The Postdoc researcher (with a two-year appointment for 0.9-1.0 FTE) will focus on using and developing data science techniques

The Postdoc researcher (with a two-year appointment for 0.9-1.0 FTE) will focus on using and developing data science techniques to analyse national and international court judgements. The techniques include machine learning and network analysis, but there is the option to include other techniques and legal datasets.

Legal research and data science
The Postdoc researcher will – in an international and interdisciplinary team of other researchers – develop tools to systematically collect and analyse international, European and national legal data. With supervised ML algorithms, such as SVMs and deep neural networks, we aim to identify predictors for the outcome of court cases (i.e., eviction versus no eviction). Furthermore, citation network analysis will be used to identify interactions between local courts, national supreme courts, and international courts.

The Postdoc researcher will also participate in the LAWNOTATION project, which aims to develop an infrastructure that enables researchers in the field of law, social sciences, and humanities to systematically analyze legal documents such as legislation and court decisions. The infrastructure will allow access to and sharing of data. It will make legal data and annotation schemes accessible for annotation and analysis purposes. Furthermore, an annotation platform and user interface will be developed.

The researcher is expected to successfully undertake research in the project; publish and edit peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters; as well as attend, present at, and organise conferences and workshops; and undertake (limited) teaching activities related to the ERC project. The researcher will assist the Principal Investigator with daily supervisory duties pertaining to the project.

Similar project members of the EVICT team worked on include:
• Using machine learning to predict decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, Artificial Intelligence and Law 2020:…)2Fs10506-019-09255-y
• Automatic Judgement Forecasting for Pending Applications of the European Court of Human Rights, ASAIL 2021:
• Automatically Identifying Eviction Cases and Outcomes Within Case Law of Dutch Courts of First Instance, Jurix 2021:

Department of Legal Methods & Computational linguistics research group
The researcher will become a member of the Department of Legal Methods, a lively legal multidisciplinary department at the faculty of law. The researcher will also participate in the computational linguistics research group at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen (located in the same building as the Faculty of Law).


• a PhD degree (or being in the final phase of such a degree) in computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, language and communication technologies, or similar, with excellent marks
• interested in and experience with machine learning techniques and network analysis techniques.
• interested in and experience with interdisciplinary scientific research and methodology
• highly proficient in spoken and written English (a writing sample will be requested).
• a working knowledge of Dutch, Spanish and/or other languages will be considered an advantage, but is not essential.
• willingness to co-supervise PhD and (researcher) master students.
• ability to work both individually and as part of a team
• demonstrable competences: planning and organising, conceptual capacity, presenting, monitoring, flexibility, independent, analytical skills.


Since its founding in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. We encourage the 37,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Among the best research universities in Europe, we join forces with prestigious partner universities and networks around the world, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Law is building on a longstanding tradition of four centuries. Its mission is to be an ambitious top-ranking faculty of law with both high-quality education and research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of The Netherlands.

The faculty creates and shares knowledge through outstanding education and research, benefitting society. With more than 3,400 students, the faculty is heavily involved in educating students, both Dutch and international. The faculty is a modern, broad and international institution, educating students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent lawyers.

European Research Council project
This position is part of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant project “The Impact of the International Right to Housing on National Legal Discourse: Using Data Science Techniques to Analyse Eviction Litigation (EVICT)”. The project is led by Prof. Michel Vols, and positioned within the Department of Legal Methods.

This project aims to:
A. conceptualise the international right to housing by analysing this right as a loosely associated network of housing rights, as codified in or implied by international and European treaties, case law, and the decisions of international and European official bodies and committees;
B. determine and explain the impact, or lack thereof, of the international right to housing on national legal and judicial discourses by collecting and analysing data on citations of international case law used in national case law, extracting and assessing data on arguments used by parties/courts in case law, and examining the power of particular normative arguments used in the data;
C. identify and explain the predictors of judicial decision-making in national eviction litigation by applying Machine Learning techniques, and assess whether these predictors can be linked to the right to housing discourse;
D. explore how data science methods used in EVICT can be used in other areas of the legal discipline;
E. share the collected corpora of legal data on an open access data hub (

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, with a minimum of € 3,420 (salary scale 10, step 4) up to a maximum of € 5,230 (salary scale 11 max) gross per month for a full-time position
• a position of 0.9-1.0 FTE (90-100%)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment
• participation in a pension scheme for employees
• a temporary position of one year (12 months) with the option of renewal for another your (12 months). Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year.

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.

The starting date of the position is September 1, 2022, or as soon as possible before or after that date.


A project synopsis can be found online ( For the full version contact Prof. Michel Vols by email.

If you are interested and you meet our qualification criteria, please include within your application:

• 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 three referees, who may be contacted
• a writing sample of up to 10,000 words, including footnotes (on a topic related to the EVICT project).

You may apply for this position until 14 March 11.59h CET / before 15 March 2022 Dutch local time CET by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview which will take place in March 2022. It will also be possible to interview remotely.

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,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Additional information


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