Elbert de Jong appointed as Professor of Private Law at Utrecht University

Elbert de Jong

As of 1 September 2020, Elbert de Jong is appointed as Professor of Private Law at Utrecht University. He currently works at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law.

In the coming years, De Jong will focus on the interaction between private law and complex societal challenges. One could in particular think of challenges in the context of public health and the environment, innovation and sustainability.

Climate change issues

On the one hand, he will address the question as to what extent several areas of private law are equipped for dealing with a specific societal challenge, given the multi-layered structure, goals and substantive rules of private law. Think of questions relating to the application of private law doctrines to climate change issues.

Next, there is for instance the question whether private law is well enough equipped for dealing with issues relating to the circular economy. Also, one could question to what extent private law provides enough clarity about issues relating to responsibility and liability for autonomous intelligent systems.

The societal effects of private law

On the other hand, there is the empirical and regulatory question whether, and if so, how private law can limit the negative effects and/or accommodate the positive effects of specific societal developments. For instance, to what extent can private law mechanisms lead to safer innovation? And what are the societal effects of private law proceedings against private actors (for instance Shell) in the context of climate change? Here, there underlying question as well is how societal effects of private law should be legally weighed. 

Elbert de Jong

In 2016, De Jong successfully defended his PhD thesis on Precautionary Duties in Tort Law, at Utrecht University. In 2017, he was awarded a NWO-Rubicon grant for research on judicial risk regulation through civil law at Oxford University. He furthermore published on public authority liability and human rights, the meaning of macro-effects in judicial law making, product liability and the preliminary ruling procedure in Dutch civil law. 

I hope to contribute to the further development and innovation of Utrecht's multidimensional research.

Alumnus Utrecht Law College

The Utrecht University School of Law is particularly pleased to be able to engage a creative and innovative researcher like De Jong for a longer period of time. He has also been trained entirely in 'Utrecht law', he is the first alumnus of the Utrecht Law College that becomes a professor. De Jong himself is delighted with his appointment: 'I identify very strongly with the Utrecht vision, in which there is plenty of room for new ideas and multidimensional research. In the coming years I hope to contribute to the further development and renewal of Utrecht's multidimensional research."

"Moreover, in the coming years I want to build on the strong educational tradition in Utrecht. As a former student of the Utrecht Law College, I have experienced for myself how stimulating law education can be. I will strive for further academic deepening of  bachelor's and master's education by focusing on a cross-fertilization between research and education."

If you would like to know more about Elbert de Jong, please visit his profile page.