Current board

I am more than honoured to be able to serve as President of ESELS for the upcoming year.

Trained as a research methodologist and lawyer, I worked mainly in criminology and only recently discovered the bubbling arena of empirical legal studies. I currently conduct research in family law and protection measures for elderly persons. My teaching focuses mainly on research methods and statistics. My recent textbook “Research Methods for Empirical Legal Studies: An Introduction” aims to provide an introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods for ELS. Analysing the impact of interventions (such as laws) has my particular interest, something which may be quite a challenge in the ELS field where it is hard to conduct experiments and data are mostly observational. But it is exciting when creative methods can be used to uncover the working of laws and regulations.

In addition to being a researcher and professor of research methods in ELS and Criminology, I am also a member of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy.

ELS has the potential to enrich and innovate the legal discipline. I hope as President to contribute to strengthening and expanding our ESELS Society, in a gender-, methodological and geographically inclusive manner, for it to be a vehicle for this promise of empirical legal studies in Europe.

Prof. Catrien Bijleveld

NSCR/ VU University – The Netherlands


Dr. Jessie Pool

Leiden University – The Netherlands

Past president

I am an assistant professor of company and insolvency law at the Institute of Private Law at Leiden University. I serve as the co-project leader of the Leiden Empirical Legal Studies Lab and am committed to promoting empirical research in the legal domain. As adjunct-director of the Leiden Law Bachelor (±4000 students), I am working on improving the empirical skills of law students. Additionally, I engage with practice and government organizations, such as the Ministry of Security and Justice, to bridge the gap between empirical legal studies and practical applications in the field of law, a commitment I wish to continue as a board member of ESELS.

My research has a strong interdisciplinary character and focuses on the empirical study of insolvency law in the broadest sense, and I have particular expertise on topics at the crossroads of company and insolvency law. I focus on issues relating to decision-making and balancing (conflicting) interests in insolvency law. At the intersection of company and insolvency law, I am currently empirically investigating the role of stakeholders and vulnerable parties (e.g. employees, the environment, patients and customers) in insolvency proceedings.

I work in the field of European Union law and institutions, especially the internal market, free movement of persons and European citizenship. My research explores the process of integration through law and case-law, judicial authority, the decision-making of the European Court of Justice and the mechanics of court-induced legal change. It introduces tools of citation network analysis, machine learning, expert coding, and insights from judicial politics into legal scholarship.

As future president of ESELS, I am committed to fostering a methodologically pluralist, and disciplinary inclusive academic culture. In practice, this translates into promoting gender, geographical, and methodological diversity of conference keynote speakers, as well as extending an open invitation to early career researchers to form working groups within the Society and working on Society’s fledgling journal. Together, these actions have the potential to build confidence in empirical legal scholarship in Europe, progressively reaching the nooks and crannies of European legal academia.

Prof. Urška Šadl

European University Institute – Florence, Italy

Future president

Dr. Mariia Domina

University of Lorraine – Nancy, France

Board member

I am Assistant Professor in Business Law at the University of Lorraine (France). My research is based on interdisciplinary methodology, drawing from the fields of law and economics, law and psychology with a particular focus on comparative law.

As a board member of ESELS, my aim is to contribute to the development of activities of this new vibrant organization that reunites people passionate about empirical legal research. I believe my voice can act as a “bridge” between young and senior researchers, thereby ensuring that the interests and needs of all members are accommodated within the Society.

I am professor of Quantitative Empirical Legal Studies at the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I am also Co-director of the Erasmus Centre of Empirical legal studies. My interdisciplinary research focuses on decision-making in a variety of legal domains, including the decision making of victims, perpetrators, judges & jurors, as well as behavioural ethics and managerial decision making.

As a board member of the European Society for Empirical Legal Studies, I want to contribute to its continuing growth by ensuring that the Society reflects the rich tapestry of the European empirical legal community. Working in an interdisciplinary environment myself, I recognize the importance of representing different backgrounds and experiences to enhance the relevance, rigor and practicality of empirical legal research. I therefore consistently advocate for the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives and underscore the power of methodological diversity in advancing the frontiers of empirical legal studies.

Prof. Pieter Desmet

Erasmus University Rotterdam – The Netherlands

Board member