Prof. mr. Elbert de Jong

Prof. mr. Elbert de Jong

Molengraaff Institute for Private Law

Elbert de Jong (1987) is Professor of Private Law at the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law (Ucall) and the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law

In his research, De Jong focuses on the law of obligations, civil procedure, and the institutional position of civil law judges in society. He published on the precautionary principle in tort law, the relationship between innovation and tort law, injunctive relief proceedings in the context of health and environmental risks, European tort law, climate change and tort law, State liability and human rights, causation, preliminary ruling procedure in Dutch civil law, policy concerns in judicial law making and the reasoning in judicial decisions. On a regular basis he gives presentations at international and national conferences and seminars. De Jong is a member of the editorial board of the Dutch Journal of Civil Law. 


The law of obligations and complexity

In the coming years, De Jong will focus on the interaction between the law of obligations and complex societal challenges. One could in particular think of challenges in the context of public health and the environment, innovation and sustainability. 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. Also, there is for instance the question whether private law is well enough equipped for dealing with issues relating to the circular economy. One could also think of the question to what extent private law provides enough clarity about issues relating to responsibility and liability for autonomous intelligence systems. 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 in the context of climate change? Here, there underlying question as well is how societal effects of private law should be legally weighed.



For his work, De Jong received some awards, such as a KNAW Early Career Partnership (2020), NWO-Rubicon-award (2016), KNAW membership fund, (2016) and the publication price of the Dutch Society for Civil Law (2014).


Societal impact 

De Jong aims to share his research with society as much as possible. He was for instance invited to inform the Dutch Parliament about the implications of the Urgenda-ruling. He  regularly gives interviews to renowned national media. Also he gives presentations and training courses at law firms, professional organizations, knowledge institutes and ministries.

Public defense PhD Thesis June 2016

Printed PhD edition
Private Law, in particular the Law of Obligations
Inaugural lecture date