Justitia, the People's Power and Mother Earth

Presentation by Laura Burgers, PhD Candidate at the Centre for the study of European Contract Law, University of Amsterdam

She is visiting the University of Oslo until the end of July 2018.

Laura Burgers will present the outline of her PhD research, which she conducts at the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law of the University of Amsterdam. It falls under the header of professor Chantal 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 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.

(Read more about the purpose of her stay.)


Coffee, tea and fresh fruit will be served.

You may bring your lunch packet!


Published Apr. 13, 2018 11:36 AM - Last modified Sep. 1, 2022 2:19 PM