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 M. Smits is Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, and Dean of the Faculty of Law.

In his teaching and research Jan Smits focuses on private law in a European and global context. He studies how the legal aspect of relations among private actors (individuals, consumers, firms, NGO’s) is and should be affected by internationalisation of markets and changing conceptions of justice. His academic work is thus situated at the intersection of the positive law and legal theory, which he sees as mutually beneficial for both fields. He typically makes use of a variety of research methods including doctrinal, comparative and empirical approaches. In addition, he has an interest in methodology of legal scholarship. He is also committed to bridging the gap between academic research and policy and regularly acts as an independent voice in the public debate through blogs and columns.

Jan Smits’s academic contributions have appeared in leading journals including the Common Market Law Review, Review of European Private Law and Zeitschrift für europäisches Privatrecht and (in Dutch) in RM Themis, Nederlands Juristenblad and Weekblad voor Privaatrecht, Notariaat en Registratie. Recent books include The Mind and Method of the Legal Academic (2012), Contract Law: A Comparative Introduction (2014) and Advanced Introduction to Private Law (2017).

Jan Smits 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) and a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (AIDC).

Research interests: Private law; Contract Law; Tort Law; Property Law; Comparative 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. You can also click on the widgets in the right hand column to see personal pages at Maastricht University, KNAW, SSRN and BePress.

Jan Smits is a fierce believer in legal science as both a national and an international discipline. His view on the importance of academic legal debate can be found in an interview with Maastricht University’s weekly.