Jan Smits



Prof. dr. Jan M. Smits

Faculty of Law

Maastricht University

P.O. Box 616

NL-6200 MD Maastricht

The Netherlands

T +31 (0) 43 388 3102

jan.smits [at] maastrichtuniversity.nl

Jan Smits is professor of European Private Law at Maastricht University, academic director of the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (MEPLI) and head of the Department of private law.

After his study of law at the universities of Leiden and Poitiers (1986-1991), Jan Smits defended his PhD at the University of Leiden (1995), developing a theory of how contractual liability can be best explained. In 1995 and 1996 he taught at the universities of Stellenbosch and Tilburg. He then was appointed at Maastricht University, first (1996-1999) as an associate professor and then (1999) to the newly created Chair of European Private Law (the first chair for this field worldwide). At Maastricht, Jan Smits led the private law research group of the Ius Commune Research School. From 2008 to 2010, he was distinguished professor of European Private Law and Comparative Law at Tilburg University, a post he gave up in late 2010 to return to Maastricht. He held visiting positions at a number of foreign institutions, including Tulane Law School, Leuven University, the University of Liège, Louisiana State University, the Penn State Dickinson School of Law and the University of Helsinki. From 2010-2012, he  held the HiiL Visiting Chair on the Internationalisation of Law and in 2013-2014 the TPR Visiting Chair at the University of Ghent.

Jan Smits is an elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Research interests: (European) private law; Comparative law; Contract Law; Legal theory; ‘Law and...’ approaches.

For more details, check out the List of Publications (usually with a link to the full text) and the list of Invited Lectures. A full curriculum vitae is available at the site of BePress. You can also click on the widgets in the right hand column to see personal pages at SSRN, BePress, Maastricht University, KNAW, Academia.edu and ResearchGate.

Jan Smits is a fierce believer in legal science as both a national and international discipline. Besides teaching students and working with a research group of highly committed PhD-researchers and other colleagues, he views the writing of academic papers and books as the most challenging and rewarding activity in his scholarly life. His view on the importance of academic legal debate can be found in an interview with Maastricht University’s weekly. Smits is known for his fundamental work on Dutch, European and comparative (private) law. With the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (MEPLI), he intends to create an international and inspiring academic environment and an instrument to cross the traditional borders among different fields of law.

New available

Geen schaamte, wel onbehagen, Observant 2017

What is Legal Doctrine?, CUP 2017

Een pleidooi voor een tijdelijk huwelijk, WPNR 2016

New book: Advanced Introduction to Private Law, 2017: click below

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