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School of Law

Professor Mark Van Hoecke


Professor of Comparative Law

Room Number: Mile End


Mark VAN HOECKE is Professor of Comparative Law at Queen Mary University of London. He studied philosophy and law at the University of Ghent (Belgium). M.A. Eastern European Studies (Flemish Interuniversity Program). PhD at Ghent University in 1979. 

After having been a lecturer at the University of Antwerp and advocate at the bar in Ghent, he held professorial positions at the universities of Antwerp, Leuven, Tilburg and Brussels (Katholieke Universiteit Brussel (now the Brussels campus of Leuven University), of which he was the rector from 2002-2007). 

In 2001-2002 he was a visiting professor at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). 

From February 2008 until September 2014 he has been a full time research professor for ‘Legal Theory & Comparative Law’ at the University of Ghent. From October 2011 until September 2014 he also held the position of Director of the Doctoral School Arts, Humanities & Law at this university. 

In December 2015 he took up a position as Professor of Comparative Law and joined the Law Department at Queen Mary University of London. 

In 2010 he was the ‘Julius Stone Institute for Jurisprudence Distinguished Visiting Professor’ at the University of Sydney. 

He also held visiting professorships at the University of Münster (Germany), the University of Lagos (Nigeria), Renmin University, Beijing (China) and Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany). 

Since 1989 he is the founding co-director, with François Ost, and now President of the European Academy of Legal Theory, organising the Master's Course in Legal Theory in Brussels from 1992 till 2009, in Vienna in 2012-13 and at Goethe University Frankfurt as from the academic year 2014-15 until now. He is also still teaching in this program. 

His publications include: Mens- en maatschappijbeeld van de rechter (The Ideology of the Judge) (Ghent 1975), De interpretatievrijheid van de rechter (The Freedom of Interpretation of the Judge) (Antwerp: Kluwer 1979) (revised edition in German: Norm, Kontext und Entscheidung. Die Interpretationsfreiheit des Richters, Leuven: ACCO 1988), What is Legal Theory? (Leuven, ACCO 1985), with other authors, Algemene rechtsbeginselen (General Principles of Law) (Antwerp: Kluwer 1991), Law as Communication (Oxford: Hart 2002) and, with B. Bouckaert, Inleiding tot het Recht (Introduction to Law) (30th ed., Leuven: ACCO 2022). As an editor (or co-editor) his publications include, besides the books mentioned below: Objectivity in Law and Legal Reasoning edited with Jaakko Husa (Oxford: Hart 2013). 

His current research focuses on theory and methodology of comparative law and of legal research. See, e.g., his publications 'Legal Cultures, Legal Paradigms and Legal Doctrine: Towards a New Model for Comparative Law', 47 The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 1998, 495-536 (with M. Warrington) and 'Legal doctrine in crisis: towards a European legal science', 18 Legal Studies 1998, 197-215 (with F.Ost)., the edited volumes The Harmonisation of Private Law in Europe (Oxford 2000) (with F.Ost) and Epistemology and Methodology of Comparative Law (Oxford 2004) and his contributions to those volumes. Furthermore: ‘Do “Legal Systems” Exist? The Concept of Law and Comparative Law’ (chapter 3 in S.P.Donlan & L.Heckendorn Urscheler, eds., Concepts of Law, Farnham: Ashgate, 2014, 43-57), and ‘Legal Culture and Legal Transplants’ (chapter 16 in R.Nobles & D.Schiff, eds., Law, Society and Community, Farnham: Ashgate, 2014, 273-291). Methodology of Comparative Law, Law and Method, December 2015. With M.Adams, he published Comparative Methods in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences, Elgar, 2021. 

He also did some research on the methodology of legal doctrine. See, eg, ‘Legal Doctrine: Which Method(s) for What Kind of Discipline’ in M.Van Hoecke (ed.), Methodology of Legal Research. Which Kind of Method(s) for What Kind of Discipline(s)?, (Hart, Oxford, 2011). 


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