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7th annual Civil Justice Council National Forum on access to justice for those without means

On invitation Jos Hoevenaars attended the 7th annual Civil Justice Council National Forum on access to justice for those without means taking place in London on 7 December 2018. The full day forum brought together members from across the British advice and pro bono sector, courts and tribunals, government, the legal profession, universities (UK and abroad), charities, foundations and institutions to discuss the current state of the legal aid sector in the jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. The day saw some 20 different speakers as well as several in-depth breakout session in which divergent subjects such as funding, technology, the need for data collection and analysis, and the intersection between legal needs and mental health were discussed among the over 200 participants in more detail.

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These are our project team members and the members of our advisory board.

In our wonderful project research team we bundle, share, and nurture our knowledge, thinking, practical approach, creativity, diversity, passions, perspectives, and sense of humour.


Prof. dr. Xandra Kramer

I am the project leader and professor of private law (focus on international & European litigation) at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam; professor of private international law at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance of Utrecht University; and Deputy Judge in the District Court of Rotterdam. My alma mater is Leiden University. In the law area, I am fascinated by the crossroads between procedural justice and economic efficiency; the functioning of civil justice systems; transnational complex litigation; and the harmonisation of European private international law and civil procedure (see also xandrakramer.eu). In daily life, I am inspired, intrigued, and moved by people, the beauty of nature, (non law) books, and music.

Email: kramer@law.eur.nl | Phone: +31 (0)10 408 1628


Dr. Erlis Themeli

I am a postdoc researcher at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the postdoc project Digitalisation of Civil Justice (eJustice). I graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Tirana in 2006, and obtained my master's degree in Comparative Private and International Private Law from the University of Groningen, in 2012. In March 2018, I defended my PhD thesis on the competition of civil justice systems in EU, at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Between 2005 and 2011, I worked in the banking and litigation department of one of the largest law firms in Albania, and was head of the projects sector at the High Council of Justice in Albania. Since 2006, I have been a member of the Albanian Chamber of Advocates, and was admitted to the bar in 2007. I like to spend my free time expanding my already broad interests, from Who Were the Sea People, the iconoclastic wars in the 7th century, to the development of the 5th generation jet fighters.

Email: themeli@law.eur.nl


Dr. Alexandre Biard

I am a postdoc researcher at Erasmus School of Law, working on the subproject Privatisation of Civil Justice (ADR). I hold master's degrees from Sciences Po Paris (2009) and University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2010), and completed my Ph.D thesis on collective redress and judicial behaviour at Erasmus School of Law, Bologna University and Hamburg University in 2014. I was admitted to the Paris Bar in 2015, and worked at the European Commission (Directorate General for Health & Consumers), and in the litigation and EU regulatory departments of several law firms in Paris and Brussels. I am also a volunteer fellow in the non-profit organisation The Good Lobby fostering access to justice for civil society organisations through pro bono cooperation. My list of publications is available here.

Email: biard@law.eur.nl


Dr. Jos Hoevenaars

I am a postdoc researcher at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the subproject Self-Representation in Civil Justice. I studied Sociology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and obtained my master's degree in 2011. Between 2012 and 2017, I worked as a PhD researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Sociology of Law and the Centre for Migration Law of the Radboud University Nijmegen. I successfully defended my Ph.D thesis on private party litigation before the Court of Justice of the European Union at the Radboud University Nijmegen in March 2018. Apart from my academic work, I also work as a musician, music producer, I am a keen cyclist as well as the co-founder and editor of Rotterdam-based journal ‘Het Potentieel’.

Email: hoevenaars@law.eur.nl


Emma van Gelder LLM

I am a PhD candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the subproject Digitalisation of Civil Procedure (ODR). I studied law at Utrecht University and obtained my master’s degree in Legal Research (July 2017, cum laude). During my Master’s I did several research projects in different interesting fields of law. I worked as a trainee at the European Court of Auditors, where I was involved in research concerning the European Court of Auditors as an accountability forum for European Enforcement Authorities. Besides academic books, I love to read novels in the sun, dance, listen to music and hang out with Georgia (see below).

Email: gelder@law.eur.nl // 'PhD in the Spotlight' Video


Georgia Antonopoulou LLM

I am a PhD candidate at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the subproject Court Specialisation. I am a graduate of the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2011) with postgraduate studies in Civil Procedure and International Litigation Law, at the same University (2015). I have completed my LL.M. focusing on International Private Law and European Procedure Law at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany. I was admitted to the Athens Bar in 2014, and worked as an attorney at law specialising in compulsory enforcement law, insolvency law and estate law for several law firms in Athens. In my free time, I jog at a slow, turtle like pace and I enjoy watching Southpark again and again.

Email: antonopoulou@law.eur.nl // 'PhD in the Spotlight' Video


Kyra Hanemaayer LLB

I am a student-assistant at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, working on the ERC project. I finished my BSc Economics & Business Economics at the Erasmus School of Economics and my LL.B. Law at the Erasmus School of Law in 2017. In 2018, I will obtain my master's degree in International Economics at the Erasmus School of Economics.

Email: hanemaayer@law.eur.nl



Advisory Board

Our advisory board offers expertise on national law and specific topics of our research, gives feedback on our activities, and supports in the design and implementation of empirical research where necessary. We are grateful to our advisory board members.

Members of our advisory board are:


Prof. dr. Burkhard Hess

Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law; Professor in Civil Law, Civil Procedure, Private International Law, European Law and Public International Law (Faculty of Law, Heidelberg University). His research interests include European civil procedural law; German civil procedural law.


Prof. dr. Christopher Hodges

Professor of Justice Systems, and head of the Swiss Re/CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. His research interests include Civil Justice Systems (procedural and funding systems); Multi-Party Actions (class actions and representative/collective actions); EU Regulation of Products; Healthcare law; Product liability; and Consumer law.


Prof. dr. Peter Mascini

Professor in Empirical Legal Studies at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus University Rotterdam at which university he is also an associate professor of sociology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. His research focuses on the legitimization, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies.


Prof. dr. Elisabetta Silvestri

Associate Professor of Italian Civil Procedure and Comparative Civil Procedure; Scientific Director of the post-graduate program for the training of mediators and ADR professionals, Department of Law, University of Pavia. Her research interests include collective redress; ADR; and the structure of EU judicial systems.


Dr. John Sorabji

Senior Judicial Institute Fellow, Faculty of Laws, University College, London; Principal Legal Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Master of the Rolls. His research interests include the operation of Civil Justice Systems; procedural reform and innovation; and, the philosophy of litigation. He is, amongst other things, the assistant editor of The White Book, the leading commentary on English and Welsh civil procedure.


Prof. dr. Sebastian Spinei

Associate professor of Civil procedure, Faculty of Law, Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu. His research interests include Civil procedure, Civil enforcement, Judicial systems and Legal profession.