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Postdoctoral researcher 'Legal Structures'

Publication date
21 February 2014
Level of education
Salary indication
~3,259 to ~3,381 gross per month
Closing date
20 March 2014
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Digging into Data project 'Legal Structures' is a joint project with Washington University (US) and the University of Amsterdam: Faculty of Humanities (ILLC) and Faculty of Law (ACLE).

Project description

This postdoctoral project takes a radically novel approach to the problem of measuring and visualizing differences among legal systems: it focuses on machine coding of internal references in codes and laws. Internal referencing is an inherent characteristic of codes. Already the Code of Hammurabi, almost 3800 years ago, was structured as a numbered list of laws with at least one cross-reference. The intuition behind this approach is that fundamental differences among legal systems manifest themselves in the structure of the texts and can be detected, parameterized, and visualized using computerized algorithms. For instance, the French Civil Code~based on a deductive ideal of legal thought~has fewer internal references than the hundred-year younger German Civil Code~influenced by the idea that law finds its legitimacy in the history of a country rather than on natural principles and hence is less organically structured. We will use this procedure to analyze the world~s codes.


  • An MA, MSc and PhD relevant to the subject. Good programming experience is a must;
  • a background in computer science or artificial intelligence, with an interest in empirical legal studies and/or digital humanities;
  • the postdoctoral researcher may be asked to do a limited amount of teaching but no more than one class a week during one semester per academic year.

Further information

For more information, please contact:


The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Amsterdam. The total appointment is for 1.5 years for 1.0 fte under the terms of employment currently valid for the Faculty. The starting date of the contract is negotiable but no later than 1 September 2014.

The gross monthly salary (on full-time basis, 38 hours per week) for the position will be ~3.259 during the first year and will reach ~3.381 during the second year, in accordance with the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch universities.

Job application

Applications for the postdocoral position should include:

  • a research statement (max. 500 words);
  • a CV;
  • names and contact details of two academic referees.

Applications may be submitted no later than 20 March 2014 by sending your application to Please quote the vacancy number 14-053 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

No agencies please

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.