Post-doc Researcher in Public International Law (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Law


University of Groningen

The Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen is a modern, (inter)nationally oriented institution, which builds on a long-standing tradition of almost four centuries. The faculty has the ambition to measure itself with the best law faculties in Europe and continuously renews its curriculum in order to educate lawyers with a broad orientation, accustomed to look beyond the borders of their own (sub) discipline. The faculty’s research is often cross- and multidisciplinary. The faculty offers several (inter)national bachelor and master programmes and hosts more than 4.000 students and almost 350 members of staff. The faculty’s LLM programme on Public International Law has been ranked by the Dutch LLM Guide (Keuzegids) for the last two academic years as the best LLM programme in Public International Law in The Netherlands.

ERC Project: The Rules of Interpretation of Customary International Law (TRICI-Law)

The position is part of the ERC project of Prof. Panos Merkouris within the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies. This ERC project, led by Prof. Panos Merkouris, revolves around the rules of interpretation of customary international law (CIL). CIL along with treaties are the sources most often used in international law. However, whereas the rules of interpretation of treaties have been enshrined in Articles 31-33 VCLT, the rules of interpretation of CIL have not been the subject of critical study.

The postdoc researcher will focus on points of convergence/divergence between the rules of interpretation of CIL and those of treaties and of unilateral acts.

The research is part of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant project “The Rules of Interpretation of Customary International Law” (Acronym: TRICI-Law).

Job description

The postdoc position is connected to research regarding the interpretation of customary international law.

The postdoc researcher is expected to focus on points of convergence/divergence between the rules of interpretation of CIL and those of treaties and of unilateral acts. It will provide answers as to what the similarities and the differences are in both the nature and the content of these rules and inquire into the reasons that may explain these points of convergence/divergence. Furthermore, it will examine the points of convergence/divergence between these rules not only as they stand now, but as they have evolved through the passage of time. The end result will be to create a matrix and a handbook devoted to these issues.

The researcher is expected to successfully undertake research on the project, publish and edit books and articles, attend, present in, and organize conferences and workshops, assist the Principal Investigator with daily supervisory duties pertaining to the project and undertake some teaching duties relevant to the project. The researcher will also be expected to participate actively in the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies, a lively legal multidisciplinary department that includes international law and legal theory.


• PhD (or being in the final phase of submitting a PhD thesis)
• excellent marks in and knowledge of Public International Law
• interest in and affinity with legal scientific research and particularly international legal theory and dispute settlement
• a background in legal practice and/or publications in international law would be an advantage
• internships at international courts and tribunals would be an advantage
• excellent knowledge of English (written and oral); excellent or working knowledge of German, French and/or other languages would be an advantage
• excellent communication and reporting skills, also in relation to non-legal scholars
• demonstrable competences: planning and organizing, conceptual capacity, presenting, monitoring, flexibility, independence, analytical skills
• willingness to co-supervise PhD students
• ability to work both individually and as part of a team.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
• a salary of € 3,637 gross per month in the first year (salary scale 11, start position step 0, up to a maximum of € 3,895 gross per month (salary scale 11, step 2)
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• a temporary position of one year with the option of up to a 2½ year extension (up to 3½ years in total), conditional on sufficient progress in the first year. The total duration of the post-doc position is 3½ years (42 months). You will initially be appointed for a period of one year (12 months). After 9 months, a formal performance evaluation will take place. If the performance evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended up to the remaining period of 3½ years.

Researchers from outside The Netherlands may qualify for favourable tax agreements.

The faculty offers the opportunity to attend international conferences and to participate in workshops and seminars. The research project also has its own funds for travel and accommodation.

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:
• a cover letter
• curriculum vitae
• a scanned version of your PhD degree, or a letter attesting to the fact that you are in the final stages of completion of your PhD
• a list of grades from your master’s degree (and list of publications if applicable) and the names and contact details of two referees, who may be contacted
• a writing sample of up to 10.000 words, including footnotes (on a topic related to the TRICI-Law project).

You can submit your application until 15 August 11:59pm / before 16 August 2019 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

In the header of all of these documents you should mention the vacancy number.

Depending on the applications, short-listed candidates may be invited for an interview which will take place during the end of August 2019. In such a case, it will also be possible to interview remotely.

The starting date of the position is 1 October 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers.

Code of Conduct:

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. Panos Merkouris
+31 50 3638258

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219403

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Faculty of Law TRICI-Law project

Digital application form