Summer course Private Law and Vulnerability

The 2018 CSECL International Summer School will provide a cross-disciplinary exploration of the relationships between vulnerability and private law. The focus will be on private law both as a cause of and as a (possible) solution to the problem of vulnerability.

The vulnerability of particular groups and individuals, in particular in relation to growing power imbalances and various other types of inequalities, raises serious concerns. Against this background, the Summer School will explore questions of private law and vulnerability, inviting both more theoretical and more concrete treatments of the topic. How is vulnerability currently shaped, enacted and/or possibly reinforced in private legal relations? And, as regards solutions, has private law exhausted all its possibilities to address issues of vulnerability, especially with regard to the emergence of particular new types of vulnerable parties? If so, can we imagine new/possible alternatives? The Summer School engages these and other questions, including the more fundamental question as to what extent it is the responsibility of private law to cancel or mitigate the impact of relational and social vulnerabilities of certain individuals on their private legal relationships. While contract law is naturally within the scope of the Summer School, it explicitly also includes other private law subjects, such as property, tort and family law.

For whom?

We invite Masters students, Graduate/PhD students, Postdoctoral researchers and other junior scholars in law, the social sciences and humanities, to apply for the 2018 International Summer School. The Summer School offers master classes by prominent scholars, and provides participants with a unique opportunity to present their own work and receive valuable feedback from their peers and the advanced scholars teaching the programme.

Applicants should express an interest in private law, private legal theory and/or philosophy of law. Those admitted are expected to attend all the sessions, read the course literature in advance, and participate actively in the course sessions. To the extent possible the literature will be made available to the participants prior to the course. 

How to apply?

Applications should consist of a CV; an abstract (max 500 words) of a proposed paper, or work in progress, on the topic of private law and vulnerability to present and discuss at the Summer School; a letter of motivation which includes a brief description of the applicant’s own research, and the contact information of one referee who may be contacted. The referee should be someone who knows the applicant’s work well, such as a supervisor or other professor. Applications should be emailed to and

There is a maximum of 20 places available. Admission will be competitive, based on CV, the abstract, the letter of motivation, and the overall relevance of the summer school for the applicant’s own research.


  • The deadline for application is (extended to) Monday, 16 April 2018. Decisions on admission will be made within four weeks from the application deadline.
  • Submission of paper, or work in progress, to present at the Summer School: 11 June 2018.


There is no course fee, but participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs and living expenses. The CSECL can offer some assistance with suggesting and arranging accommodation. For information contact Yvonne ter Horst at

Summer school students LLC

Photo: Teska Overbeeke


There is a maximum of eight scholarships (up to 400 euros each) available to cover the costs of travel and accommodation. Scholarships are only available to participants who do not have sufficient access to funding for course participation through their home institution. If necessary, please indicate your request for a scholarship clearly in your application letter, and confirm that your home institution is not providing financial support for your participation to the Summer School. Amongst eligible candidates, preference will be given to applicants who are unable to attend the summer school without financial assistance. 

Schedule (tentative)


Monday 2 July                     Political philosophies of weaker party protection

Morning                                 Workshop by Martijn Hesselink


Afternoon                               Participant Paper Discussions


Tuesday 3 July                     Just Interpersonal Relationships

Morning                                  Workshop by Hanoch Dagan


Afternoon                               Participant Paper Discussions


Wednesday 4 July                The Interpersonal Consequences of Institutional Injustice

Morning                                  Workshop by Aditi Bagchi


Afternoon                               Participant Paper Discussions



Thursday 5 July                   Contract Justice: Vulnerability and Capability

Morning                                 Workshop by Lyn Tjon Soei Len


Afternoon                               Participant Paper Discussions (tentative)

Conditions for admission
Language of instruction
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Published by  Amsterdam Law School