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Jacob Giltaij is the new director of the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence at the Amsterdam Law School. He succeeds Roland Pierik. The centre combines research in the fields of philosophy of law, sociology of law and history of law. How will he fill the position and what are his ambitions?

He would describe himself as a ‘true legal theorist’. Jacob Giltaij specializes in legal history, Roman law and is also very interested in legal philosophy and the sociology of law. The directorship of the Paul Scholten Centre is therefore tailor-made for him. ‘My predecessor Roland Pierik once said that the directorship of the PSC is the nicest job within the faculty. I think this is indeed the case.’

The Paul Scholten Centre

The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence, or PSC, is the research center of the department of Jurisprudence. Every academic staff member of the department is a member of the centre. The PSC has a total of about 20 permanent members. The colloquia of the PSC are well attended, even by people outside the centre.

Wonderful challenge

Jacob Giltaij is looking forward to his new role. ‘It is a wonderful challenge.’ He will continue working as Assistant Professor of Law at the department of Jurisprudence. He also works as a researcher at Eurostorie, a large research centre at the University of Helsinki.

‘At Eurostorie we look, for example, at the changes in the works of scientists who fled from Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. How did they cope with a fundamentally different legal system? And how did they look back on the continent of origin, even after World War II?’

With setting up and leading colloquia, the new director gained a lot of experience in Helsinki. ‘There we often publish interdisciplinary and in different collaborations. This is not always easy, and requires you to be able to communicate outside your own field.’

Giltaij is also a part of the board of Forum Romanum, the Roman law society of the UvA and the VU. ‘We organize lectures with speakers from home and abroad and we hold excursions. Last June, for example, we visited the archives of the Hof van Holland, at the National Archives in The Hague, and then the Administrative Law Division of the Raad van State. Such excursions make legal history come alive.’

I would like the research to have impact


In his role as director, Giltaij wants to get the best possible exposure for the research of scientists involved. ‘I would like the research to have impact. It is important to interconnect our research, both within the faculty and beyond.’

Giltaij also has plans for the colloquia. ‘These currently still take place in a fairly fixed format, in the future I want to be a bit more flexible in this, for example by organizing lectures around a current or pressing topic. Finally, I want to be as inclusive as possible, in every sense of the word.’

Shared identity

The new director emphasizes the importance of the PSC. ‘It is a trusted platform for researchers of Jurisprudence. It provides an opportunity for young researchers to present their research at an early stage. In addition, the PSC gives our research a shared identity to the outside world. Three scholarly fields with different methods and purposes fall under Jurisprudence. The PSC is a nice central handle and point of contact for this important and diverse research.’