PhD Position in the Behavioural Assumptions of Lawyers in Europe

Amsterdam, Netherlands
13 Jan 2019
End of advertisement period
25 Jan 2019
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Law, Psychology, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Amsterdam Law School – Center for Jurisprudence 

Level of education Master's degree
Salary indication €2,325 and €2,972 gross per month
Closing date 25 January 2019
Hours 38 hours per week 

The University of Amsterdam’s Law School prides itself on its international orientation and strong social commitment. This is reflected by both its research and educational activities. The Amsterdam Law School offers three Bachelor’s programmes, including the interdisciplinary English-language Bachelor Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) in cooperation with two other Faculties, as well as a variety of Master's programmes, several of which are taught exclusively in English (i.e. International and European Law, European Private Law, International Criminal Law, and Law & Finance). The Amsterdam Law School prepares students for a wide variety of legal careers including law firms, government, business and industry, the national and international judiciary, public service, human rights advocacy, and academia. With 3,700 students and over 400 staff members, it is one of the largest law faculties in the Netherlands.

Project description

In May 2019 a five year research project will be launched, entitled ‘Homo Juridicus, Correcting Law’s Behavioural Illiteracy’. The research project is directed by Benjamin van Rooij, professor in Law and Society, and is financed by the European Union, European Research Council (ERC), by means of a consolidator grant.

The project seeks to develop a behavioural jurisprudence that makes the law’s behavioural function in shaping future conduct central. To do so it empirically studies assumptions that selected lawyers (prosecutors, regulators and corporate counsel) have about how their work shapes behaviour. It compares these assumptions with available scientific knowledge to unearth and correct the biases and flaws in how lawyers think about behaviour.

The project will be embedded within the Faculty of Law’s Amsterdam Paul Scholten Center for Jurisprudence.

For this research the Amsterdam Law School is seeking three PhD candidates. This vacancy is for PhD project 1.

PhD project 1 will focus on the behavioral assumptions of lawyers in Europe, with a preliminary focus on the Netherlands, France and Belgium. It focuses on prosecutors, regulators (tax, environmental and securities) as well as corporate compliance managers.

The PhD researcher will operationalize this research and work with the two other PhDs, a Postdoc and the PI to develop the survey instrument that is to be used in all three projects.

The PhD researcher will carry out 12 months of fieldwork in selected locations in the EU (most likely in the Netherlands, France and Belgium) and with the help of the PI will develop a network of contexts that allow access to the lawyers studied.

The PhD researcher will do qualitative and larger scale survey interviews with these lawyers to assess their behavioral assumptions and to compare these with existing scientific knowledge that has been summarized in a different project by the PI and the Postdoctoral researcher.

The PhD researcher will then code and analyze the data and use it to develop papers that will culminate in a PhD dissertation. In developing papers, the PhD researcher will collaborate with other team members.


The position is first and foremost a research position; yet the candidate may have the opportunity, or may be asked, to contribute to teaching activities to a limited extent in the second and possibly third year of PhD research

The selected candidate will:

  • carry out independent high-quality scientific research leading to the degree of PhD;
  • actively contribute to the ERC-project as a whole, including cooperation with the principal investigator and other researchers in the ERC-team;
  • actively contribute to the research community in the Law Faculty, in particular at PSC;
  • present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences;
  • participate in the organization of research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications;
  • show the relevance of her/his research for society and contribute to the dissemination of research results;
  • possibly contribute to teaching. 


The ideal candidate has:

  • completed a master’s degree in one of the social or behavioral sciences (preferably criminology, psychology, or sociology of law), which includes training in quantitative and qualitative research skills;
  • demonstrable research interest in law;
  • excellent command of English, Dutch, and preferably French (written and spoken);
  • interest in comparative research;
  • the ability to work in a team.

Further information

For further questions on the (VICI/PhD) project, please contact:

  • Prof. Benjamin van Rooij

For questions on the application procedure and employment conditions at the University of Amsterdam, please contact:

  • Sterre Sliedrecht
    T: +31 (0)20 525 3905


The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract for 12 months. Upon positive evaluation of the PhD students’ performance the contract will be extended by 36 months.

The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD candidates at Dutch universities, scale P (Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) ranging from €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month (full-time equivalent). Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus. 

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Your application should include:

  • a cover letter;
  • a CV;
  • contact details of 2 referees (no reference required);
  • a writing sample (for example, LLM thesis);
  • proof of your master’s degree; if you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor or University confirming the expected date of completion.

Short-listed candidates may furthermore be requested to provide their reflections on the research topic.

You may send your application, preferably in one PDF file, to the Selection committee using the link below.

Closing date is 25 January 2019. #LI-DNP

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