Universiteit Leiden

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Civil Law

About us

The Department of Civil Law is responsible for education and research in the field of civil law. We teach the master’s degree programme Civiel Recht (Civil Law LL.M.), attracting many students each year from Leiden and elsewhere.

We also teach in the bachelor’s programmes Law (LL.B.) and International Business Law (LL.B.), as well as offering an English-taught Advanced LLM degree programme.

Our expertise is wide-ranging: we teach and conduct research across the full breadth of private law, ranging from contract, tort, property, litigation and arbitration to philosophy of private law and legal methodology. Our interest lies in the interaction between areas of law, both national and international, and gaining new insights from other disciplines that can enrich civil law.

Being right does not automatically imply being found to be right. Substantive private law  grants rights, but what is the value of these rights if they cannot be fulfilled? The law of civil procedure provides and regulates the means to establish, effect, amend, terminate and implement rights and obligations under private law. The law of procedure, therefore, determines how court proceedings are organised, setting out the ‘rules of the game’ for the parties to the proceedings, as well as the court. We offer courses in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes that consider these aspects. Not only do we look at court proceedings, but attention is also given to alternative dispute settlement such as arbitration. In the master’s programme we also offer the course Practicum: Togapraktijk Civiel Recht (Private Practice).

Private international law is also one of our areas of expertise. Each State has its own private law system and its own judiciary. In our world, with around 195 States, this gives rise to questions involving international disputes.  Which legal system applies to a particular international legal relationship, for example an international purchase agreement or an international marriage? Which court has jurisdiction in a certain international dispute? Does a court decision in one State have the same meaning in another State? Knowledge of private international law is essential in legal practice and so the Department of Civil Law also focuses on this area in its teaching and research.

We also teach the Advanced Master International Civil and Commercial Law. This master’s programme is aimed at lawyers and legal professionals who after completing their initial master’s degree choose to specialise in international trade, business law and cross-border litigation. This master’s programme attracts students from all over the world.  

The research conducted by members of staff at the Department of Civil Law is part of the faculty research programme Coherent Private Law and the research focus area Interaction between Legal Systems

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