht, 2020(2), 53-62.
  32. Swinnen, K. (2020). ‘Ownership’ of data? Four recommendations for future research. Journal of Law, Property, and Society, 5(3), 139-177.
  33. Van der Kuil, V., De bijzondere positie van de classificatieorganisatie; immuniteit als belemmering voor aansprakelijkheid?- De zaak AL-SALAM BOCCACCIO ‘98, Tijdschrift Vervoer & Recht 2020-5, (pp. 138-144).
  34. van der Valk, N., Bisschop, L., & van Swaaningen, R. (2020). When Gold Speaks, Every Tongue Is Silent: The Thin Line Between Legal, Illegal, and Informal in Peru’s Gold Supply Chain. In Y. Zabyelina, & D. van Uhm (Eds.), Illegal Mining (pp. 299-327). Palgrave Macmillan.
  35. van Herk, W., & Bisschop, L. (2020). E-waste in the twilight zone between crime and survival. In Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology (2nd ed., pp. 403-420). Taylor and Francis Inc.
  36. van Wingerde, K., & Bisschop, L. (2020). Waste Away. Examining Systemic Drivers of Global Waste Trafficking Based on a Comparative Analysis of Two Dutch Cases. Erasmus Law Review, 2019(4), 1-20.
  1. L.B. Colombi Ciacchi, ‘The Direct Horizontal Effect of EU Fundamental Rights’, European Constitutional Law Review (15) 2019, p. 294-305.
  2. Bisschop, L., Roks, R. Staring, R. & Brein, E. (2019). Publiek-private samenwerking in de aanpak van drugscriminaliteit in de Rotterdamse haven, Justitiële Verkenningen, themanummer Mainports & Veiligheid, 46(5), 69-90.
  3. Schelhaas, H., Swinnen, K., & Hebly, M. (2019). Schaalvergroting in het Privaatrecht. Boom Juridische Uitgevers. Jonge Meesters
  4. Schelhaas, H., Swinnen, K., & Hebly, M. (2019). Schaalvergroting in het Privaatrecht – Inleidende perspectieven langs vier lijnen. In H. N. Schelhaas, M. R. Hebly, & K. K. E. C. T. Swinnen (Eds.), Schaalvergroting in het Privaatrecht (pp. 9-20). Boom Juridische Uitgevers. Jonge Meesters
  5. Swinnen, K. (2019). Eigendom van data? Reculer pour mieux sauter. Tijdschrift voor Privaatrecht, 2019(1), 63-105.
  6. Swinnen, K. (2019). Nota ten behoeve van de commissie voor de Justitie van het Belgisch Parlement betreffende het Wetsvoorstel d.d. 16 juli 2019 houdende invoeging van boek 3 ‘Goederen’ in het Nieuw Burgerlijk Wetboek. Hoorzitting commissie voor de Justitie – Belgian Parliament, Brussels (Belgium).
  7. Swinnen, K. (2019). The German Bundesgerichtshof’s decision on access to your deceased child’s Facebook account from a Belgian law point of view. European Review of Private Law, 27(5), 1131-1148.
  8. Swinnen, K., & Muylle, M. (2019). De contractuele fout. Die Keure.
  9. Swinnen, K., & Muylle, M. (2019). Notarieel kredietrecht. Die Keure.
  10. Staring, R., Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Brein, E., & Van de Bunt, HG. (2019). Drugscriminaliteit in de Rotterdamse haven: aard en aanpak van het fenomeen. Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
  11. Staring, R., Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Brein, E., & Van de Bunt, HG. (2019). Drugscriminaliteit in de Rotterdamse haven. Aard en aanpak van het fenomeen. Boom Juridische Uitgevers. BoomCriminologie
  12. Roks, R., & Scheepmaker, M. (2019). Inleiding. Justitiele Verkenningen, 45(5), 5-12.
  13. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Blinde vlekken bij bestrijders drugssmokkel in Rotterdamse haven’. Unknown.
  14. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Blinde vlekken bij bestrijders drugssmokkel in Rotterdamse haven’. Unknown.
  15. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘De Rotterdamse haven blijkt uitermate geschikt voor drugssmokkel’. Trouw.
  16. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Drugscriminelen hebben vrij spel in haven Rotterdam’. Telegraaf.
  17. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Drugssmokkelaars volgen havenwerkers tot aan de voordeur van hun huis’. Algemeen Dagblad.
  18. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Nieuwe aanpak nodig tegen drugs in de haven’. Unknown.
  19. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Onderzoekers naar drugssmokkel: sluit lakse bedrijven in de Rotterdamse haven’. Unknown.
  20. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Rotterdamse havenbedrijven melden drugssmokkel-incidenten liever niet’. NRC Handelsblad.
  21. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Rotterdamse haven nauwelijks opgewassen tegen mondiale drugshandel: bazen blijven buiten schot’. De Volkskrant.
  22. Bisschop, L., Staring, R., Roks, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Waarom er steeds weer recordvangsten coke in de Rotterdamse haven zijn’. Erasmus Magazine.
  23. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., Brein, E., & Bunt, H. (2019). Quotes in artikel ‘Cocaïnesmokkel stoppen kan Rotterdam niet in z’n eentje’. Trouw.
  24. Bisschop, L., Roks, R., Staring, R., & Brein, E. (2019). Uitdagingen in publiek-private samenwerking in de aanpak van drugscriminaliteit in de Rotterdamse haven. Justitiele Verkenningen, 45(5), 69-90.
  25. van Wingerde, K., & Bisschop, L. (2019). Waste Away. Examining Systemic Drivers of Global Waste Trafficking Based on a Comparative Analysis of Two Dutch Cases. Erasmus Law Review, 2019(4).
  26. Grimmelikhuijzen, D.G.J. (2019) – Culpoze gevolgsdelicten: een thematische beschouwing, Delikt en Delinkwent, 2019, 486-512
  27. Campo Comba, M. (2019). EU Private International Law on the Law Applicable to Cross-border Contracts involving Weaker Contracting Parties: Towards EU Market Integration?. Universiteit Groningen.
  28. Kampourakis, I. (2019). CSR and Social Rights: Juxtaposing Societal Constitutionalism and Rights-Based Approaches Imposing Human Rights Obligations on Corporations. Goettingen Journal of International Law, 9(3), 537-569.
  29. Kampourakis, I. (Author). (2019). Law and Political Economy in Europe: Transnationalizing the Discourse. Web publication/site, LPE Blog.
  30. Kampourakis, I. (Author). (2019). The Role of the State in Disrupting the Distribution of Power Within GVCs. Web publication/site, LPE Blog.
  31. Amtenbrink, F., & Repasi, R. (2019). G7, G20 and global summits. Shortcomings and solutions in informal international governance. In R. A. Wessel, & J. Odermatt (Eds.), Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations (pp. 338-359). Edward Elgar Publishing. Research Handbooks in International Law series
  32. Stambulski, M., Czarnota, A., & Jezierska, J. (2019). Collective Memories, Institutions and Law. Journal of the Polish Section of IVR, (2019/3), 6-23.
  33. Stambulski, M. (2019). Nostalgic Constitutional Identity. Journal of the Polish Section of IVR, (2019/3), 95-107.
  34. Stambulski, M., & Czarnota, A. (2019). The Janus Face of Constitutionalism. Krytyka Prawa, (1/2019), 18-26. 10.7206/kp.2080-1084.272

Grants and awards


  • Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis, assistant professor at Erasmus School of Law, was awarded the Veni Grant of €280,00 for the 3-year individual research project “Designing the Law of Green Growth: Critical Raw Materials and the Public Function of Markets”, by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The proposal ranked 2nd in the panel ‘Law and public administration’. The project is envisaged to start in 2024. 

  • Prof.dr. Lieselot Bisschop, professor at Erasmus School of Law, was awarded the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) on subversive crime, for the “Focusing On the Right Things in the Port Of Rotterdam” (FORT-PORT) project, together with prof.dr. Karin van Wingerde, prof.dr. Richard Staring and dr. Robby Roks.

  • Dr. Martijn Schippers, associate professor at Erasmus School of Law, was awarded a NWO KIC grant for the research “Tackling ‘Fixophobia’: Improving Repair Practices for Consumer Electronics”. 

  • Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis, assistant professor at Erasmus School of Law, was awarded a grant of €10,000 by “Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity” for the organisation of the “Law and Political Economy in Europe Summer Acadamy” at the Erasmus School of Law.


  • Dr Ioannis Kampourakis, assistant professor at Erasmus School of Law, and Dr Anna Chadwick (University of Glasgow) were awarded a grant of €193,000 by Partners for a New Economy to develop the Law and Political Economy in Europe network. ‘Law and Political Economy in Europe’ will constitute a platform for academics, practitioners, and activists seeking to highlight and challenge the distributive effects of legal regimes, to use the law as an instrument for social transformation, and to engage in institutional imagination for the construction of a more democratic political economy. A number of events are already planned, including a Training Workshop on Strategic Litigation in Spring 2023 and a Summer Academy at the end of June 2023 – both taking place at Erasmus School of Law.

  • Dr. Lea Diestelmeier received, as co-applicant, main applicant Dr. Bardia Mashhoodi (Wageningen University and Research) received a grant awarded by NWO under the call “Energy transition as a socio-technical challenge”. Project title: “Flexible Energy Communities:  Coupling e-mobility and energy communities (FlexECs)”. The grant will fund a PhD position for 4 years and a post-doctoral researcher for 2 years both in energy law. The project is envisaged to start in autumn 2022 and will last for 4 years.

  • Dr. Lea Diestelmeier received a grant together with Prof. Dr. Linda Steg and Dr. Goda Perlaviciute (both Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, RUG) awarded by the Ubbo Emmius Foundation under the M20 Call. Project title: “Adaptive participatory strategies to foster acceptability and fairness in bottom-up energy initiatives”. The project will fund an interdisciplinary (law and psychology) PhD position. The project is envisaged to start in early 2023 and will last for 4 years.


  • Benedikt Schmitz LL.M. (REPP-funded) received a grant awarded by the Belgian Tijdschrift voor Privaatrecht to organise a conference on weaker party protection, private international law, and EU and national substantive law.
  • Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop, together with Prof. Dr. Karin van Wingerde (Erasmus School of Law) received a research grant from the Research and Documentation Center (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks- en Documentatiecentrum, WODC) to study the Facilitation of organised crime by governnments (January – October 2021) (65,000 euro).
  • Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop, together with dr. Yogi Hendlin (Erasmus School of Law) were granted funding within the Erasmus Initiative on Dynamics of Inclusive Prospertity for a 3 year postdoctoral research project on Drivers, dynamics and governance of environmental harms connected to the synthetic chemical substances per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (September 2021-August 2024). 


  • Dr. Lea Diestelmeier (REPP-funded), as co-applicant (main applicants Dr. Tineke van der Schoor and Lies Oldenhof from the Hanze University of Applied Science) received a RAAK-mkb grant awarded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Project title: “Cooperatief in balans: Innovatieve duurzame energiediensten”. Duration: January 2021-December 2023.
  • Dr. Arpi Karapetian (REPP-funded) received the Wierenga-Rengerink Dissertation Prize 2019, awarded by the University of Groningen.
  • Dr. Arpi Karapetian, as one of the main applicants (other main applicants included Prof. Dr. Frank Verstijlen and Prof. Dr. Loes Lennarts), received a grant awarded by the Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC). Project topic: the position of unsecured creditors in insolvency. Duration: December 2020-June 2021.
  • Dr. Lottie Lane, as co-applicant, received the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research workshop organisation grant awarded by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research for an international workshop on “Artificial Intelligence: The New Frontier of Business and Human Rights” (scheduled for fall 2021).


  • Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop, as co-applicant received funding from the Research and Documentation Center (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks- en Documentatiecentrum, WODC) for a commissioned research project Procesevaluation and action research about strengthening the approach to ‘undermining criminality’ (June 2019 – October 2021) (Procesevaluatie en actieonderzoek versterking aanpak ondermijnende criminaliteit). Research team: Prof. Hans Nelen (UMaastricht), dr. Karin van Wingerde (ESL), dr. Moerland (UMaastricht) (175,000 euro).
  • Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop received Erasmus Trustfund grant for Seminar “Environmental crime & Power” (500 euro).
  • Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop received Outstanding Article Award 2019 of the American Society of Criminology, Division of White-Collar and Corporate Crime for article “Getting Into Deep Water: Coastal Land Loss and State-Corporate Crime in the Louisiana Bayou” published in the British Journal of Criminology with co-authors prof. Dr. Staci Strobl and dr. Julie Viollaz.
  • Dr. Irene Visser, as co-applicant (main applicants Prof. Dr. Leon Verstappen and Prof. Dr. Wilbert Kolkman) received a research grant awarded by the Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC) in 2019. Project topic: the acceptance of the current maintenance obligation under Dutch law.

University of Groningen
Faculty of Law
Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Law
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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