Purpose of the stay
Laura Burgers conducts a PhD research at the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law of the University of Amsterdam, which falls under the header of professor C. Mak’s Judges in Utopia project.
The topic of the PhD research is the role of the judge in ‘environmentalist’ cases such as the climate litigation in the Dutch Urgenda and the Norwegian Natur og Ungdom cases. Judges fear or are being criticised for taking a too political stance in such cases. A Habermasian normative framework on deliberative democracy is used to articulate to the role of the judge in European private law. Illustrated by existing environmentalist case-law and lawsuits, the thesis defended is that judges are able and should break open the inherent boundaries in their present role, as this would strengthen the roots of constitutional democracies. The working title of the thesis is Justitia, the People’s Power and Mother Earth. Boundaries of democratically legitimate judicial law-making in European private law with environmentalist claims as a case-study.
During her stay, Burgers intends to interact with the scholars on the research project “SMART; Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade”, as well as those on the “PluriCourts” project and with others who are interested in legal theory, environmental litigation, (European) private law, European and international (human rights & environmental) law in the national legal order, and climate ethics.
In the Netherlands, Burgers published two young adult novels in cooperation with her father in 2011 and 2014, respectively. In September 2017, with friends she wrote a popular scientific essay book for AUP.