Legal History Post K.U. Leuven


(ref. BZP-2021-12)

Last modification : Monday, June 7, 2021

The Faculty of Law of KU Leuven, invites scholars to apply for a full‐time research professorship in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. This position is funded by the Special Research Fund (BOFZAP), established by the Flemish Government. We are looking for motivated and internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence in the field of modern legal history. The appointment is expected to start on October 1, 2022. Applications will be evaluated in parallel and independently by 1) the KU Leuven Research Council in a competitive process across academic domains and 2) the faculty advisory committee. During the first 10 years, the teaching obligations as a research professor will be limited. Afterwards, the position will be transformed into a regular professorship. This vacancy concerns modern legal history, since 1750. Preferably, the candidate should be adept in the comparative study of historical law, have a view on the Europeanisation and globalization of legal scholarship and see legal history as an integral part of legal thought. This position is imbedded in the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. The unit consist of 3 professors and about 10 junior researchers. Its research focuses on European and international legal history since the 16th century, and in particular on three themes: the intellectual history of the jus commune, the history of economic law and the history of international law
It is part of the assignment of the appointed candidate to develop, within the domain of modern legal history, an international, competitive research programme, to pursue excellent scientific results at an international level and to support and promote national and international research partnerships. The candidate must meet a strong research profile or have the potential to do so. In addition, the candidate is expected to have a multidisciplinary attitude and a willingness to cooperate intensively with other researchers and research units at KU Leuven.
The candidate:
  • Is an excellent, internationally oriented researcher and develops a research programme at the forefront in the field of modern legal history since 1750 in an European, global and/or comparative perspective.
  • Strengthens existing research lines and brings complementary and/or additionally new expertise by working closely with the members of the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History. 
  • Publishes at the highest scientific level in an international context.
  • Develops an own research group.
  • Supervises master students, PhD students and postdocs at a high international level. 
  • Aims to acquire competitive research funding from national and/or international agencies and submits effective research project proposals for this purpose.
  • Establishes both within KU Leuven, national and international partnerships in the context of the research programme.
  • Strives for excellence in research and provides a contribution to the international research reputation of Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History, the Faculty of Law and KU Leuven.
Although the position regards a research professorship at the start of employment, the candidate is expected to gradually contribute to state of the art teaching. 
The candidate also contributes to the pedagogic project of the faculty/university. He/she develops teaching in accordance with KU Leuven’s vision on activating and research‐based education and makes use of the possibilities for the educational professionalization offered by the faculty and the university.
During the first five years, the teaching portfolio will extend to courses both in the history of private law and the history of public law, primarily at the bachelor level, at the campuses of Leuven and Brussels. 
Scientific, societal  and internal services (administrative and/or institutional) are also part of the assignment. 
  • A doctoral degree and at least one degree that was awarded by a faculty of law. If the candidate has recently obtained the PhD, it is important that he/she supports the research and growth potential by referring to at least one top publication or by referring to promising research projects and articles in preparation.
  • A strong research profile in the field and an indisputable research integrity.
  • The quality of research is proven by international publications in renowned journals or with reputed academic publishing houses.
  • International research experience is considered as an important advantage.
  • Demonstrable qualities related to academic education. Teaching experience is a plus. 
  • Organizational skills, a cooperative attitude and leadership skills within a university context.
  • Excellent proficiency of spoken and written English. The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. For candidates who do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable them to take part in administrative meetings. Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, candidates will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch resp. English to the required standard.
  • We offer full-time employment in an intellectually challenging environment. KU Leuven is an research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. Our university is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, we actively collaborate with research partners in Belgium and abroad. We provide our students with an academic education that is based on high-quality scientific research.
  • Depending on qualifications and academic experience, the candidate will be appointed to or tenured in one of the grades of the senior academic staff: assistant professor, associate professor, professor or full professor. Each of these grades implies ius promovendi. In principle, junior researchers are appointed as assistant professor on the tenure track for a period of 5 years; after this period and a positive evaluation, they are permanently appointed as an associate professor.
  • You will work in Leuven, a historic and dynamic and vibrant city located in the heart of Belgium, within twenty minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam. The Law Faculty KU Leuven also has campuses in Kortrijk and Brussels and also provides education in Antwerp and Hasselt.
  • KU Leuven is well set to welcome foreign professors and their family and provides practical support with regard to immigration and administration, housing, childcare, language teaching, partner career coaching, …
  • In order to facilitate scientific onboarding and accelerate research in the first phase a starting grant of 100.000 euro is offered to new professors without substantial other funding and appointed for at least 50%. 
More information on the content of the job can be obtained from the academic contact person is prof. dr. Randall Lesaffer, head of the Research Unit for Roman Law and Legal History,
More information on the guidelines, regulations and application file is available from Ms. Kristin Vermeylen (, tel. +32 16 32 09 07) or Ms. Christelle Maeyaert (, tel. +32 16 31 41 94).
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Your blogger may add that Leuven is one of the most attractive University Towns in Northern Europe, close to Brussels and Brussels airport. It has a fine tradition in Legal History. The late Laurent Waelkens, one of the kindest men, led and developed an excellent team.