Universiteit Maastricht

Maastricht European Private Law Institute

Resident fellows

Resident fellows are employees of Maastricht University who meet the admission criteria of M-EPLI. The following M-EPLI residents participate in our research:



Prof. dr. Sjef van Erp
Sjef van Erp received his legal education at Tilburg, the Hague and Paris. He commenced his academic career at Tilburg University before moving to Maastricht University to hold the chair of Civil Law and European Private Law. In his capacity as visiting scholar and professor Sjef has spent stints at , amongst others, the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, Wolfson College in Cambridge, Harvard and Berkeley in the US. He is a member or chair of numerous editorial boards and organisations, including the  European Property Law Journal, and the Netherlands Comparative Law Association. He is a deputy judge at the Court of Appeals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. At present, his research focuses on comparative and European private law, particularly property law, and the comparison of the American federal experience with European integration

Prof. dr. Michael Faure
Michael studied law at the University of Antwerp (licenciate in law 1982) and criminology at the University of Gent (licenciated in criminology 1983). He obtained a Master of Laws from the University of Chicago Law School (1984) and a doctor iuris from the Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg im Breisgau. He was first a lecturer and then a senior lecturer at the department of criminal law of the law faculty of Leiden University (1988-1999) and became academic director of the Maastricht European institute for transnational legal research (METRO) and professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law at the law faculty of Maastricht University in September 1991. He still holds both positions today.

Catalina Goanta, LLM, MSc
Catalina Goanta obtained a Bachelor degree (LL.B.) from the Faculty of Law of Bucharest University. After gaining insights into national legal practice from her traineeships with CreditEurope Bank Romania and PriceWaterhouseCoopers ‘David&Baias’, she furthered her studies with a dual degree from the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University (LL.M.) and from the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT) in collaboration with the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. During her studies, she was appointed as a student-tutor and started teaching comparative contract law, legal history and comparative law research for the English Bachelor track ‘European Law School’.  Since 2011, Catalina Goanta has been a PhD researcher with the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI), under the supervision of Prof. dr Jan Smits and Dr Caroline Cauffman.  Her research is focused on European legal convergence, and for this purpose she is looking into the national implementation of various European Directives in the field of private law.


Prof. dr. Jaap Hage
Since 2006, Jaap holds the Chair of Jurisprudence at the University of Maastricht. He started to work in Maastricht in 1989 and from 1991 until 2005 his research was focused on Law and Logic. Later he moved his attention to the Methods of Legal Science and to General Concepts of Private Law.

Vicky Lia, LLM


Prof. dr. Remco van Rhee
Remco is Professor of European Legal History and Comparative Civil Procedure at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Van Rhee studied Law at the universities of Leiden (Netherlands) and Edinburgh (UK), Psychology at the university of Leiden, and History at the university of Louvain (Belgium). In 1997 he was awarded his doctorate with the highest distinction at Leiden University. He was a visiting professor at various universities both sides of the Atlantic and in China. He sits on the editorial board of various journals and other publications. He is a founding member of the European Society for Comparative Legal History, and member of the International Association of Procedural Law and the Wissenschaftliche Vereinigung für Internationales Verfahrensrecht.

Prof. dr. Jan Smits
Jan is Professor of European Private Law at Maastricht University and the academic director of the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI). He is also research professor of Comparative Legal Studies in the University of Helsinki and the 2010 Maastricht-HiiL Chair on the Internationalisation of Law. Jan publishes, teaches and supervises students in the fields of European private law, comparative law, legal theory and ‘law and…’ approaches. Jan Smits is a member of the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Dr. Bram Akkermans

Since Sept 2010, Bram Akkermans is a post-doctoral fellow with the Maastricht European Private Law Institute. He read for law at Maastricht University (European Law School 2002) and at Stellenbosch University, South Africa (2002). He lectured at Fontys University of Professional Education in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, before returning to Maastricht to write his Ph.D. thesis on the principle of numerus clausus in European property law . He defended his thesis in 2008 and was appointed assistant professor European Private Law. He teaches both comparative and European property law as well as European contract law. He was a visiting researcher in Bremen, Hamburg, Oxford and Stellenbosch. His current research focuses on European Union law and property law in search for common foundations for a European property law. 

Dr. Caroline Cauffman
Caroline Cauffman obtained her Masters and PhD in law at the Catholic University of Leuven (1998, 2004) and specialised in EU Competition Law at King's College London (2008). She was admitted to the Belgian Bar in 2005. She is an assistant professor at the Universities of Maastricht and Antwerp, and is, concurrently, a Marie Curie Fellow. She researches within comparative and European contract law and consumer law, with a particular focus on their interface with European competition law. She is a member of the editorial board of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, author of numerous national and international publications and has addressed various national and international conferences.

Dr Nicole Kornet
Nicole Kornet graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand, with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B. (Hons)) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA). After graduating from Maastricht University in 1999 with a Master in Comparative and European Law (LL.M.), she joined the private law department of Maastricht University. In 2006, she defended her doctoral dissertation entitled Contract Interpretation and Gap Filling: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives. She was appointed Assistant Professor of Commercial Law in May 2006. She is responsible for courses at bachelor and master level on international commercial (contract) law. Her current research focuses on the impact of globalisation on international commercial contract law and practice.

Dr. Rudolf Rijgersberg
Trained in Philosophy (MA honours, Glasgow), Logic (MLitt with distinction, St. Andrews), and Law (LLB, Leiden, PhD Groningen), Rudolf conducted interdisciplinary research in the way globalization is shaping modern governance in the public interest at the International Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’. Since September this year, Rudolf holds a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor Methods and Foundations of Law His research interests concern ‘the foundations and philosophy of law’ with a focus on transnational developments in law and the ontological status/modes of existence of legal rights and obligations.

Anna Beckers, ass.jur
Anna joined Maastricht University as a PhD researcher on 1 June 2010. Her project is supported by the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) and supervised by the HiiL-UM-chairholder on the Internationalisation of Law in 2009/2010, Prof. Dr. Gunther Teubner. It focuses on the legal potential of ethical statements of corporations, so-called codes of conduct from a theoretical and contract law perspective. Anna studied law in Frankfurt/Main (Germany) and Linköping (Sweden) and is qualified for the German Bar.

Emanuel van Dongen
Emanuel van Dongen studied Dutch law (specialising in Roman law) at Tilburg University (LLM in 2005), and undertook  courses in history of canon law at Radboud University Nijmegen. During his study he was a student-assistent at the department of criminal law at Tilburg Law School. In 2006 he became a lecturer at the department for the foundations of law at Maastricht University. In 2007 he completed his Mphil at Tilburg University. Since 1 September 2007 he is a PhD researcher at Maastricht University, under supervision of prof. dr. C.H. van Rhee and prof. dr. J. Hallebeek (VU University Amsterdam). His NOW concerns the consequences, in an historical perspective, of contributory negligence for delictual liability.

Willem Loof, LLM
Willem holds a law degree in trade and company law from Maastricht University (2009). He started working as a research assistant for Prof. Van Erp by the end of 2009. As of 1 September 2010 he is working as a PhD researcher under the supervision of Prof. Van Erp. He focuses on the “contractualization” of ownership and the different types of ownership that occur out of such a “contractualization, such as legal ownership and economic ownership. Willem aims to compare the English, French, German and Netherlands jurisdictions on this subject and will do extensive research in each respective jurisdiction.

Gary Low, BCL (Oxon)
Gary is, since Sept 2010, a doctoral researcher with the European Private Law Institute. Gary read law at the LSE (LLB with First Class Honours, 2003), at Oxford University (BCL with Distinction, 2004). For two years thereafter, he was law clerk to the Hon. Yong Pung How, Chief Justice of Singapore. Called to the Singapore Bar, he practiced shipping and commercial litigation and international arbitration for two years at one of the largest law firms in Singapore. In the two years prior to joining Maastricht University, Gary was resident at Tilburg University, and spent the first half of 2010 as a visiting scholar at Cornell Law School. His current research is supported by the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL), and straddles European contract law, and behavioral law and economics (BLE).

Adela Ognean, LLM
Starting September 2010, Ognean Adela Olga is a doctoral researcher at the Law Faculty – Maastricht University. She graduated with two law degrees from the Lucian Blaga Sibiu University in Romania. From 2008 until the beginning of her research she was an apprentice in a Romanian law office. Her doctoral research is entitled “Case management – an historical and comparative perspective in England, France and Romania”.

Eveline Ramaekers
As of 1 September 2008, Eveline has been working as a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Law, Maastricht University. Her PhD research focuses on property law in the European acquis communautaire. The project aims to create a framework for further conceptualisation of property law in Europe by making an analysis of the existing and proposed measures in the acquis. Since Sept 2010, Eveline is a PhD researcher with the Maastricht European Private Law Institute. Eveline is a visiting lecturer at the China-EU School of Law. In 2010, she spent two months as a visiting researcher at the Law Faculty of the University of Muenster (G) and one month at the South-African Research Chair of Property Law, Stellenbosch (SA).

Serban Vacarelu, LLM.
Serban S. Vacarelu is an associate researcher and a Ph.D. candidate at Maastricht University, Faculty of Law (The Netherlands). He earned a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Babes-Bolyai University (Romania) in 2001, a B.A. in Political Sciences from University of Oradea (Romania) in 2002 and Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Louisiana State University (USA) in 2004.
Prior to joining Maastricht University, Mr. Vacarelu served as a judicial law clerk and research attorney for the Louisiana Supreme Court (November 2004-February 2010), engaged in private practice with Forrester, Jordan & Dick L.L.C., Baton Rouge, Louisiana (October 2003- October 2004) and served as a research assistant for Prof. Alain Levasseur at Louisiana State University (August 2002-October 2003).
Mr. Vacarelu teaches several courses at Maastricht University and has been a Visiting Professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. He also taught at the China-EU School of Law, Changping, China. His research interests are primarily in the field of civil procedure and comparative law. Mr. Vacarelu is admitted to practice in Romania and Louisiana.

Agustin Parise
Agustín Parise joined M-EPLI in October 2011. He received his degrees of LL.B and LL.D at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), and his LL.M at Louisiana State University (USA), where he was research associate at the Center of Civil Law Studies between 2006-2010. Immediately before arriving to Maastricht, Agustin completed a one-year visit to the Max Planck Institutes in Hamburg and Frankfurt (Germany). His Ph.D. research contemplates a comparative legal-historical study of European and American property law and culture under the guidance of Prof. Dr. C.H. van Rhee and Prof. Dr. J.H.M. van Erp.

Anna Berlee
Anna Berlee (1986) is currently a PhD candidate in the area of comparative and European property law under the supervision of Prof. J.H.M. van Erp. She took both her LL.B European Law School [English Track] (cum laude) and subsequent LL.M in Dutch law (cum laude) from Maastricht University. During her studies she was also a participant of the bachelor honours programme, the ICGI challenge and held several student-assistantships in the areas of criminal procedural law and Islamic family law. She was also an intern at the Capital Markets department of Clifford Chance LL.P in Amsterdam and the Insolvency and Restructuring department of Houthoff Buruma in Rotterdam.

M. T. Kawakami
Mark joined MEPLI in April 2012 to research the human rights violations in the global supply chain and the role of the private sector/private law in the quagmire. Prior to joining MEPLI, Mark worked for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in New York City as a Japanese contract attorney dealing primarily with international price-fixing cases. He also interned with the United States Navy JAG Corps at the Naval Yard in Washington D.C., the Minnesota Disability Law Center, and the Honorable Judge Joan Ericksen of the United States District Court in Minnesota. Mark obtained his B.A. from New York University, but also studied at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and an LL.M. from Tilburg University. He is an Aquarius and enjoys Mexican food and long walks on the beach.