1. Vacatures
  2. VU
  3. PhD candidate at Criminal Law Department & NSCR. Project: "Silence as Evidence"

Helaas, deze vacature staat inmiddels niet meer online

Kijk gerust verder naar andere vacatures.

PhD candidate at Criminal Law Department & NSCR. Project: "Silence as Evidence"

"Silence as Evidence” - Exploring the role of silence in evidence constructions at national and international criminal casesThis research project will focus …

8 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


"Silence as Evidence” - Exploring the role of silence in evidence constructions at national and international criminal cases

This research project will focus on exploring and researching the ways, in which suspect’s silence in criminal cases is being used in evidence constructions.

The right to remain silent is one of the fundamental rights of an accused during criminal proceedings. Nevertheless, there is anecdotal evidence that the suspect's silence, or giving a non-plausible explanation, can be and is being used implicitly or explicitly by criminal judges in evidence construction and in sentencing. This reliance on suspect’s silence for both evidence construction and sentencing has been subject to heavy criticism. It undermines the suspect’s right to remain silent, and in practice leads to dubious convictions, as judges use their common sense to infer conclusions from the suspect’s silence, or from his/her implausible explanations. In addition, as the criminal law enforcement deals increasingly more with cross-border, international issues (foreign suspects, crimes committed elsewhere), subtle or not so subtle cultural differences between the judges and the suspect can further compromise accurate fact finding and cloud the evidence construction.

However, so far no research has systematically explored the reliance on silence in evidence construction in domestic, cross-border, and international cases. It is no clear how endemic the problem is, and how criminal judges actually use suspect’s silence in their argumentation and evidence construction in these different types of cases. It is also not evident under which conditions the silence of the suspect could be used legally and fairly. This project, therefore, aims at filling this gap and will conduct systematic, comparative, theoretical and empirical research into the use of silence in evidence constructions in national, cross-border, and international criminal judgments.


The PhD student will be asked to among other things:
  • Develop an innovative research plan, combining legal doctrinal and empirical methodology to study the use of silence in evidence constructions across different types of cases
  • Conduct legal theoretical, doctrinal, and legal empirical research on the use of silence in evidence constructions across different types of cases
  • Publish and communicate research results to academics and practitioners in both Dutch and international criminal law practice
  • Participate in education activities of the Department and teach master and bachelor law students, especially in the field of his/her own research expertise
  • Contribute to other activities relevant to the PhD student of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology and the NSCR


We are looking for a motivated and talented candidate who is interested in, and able to, conduct both scientific legal doctrinal and legal empirical research. We seek a candidate who has not only affinity for academic research, but who is also driven and interested to work closely with (international) criminal law practitioners and who will develop tools to implement results of his/her research in practice.

The candidate must have a (research) Master in (international) criminal law, and demonstrated skills (or clear interest) in conducting not only legal doctrinal research, but also using empirical, social scientific methodology. He/she has demonstrable affinity with conducting scientific research (for example, evidenced by an excellent thesis, a publication, or having completed a research master's degree). He/she has demonstrated not only knowledge of Dutch and (interest in) international criminal law and practice, but also ability to use empirical, social scientific methodology to study the law and practice of its enforcement. The candidate is expected to speak and write fluently both Dutch and English.


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae, grade list, and motivation letter until 14 november 2019.
Based on the submitted documents candidates will or will not be selected for an interview The candidates selected for the interview will be asked to develop and write a research plan. Further information will be provided to the selected candidates after the first round of selections.The job interviews are planned for 9 and 10 December 2019, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Lonneke Stevens
Position: Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
E-mail: l.stevens@vu.nl

No agencies