Universiteit Leiden

nl en

ELS lab @Leiden

Research, projects & publications

Two PhD projects started in March 2020. Both are interdisciplinary PhD projects that are supervised by researchers from at least two departments and by both a legal scholar and a social scientist. The other projects within this legal science theme involve lines of research by assistant professors.

Researchers

For many years, human rights have been considered a playing field in which states were the most important actors. In the present day society, this has changed as a consequence of globalization and the rise of multinational enterprises (MNEs). Protection of fundamental labor rights in global supply chains is a concern. This project focuses on multinational companies as market actors and the regulation of their behaviours in global supply chains. Monitoring the behaviours and actions of multinationals has become more complex because international organisations such as the United Nations and the ILO are losing territory. In this context, it is important to look at soft law. Codes of Codes of conduct are a set of rules voluntarily drawn up by companies but with which they must comply. What role do these Codes of Conduct play in compliance with and enforcement of fundamental labor rights in global supply chains?

Publications

Researchers

The data-driven economy allows for the collection and processing of large amounts of data. Such data can be used to optimize profits by (dynamically) differentiating prices for different consumers. It is now technologically feasible for webshops to set prices that perfectly match the consumer’s willingness to pay. What does this imply for trust in markets? What do companies and consumers think of this, and how should regulatory actors respond? The aim of this project is to gain insights into the psychology of companies and consumers. Empirical research on perceptions of justice can form an important basis for the normative dimension of market regulation.

Publications

Researcher

The starting point for this research project is the notion that the human brain is susceptible to all kinds of fallacies and biases that affect our perceptions and influence our reasoning outside of our conscious awareness. Indeed, most people think they are merely observing facts and that they process these in a rational, objective way to form judgements and make decisions.

In the field of law, perceptions and decisions that are erroneously affected by unconscious biases can have far-reaching consequences. Consider for example the question of whether a type of damage (e.g. economic or personal injury) was foreseeable, or whether a director’s actions played an important role in causing a company to go bankrupt, or whether certain information was of such a material nature that a reasonable investor would make use of it when taking investment decisions. Judgements about foreseeability, causality, and reasonableness are particularly susceptible to human biases. Research by Niek Strohmaier has shown that especially moral and normative judgements can influence these kinds of legally relevant issues. This interdisciplinary and empirical research project draws on insights from moral philosophy, cognitive psychology, and insolvency law in particular.

Niek’s line of research focuses on three topics. First, Niek empirically investigates which biases might affect legal judgments in the context of directors’ liability and in the context of regulating financial markets. Second, by conducting experimental research, Niek aims to increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying certain biases. Third, his research explores how we might be able to minimize the unwanted impact of biases in legal judgments and decision making.

Publications

Researcher

European product safety law is one of the focal points of internal market legislation. The main goal of European product safety law is the prevention of harm from occurring. Product safety law’s market surveillance and enforcement is left to the member states. The obligations for economic operators therein are seen as being of a more public law nature (opposed to private law). The private law counterpart of product safety law is the Product Liability Directive (85/374/EEG). Compensation under this internal market instrument is presumed not only to have a restorative function, but also to have some deterrent effects. The remedy under the Product Liability Directive is limited to liability for consequential loss to property and physical harm. The requirements for other private law remedies with regard to other types of damages and other tortfeasors are not harmonized and left to the member states. Until now it is unclear how effective the current legal framework is in the prevention of damage by combatting illegal product and to prevent damage from occurring. Because of e-commerce, traditional chains of trade are changing and new economic operators are entering the scene. These changes highlight deficiencies in het current legal framework and raise the question which (legal) interventions are most appropriate, effective and efficient to combat unsafe products.

This line of research builds upon Gitta’s earlier doctrinal research regarding the interaction between European Product Safety Law and standards under private law. It aims to contribute in answering the overarching question of the effects of private law in the prevention of harms from occurring, with a focus on unsafe products. Both B2B- and B2C-relationships are included. What are the driving forces within organizations and companies in the chain that influence the decision of placing an unsafe product on the market or withdrawing, or of recalling a product that has already been placed on the market and turns out to present a risk? And which role does the consumer himself play? Which factors influence his online purchase decisions?

This interdisciplinary, empirical research uses the insights from law and economics and behavioural sciences and is performed in collaboration with social scientists. It aims at testing some of the assumptions that underly legislation and legal decision making, which hopefully contributes to a better assessment of (legal) interventions to reach desired effects and more evidence based private law. 

Publications

Current/ongoing research projects

Researcher

Researcher

Researchers

Both good employer practices and good employee practices are open norms. These open norms can lead to uncertainty about what employers should focus on and what rights (and obligations) employees have in that respect. The objective of this study is to give substance to the norm of good employment practices in relation to employee wellbeing.

There is extensive social science literature on the influence of work-related factors on the wellbeing of employees. This line of research builds on Helen Pluut's earlier research into employee mental wellbeing and specifically how work and home affect each other. This interdisciplinary, empirical research draws on social science insights about the factors that influence employee wellbeing. An understanding of possible discrepancies between what organisations are expected to focus on and what actually has an impact could help legislators and judges. These insights could be useful for legislators for the regulation of the behaviour of employers and for judges for the further interpretation of Article 7:611 of the Dutch Civil Code in the event of behaviour that is potentially contrary to good employment practices.

Part of this research line is a research project on working from home. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, many people were forced to work at home. It seems that working from home will continue to become more common in the future. This brings new challenges for both employees and employers. What consequences does working from home have for employees, for example in terms of wellbeing and productivity? And what does it mean to be a good employer in times of working from home? In this research, we compare the current legal framework around working from home with results from empirical studies conducted during the pandemic. Do these findings fit with the current legal framework? And if not, what adjustments or additions are necessary? The aim of this study is to come up with recommendations for the interpretation of the standard of good employment practices for employees working from home.

Researchers

This project aims to answer legally relevant questions in the field of consumer law by means of empirical research. The research line focuses on the assumptions underlying consumer law, consumer law in action and the effects of consumer law in practice. What are the legal difficulties in (online) consumer protection and how should these be dealt with, viewed from an empirical legal perspective? Part of this research line is the creation of an edited volume on Empirics & Consumer Law.

Researcher

Publications

This website uses cookies.  More information.