Universiteit Leiden

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Iris Houben

Associate Professor

Mr. I.S.J. Houben
+31 71 527 7408

Iris Houben joined the Institute of Private Law on 1 September 1997.

More information about Iris Houben

Iris Houben (Maastricht, 1973) studied Law in Leiden, obtaining her master's degree in Civil Law and Company Law in 1997. Following her graduation, she worked as an Assistant Professor at her alma mater and was appointed to the position of Associate Professor of Civil Law in 2006. She teaches classes at Leiden Law School as well as post-academic courses for lawyers and other practitioners such as judges. 

Houben teaches modules on ‘Franchise contracts’ in the Advanced LL.M. in International Civil and Commercial Law (ICCL). In 1998, she began working on a PhD thesis about duties to enter into a contract. The thesis deals with a fundamental breach of the principle of freedom of contract, for instance where an universal service obligation is imposed on a company. In 2005, Houben defended her PhD thesis entitled (in Dutch): Contractdwang (meaning 'Obligation to contract'). Since then, she has continued her research in the field of Contract Law. The primary focus of her research is the interaction between (sector-specific) public law and contract law.  

In collaboration with Professor Hijma, Houben wrote a research proposal on 'The enforcement of civil law by regulatory authorities', which was selected by a jury for Leiden University's research programme entitled 'Interaction between legal systems'. Regulatory authorities are increasingly being charged with the enforcement of important parts of civil law. Often, European competition rules force the establishment of these independent regulatory authorities. The question is whether the enforcement of civil law by regulatory authorities through public law instruments is problematic. It might be that public law is not equipped to give meaning to civil law conceptions. On the other hand, legislators have recently chosen enforcement by means of public law instruments as this would be more efficient.

In 2015, Iris Houben published a book on innominate contracts such as leasing, factoring, franchising and contracts in the field of energy and telecommunications. 

Associate Professor

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Privaatrecht
  • Civiel recht

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number C203



  • Gerechtshof Arnhem-Leeuwarden Raadsheer-plaatsvervanger
  • Wolters Kluwer auteur
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