Gert Jan Geertjes
Gert Jan Geertjes is a PhD candidate and junior lecturer at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law of Leiden University. Since 1 September 2015, he has also been a member of the Faculty Council.
Gert Jan holds law degrees from the University of Groningen (Legal Research Master, 2012) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM, 2013). After his graduation, he joined the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law of Leiden University as a junior lecturer and research associate (2013-2015). In September 2015, he started his PhD research at the same department.
Gert Jan works on a PhD thesis on the role of constitutional conventions in the context of the Dutch constitution. Constitutions only contain the most fundamental rules of a legal order and do thus not fully determine how the institutions of a legal system should fulfil their functions. In addition to the legal rules, the conduct of the institutions of the state is also governed by constitutional conventions: informal constitutional rules which are developed outside the legal framework. Conventions may nullify a legal power of a state institution, transfer a competence from one state institution to another and supplement provisions of constitutional law. Yet they are usually considered not to qualify as law.
In the Netherlands, conventions seem to govern for instance the formation of the Cabinet, the position of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) vis-à-vis the House of Representatives and the responsibility of ministers for their actions towards the parliament. Conventions help to ensure that the institutions of the state fulfil their functions in accordance with the fundamental principles or values of the constitution, such as the rule of law, democracy and the protection of human rights. Constitutional conventions therefore seem to be of fundamental importance to every constitutional system, including the Dutch constitution. However, in the context of the Dutch constitution they have recently been an understudied phenomenon. In his PhD thesis, Gert Jan aims to investigate the nature of the constitutional convention and its influence on the role and structure of constitutional law from a comparative perspective.
Gert Jan teaches a course in constitutional law (Staatsrecht) for second-year students.