Postdoctoral Researcher in ERC-Project on Private-Public Arbitrations /vLex Mercatoria Publica, UvA, Netherlands

Study in:Netherlands
Deadline: 30 November 2017

Postdoctoral researcher in ERC-Project on Private-Public Arbitrations/Lex Mercatoria Publica

Amsterdam Law School

Publication date
23 October 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,588 to €4,757 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
30 November 2017
30 to 38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Amsterdam Law School is strongly engaged in society and has an international orientation, which is reflected in its research and education activities. The Law School offers three Bachelor’s programmes and a number of Master’s programmes, two of which are taught exclusively in English (i.e. International and European Law and European Private Law). With its 3,500 students and 375 staff members, it is one of the largest law faculties in the Netherlands. The Law School is located in the centre of Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam Law School is offering a position for a Postdoctoral researcher in the ERC-funded project ‘Transnational Private-Public Arbitration as Global Regulatory Governance: Charting and Codifying the Lex Mercatoria Publica’, coordinated by Prof. Stephan Schill. The project is conducted within the framework of the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL), one of the centres of excellence of the University of Amsterdam. ACIL aims to promote high-quality research and education on public international law. Its research programme focuses on development and application of international law and its interaction with national legal orders.

Project description

The ERC-Project in question analyses the rising phenomenon of transnational arbitrations between private economic actors and public law bodies (based both on investment treaties and contracts between private and public actors) as a mechanism of global regulatory governance. Its aim is to uncover to which extent and under which conditions arbitrators generate the rules governing public-private relations rather independently of specific domestic legal systems and their democratic processes, and thereby prospectively steer and restrict government conduct. The body of law crafted by arbitral tribunals is what the Project designates as ‘lex mercatoria publica’. The Project aims at describing and analyzing the content of the lex mercatoria publica and develop, through comparative law research, normative criteria to assess the legitimacy of private-public arbitrations in democratic societies that are based on the rule of law.

During its first phase the project has explored the conditions under which different domestic legal systems permit private-public arbitrations in order to assess whether general principles of law governing private-public arbitration can be distilled. In the next step, for which the post-doc researcher will be employed, the project will engage in empirical research into the practice of arbitral tribunals deciding private-public arbitrations, in particular contract-based disputes. The postdocs tasks will involve research into published and the collection of unpublished decisions and awards of arbitral tribunals in public-private arbitrations. This research is intended to be done in close interaction with major arbitration institutions, international law firms engaged in private-public arbitrations, and international arbitrators sitting in these cases. Research stays and travel abroad may be necessary for this purpose. A central question will also be whether arbitral practice develops in the context of a worldwide frame of reference, or whether regional practices dominate. The practice of private-public arbitrations that is uncovered during this stage of the research will be the basis for getting a clearer picture of the principles and rules forming part of the lex mercatoria publica.

The postdoctoral researcher is expected to undertake research independently and work towards the publication of a research monograph or several publications in leading international journals. The researcher will benefit from committed research supervision by the project leader as well as interaction with other researchers in the lively and supportive intellectual environment of ACIL, a centre of excellence at the University of Amsterdam’s Law Faculty, which has since long enjoyed a strong, international reputation for critical innovation in legal research.

The postdoctoral researcher will:

  • engage in independent scientific research that will result in high-quality publications in leading international journals;
  • actively contribute to the research community at ACIL and the Law School, e.g. in research meetings and seminars;
  • may also (but will not be required to) lecture on subjects in the Law School’s curriculum;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • participate in the organization of research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications.


The researcher:

  • has completed a PhD degree at the start of the employment;
  • has demonstrable research interest in international arbitration, both commercial and treaty-bases, and its theory;
  • will, ideally, also have knowledge of (comparative) administrative and constitutional law in respect of private-public arbitration;
  • has an xcellent command of English (written and spoken);
  • has an interest in cross-disciplinary research and ability to work in a team.

Further information

To discuss the position informally, please contact:

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The postdoctoral researcher’s appointment will be for the period of one year. The appointment can commence as soon as possible, but no later than 1 March 2018. The gross full-time monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for postdoctoral researchers at Dutch universities, scales 10 and 11, ranging from €2,588 up to €4,757. Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement (cao) for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

To apply please submit the following items in Word or PDF format electronically to, attn. selection committee:

  • a cover letter;
  • a CV;
  • the contact details of 2 referees;
  • proof of your Master’s and PhD degrees, including grade transcripts. If you have not completed your PhD degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion;
  • a writing sample of no more than 50 pages in total, such as one chapter of the PhD thesis or a scholarly paper;
  • a research proposal indicating a project of independent research that the applicant wishes to pursue during his or her tenure.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications including the research proposal is 30 November 2017. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

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