About Project

Digital Paul Scholten Project (DPSP)

Paul Scholten’s Algemeen Deel (“General Part”, published in 1931) is an important part of the Dutch Cultural Legal Heritage. Dutch legal theorists want to refer to it, when writing for a global audience. This means that the text not only has to be translated in English, but also has to become part of the international scholarly discourse.
DPSP makes an annotated translation in English of the first chapter of the Algemeen Deel. This first chapter is 179 pages long and is generally seen as the most important part of the book. It is about the method of law and treats all relevant problems of legal theory in a very clear and cohesive narrative. The editorial board of DPSP has given the translation a new title to distinguish it from the book as a whole. This title is General Method of Private Law and is a contamination of the title of the whole book (algemeen deel) and the title of the first chapter of it (de methode van het privaatrecht). It also describes well what Paul Scholten says in the preface (par. 2) about the subject of the book: it doesn’t treat a specific part of the civil law, but discusses that which is common to all the parts (…): namely the method.
Explanatory annotations are needed to explain translation choices and to update many references in the text. These annotations in English will also be useful for the already existing French and Indonesian translations and for the forthcoming Portuguese one. To produce the annotations comparative legal research is needed. The comparison will be focused on the legal theory in different countries and on different theoretical perspectives: sociology, history, anthropology, theology or political science. The website creates a digital research environment for the comparative research.

The goals of the  project:

1.Finalize the English translation of the General Method of Private Law, of which a first draft is now online, and make annotations to it.
2.Create a platform for the scientific inquiry and discussions needed to produce the annototions.
3.Publish the annotated translation in a way which does justice to the fact that it is based on a collaborative research to which many individual scientists have contributed.
4.Make the other (mostly Dutch) works of Paul Scholten free downloadable to broaden the attention for the ideas of Paul Scholten in the Netherlands. Initiate correction and translation of these texts by offering wordfiles, next to PDF’s .
5.Make it easy for others to set up comparable online projects by posting the full documentation of the technical development on the website.

Hosting, funding and finalization of the project

The project is hosted by the faculty of law, the department of General Jurisprudence. It is intended that the project will be finished in 2020. The law faculty has funded (about € 65.000) the development of the project, more particularly the development of the website. The translation in English has been made on a voluntary basis (read more about the translation committee). From January 2015 on the faculty donates till 2020 a budget (very small, yearly € 4000) for maintenance and management of the site and the project.  In 2020 the main content of the website will be published. The editorial board of the project is in contact with publishing houses about the possibilities and costs of such a publication. As soon as these costs are known, a fundraising for it will be started. Other goals for which this fundraising will be needed are: some further technical developments of the site and the organization of the yearly Symposia, which are necessary for the elaboration of the theoretical relevance of the General Method of Private Law.

The reason for a digital approach

The main aim of the project is to create an annotated English translation of the General Method of Private Law of Paul Scholten and to make it part of the international scholarly discourse. Why was it necessary to do this in the form of a digital project? The reason for this was that the social legal context of the book has been so completely transformed in the past decennia, that many of the references made Paul Scholten have become inexplicable. This societal change can be summarized in the following way:
Following World War II, law was used as a social technique with which to rebuild Europe. When things were more or less normalized around 1970, an attempt was made to consolidate this use of law. This involved a complete reconceptualization of the traditional conception of law in terms of the predictability of behavior. New courses in the theory of science, social sciences and legal (political) philosophy were introduced at the law faculties in a concerted effort to institutionalize the instrumental concept of law. These new disciplines defended the idea that law was not an academic discipline at all, but just a kind of common sense, like natural language. The theoretical void was filled by borrowing the methods of the social sciences. The traditional conception of law was treated with clear misrepresentions and as a caricature, for example depicting the era before World War II in terms of legalism, dogmatism  and formalism, while the main argument to make in the Netherlands a new code for private law after the war was the fact that there had been so many diverging court decisions from the first code (dating from1838) that one could no longer learn the law from the old code.
Thus the European civil law tradition was gradually replaced by the regulatory and disciplinary perspectives of the social sciences. This shift of intellectual climate was followed in the Netherlands by the complete renewal of the Civil Code and the subsequent dismantling of the departments of the history of law at most universities. For a meaningful translation of the General Method of Private Law and to be able to explain its relevance, a reverse reconceptualization of the age-old European academic tradition is needed.  Once again a concerted effort is required; this time to recollect an imaginative understanding of a concept of law which is not instrumental and which in fact formed the core of the European tradition.
There is still substantial knowledge available about this tradition in the Netherlands and abroad, including written material, albeit scattered and hidden. As an example,  few people knew that in 1954 a French translation of the Algemeen Deel was made. The relatives of the author of the French translation had to be traced abroad with the help of advertisements (crowd searching) in order to be able to add this translation to this website.  It was also rumoured that there was an Indonesian translation, some Indonesians said they had seen it, and indeed more or less by accident it was found in the Royal Library of the Netherlands. But the relatives still have to be found, to be able to publish this translation on the website.
The Paul Scholten project is set up as a digital research project in order to be able to trace this knowledge and the materials, to have them available in the public domain, and to discuss their value by applying all the comparative skills which have been developed in recent years. The General Method of Private Law is written as a general survey of the fundamental aspects of law. This means that Paul Scholten had treated all of the basic questions about the nature of law – which today are standard for introductory courses in law. The transformation which has taken place during the last decennia can thus be traced back in all these basic aspects of the concept of law. The comparison of Paul Scholten’s conception with  current conceptions of law in a truly interactive and international digital forum can contribute to important and far-reaching insights into the possible structures of law.

The research

On the homepage of the site you find six entrances: translations, research, life and works, policies, pre-publications and publications.
In translations you will find side-by side the different translations of the General Method of Private Law: dutch-english, french-english, indonesian-english, dutch-french and dutch-indonesian. All texts are divided in numbered paragraphs which makes comparison easy. It is possible to give comments on these pages about the chosen translation or anything else that comes to mind. These comments have a limited space for words.
In research you will find research questions. At this moment there are only few research questions formulated, because the focus is still primarily on the theoretical relevance by which the General Method of Private Law will be interesting for scholars abroad. All registered users can propose new research questions by email to the contactaddress. Once a research question is posted, articles can be submitted to it, which are immediately posted as a preprint in prepublications. The project management takes care of the open peer review of all submitted articles. When the peer-review is ready, the articles will be published in publications. Users can submit an article upon their own initiative, but the propejct management will also invited authors. Next to articles, the project management will also publish drafts, not only of the translations, but also of the annotations. These drafts will be open for comments.
In policies you will find the editorial policy, author instruction and technical information about the site

History of the Project

Prelimenary steps

On the first of October in 2010 the Digital Paul Scholten Project was started with the inaugural meeting of the Editorial Board. Right up to the 15th November 2013 this editorial board  has been involved in the realization of the infrastructure of a website, necessary to start the interactive research. The available standards for annotating and discussing a text had to be adjusted for this new research context. The complexity of this job caused some delays in the construction of the site.
grant application to the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) in March 2011 was unsuccessful in terms of money, but the NWO deemed the project eligible, and this was a reason for the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam to procure the money needed to engage a firm to build a website. Because this budget was not enough to pay for a professional translator, it was decided that a small committee of members of the Editorial Board would start with the translation. Happily they also found the help of one of the PhD researchers at the faculty, Cassandra Steer, who is a native English speaker. Read more
In the beginning of September 2012 the website paulscholten.eu went online with the first 46 pages of the corrected translation as a draft, to be commented. In the mean time it had become clear that it was absolutely necessary to work with open source software for the project and it became apparent that the firm that had built the website thus far could not cope with this requirement and with the other challenges of bringing a legal theory project to life through web-building. In January 2013 the faculty procured the budget to engage Woovar for this. In February 2013 a functional description of the project was ready, in April an evaluation of existing software  and mock ups were made. The actual (re)building process started in June.

Translation online

15 November 2013 a Symposium, funded by the Bregstein Foundation, took place for the occasion of the launch of the renovated site. Read more in News (past activities) about the content of this Symposium.The 16th November there was a kick off meeting for a renewed Editorial Board with the international scientists who had already expressed their interest in the project in the course of the NWO grant application. Read more in News (constitutive meeting).  At that moment the following had been accomplished:
* a first draft had been made of a translation in English of Paul Scholten’s main text;
* a website had been constructed on which this draft could be viewed/printed side by side with an already existing French translation (1954) and with the original Dutch text. On these translation pages comments could be posted for each of the 530 numbered paragraphs.
* the bibliography of all Paul Scholten’s works could be viewed and printed on the website. It still has to be corrected
* the main theoretical works of Paul Scholten had been published in open access on the website. They could be viewed, downloaded and printed as image-files and as text-files. The textfiles still have to be corrected.

Development Nov.2013- Nov.2014

* the translation committee inserted its considerations as comments to the text. This revealed some problems with the comment-software as the comments appeared to loose their contact with the text when this was updated. The paragraphs ended up under the general heading of the first comment (comments on the whole post). This problem is tackled by inserting the paragraph number into the comment. Then it is easy to place them back where they belong.  There are practically no substantial comments given up till now. Which conclusions do we have to draw from this?
* software has been implemented to make research contributions immediately available in open access as preprints. Preprints are waiting for review and can be revised several times as a result of reviews or other forms of discussion about the text. The different versions of the text, the reviews and other forms of comments on the text, will keep connected to the published text in its development and when publicated in final version. This means that the preprints can be cited.
* the knowledge has been developed to give preprints and publications meta-data that create a high visibility on the internet.
* the first draft of the English translation has been published as a preprint. It can therefore be cited and discussed. Also the new editions of the original Dutch text and the French translation are published as citable preprints. The software has been developed to take care that an identical text forms the basis for the side by side display and for the standalone preprint. A new title has been given to these three new editions to prevent confusion between the text of the General Part as a whole (three chapters) and publications of chapter 1 only.
* the first research contributions have been published as preprints, which means that they can be cited and that the experiment with open peer review could start. For this the texts had to be edited and an <a href=”http://www.paulscholten.eu/author-instruction/”>authorinstruction</a> had to be developed. This authorinstruction strives for a reduction of editorial work by the introduction of the reference manager Zotero and the creation of a group library. Further on this reference-manager Zotero has been worked out to function for data-collection on translation choices for juridical concepts, institutions and legislation, for the references to courtdecisions and legislation and for the functional description of institutions. <a href=”http://www.paulscholten.eu/tutorials-for-authors/”>Tutorials</a> have been made for this.
* it is decided to treat the DPSP first and foremost as a research project with a limited durability of 5 years and with a planning directed at finalization by that time. This means that it should be established in the near future how the long term availability of the complete content of the site (including the submitted articles) can be guaranteed after these 5 years.
* <span style=”font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.45;”>-all documentation and codes for the construction of the website have been published now in open access on the website.
* a second Paul Scholten symposium was organised in November. It was combined with a workshop by being the closing event of this. The workshop was very successful and the contributions of it will be published in a book by Springer in 2017. Read more about the Symposium in News, past activities.

Recent developments (2015)

For two speakers from Brazil (Nuno Coelho and Luciano Penteado), who were invited as keynote speakers for the second Paul Scholten symoposium the reading of Paul Scholtens General Method of Private Law was so interesting that they asked permission to make a translation in Portuguese and publish it in Brazil. They already gave a course about the text in the autumn of 2014 and will use the General Method of Private Law as student material. The Editorial board gave the permission under the condition that the Portuguese translation will be part of the volume that the DPSPproject will publish in 2020 in Open Access.
The already existing Indonesian translation (1986) is put online.
In november a workshop will be held about New Perspectives on Law and Reality. The workshop will be international of nature, but will have a special focus on Indonesian legel culture because of the publication of the Indonesian translation. Read more in News (announcements).

The Editorial Board

The  editorial board consists of the following members:

Chairman: Laurens Winkelprofessor emeritus of Legal History at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Deputy judge at the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam. Studied Dutch Law at the University of Amsterdam and law at the Université des Sciences Sociales Toulouse I. He received in 1983 his doctor’s degree cum laude for a thesis on the meaning of error iuris in Greek philosophy and Roman law. Taught as a guest professor at the Universities of Zürich, Fribourg, the Université Paris V René Descartes, the Università “La Sapienza” in Rome and the University of Ghent. Member of the editorial board of the Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis and Grotiana. From 2001 till 2011 he was a member of the Council for the Humanities of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 he received a doctorate honoris causa at the University of Edinburgh. Publishes on the historical/philosophical aspects of Civil Law, the pre-modern State and the history of international law.

Vice-chairman: André Hoekema– emeritus professor of Sociology of Law and Legal Pluralism, still affiliated with the University of Amsterdam after having studied both Sociology and Dutch Law there. In 1972 he wrote his doctoral thesis at the University of Amsterdam on the informal way small theft is handled in the port area of Rotterdam. In the last 15 years has been publishing on territorial rights, legal reform, and ways to “pluralize” the state and its legal order, mostly in Latin American and some African countries. Is a member of an expert group of European lawyers, anthropologists and political scientists who meet regularly to discuss empirical studies about the way judges, lawyers and other legal professionals deal with multicultural claims. The interaction between legal and sociological/anthropological theory has been one of the recurring topics of his academic interest. In this context he has also devoted attention to Scholten and his contemporaries such as Levenbach, Valkhoff, Hijmans and Sinzheimer.

Research Director of the Project: Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer– affiliated till 2020 as guestresearcher at the University of Amsterdam. Studied Dutch Law and Teaching Philosophy, both at the University of Amsterdam. Wrote her dissertation on the relevance of the theory of science in the context of legal education in 1995 and lectured on various subjects in legal philosophy, sociology of law, epistemology of law and argumentation theory. Her current research topic is the translation and comparative analysis of a famous text by Paul Scholten on the method of private law. She has recently published on the philosophy of Aristotle.

Jaap Baaij – Graduate Tutor and J.S.D. Candidate at Yale Law School, and External Fellow at the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law at Amsterdam Law School. Previously, he was Assistant Professor at the Amsterdam Law School, teaching courses in Contract Law, Civil Procedure, and Legal Theory. He received his PhD degree cum laude. In his doctoral dissertation he offers a new, ‘source-oriented’ approach to translation in the drafting of multilingual legislation, so as to advance the effectiveness of legal integration in the European Union while respecting Europe’s language diversity. He has further published articles offering ways to reduce the impact of legal translation on comparative legal analysis, and rejecting the assumption of incommensurability in cross-cultural comparative legal studies. In his current research he continues to apply insights from language philosophy to the study of transnational private law as he proposes to re-conceptualize the legal architecture of international commercial arbitration in terms of the global harmonization of conceptions of private autonomy in judicial legal reasoning.

Jean-louis Halpérin – Professeur de droit (section 03 CNU, histoire du droit),  Membre et directeur-adjoint de l’UMR 7074 « Centre de Théorie et Analyse du Droit, unity of the National Centre of Scientific Research, CNRS in French, University of Paris 10, EHESS and Ecole Normale Supérieure. Research interests: history of law of the period of 1700 to 2000, comparative law and legal theory.

Esther Hoorn– consultant in Intellectual Property, Open Access and datamanagement at the University of Groningen. Studied Dutch Law at the University of Leiden. Has experience in legal practice and  for some time has been a Deputy Judge at the Leeuwarden Court of Law. She used Wiki-software in an experiment for Dutch students with legal education in English and has acquired expert knowledge about the creation of Enhanced Publications. Her focus of interest is in the way new software tools affect academic legal communication and broader participation in research. As great-grandchild of Paul Scholten she promotes the availability of the work of Paul Scholten in the public domain.

Jaakko Husa – Professor in Legal Culture and Legal Linguistics at the University of Lapland. Research Interests are comparative law, legal cultures, and constitutional law. He is a strong supporter of internationally oriented legal science and underlines the importance of studying law in context. Invited Fellow with Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI). 

Niels van Manen– member of the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam since 2009. Studied Dutch Law at the University of Leiden and in 1989 acquired his doctor degree at the University of Amsterdam where he was an associate professor for many years. The subject of his thesis was an empirical study of social-legal aid. Together with André Hoekema he has published a manual on the theory and method of the Sociology of Law. For some time he managed the Paul Scholten Research Institute of the University of Amsterdam and during this period, together with Roelf Stutterheim, edited a photoprint of the thesis by Paul Scholten, using Scholten’s own copy with personal annotations. In 1995 he wrote an article specifically on the method of Paul Scholten, which has recently been translated into English and can be downloaded at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1585106

Antoinette Muntjewerff – Assistant Professor in General Legal Theory and (from 1988 – 2003) Artificial Intelligence & Law at the University of Amsterdam. Studied both Educational Science at the Free University in Amsterdam and Law at the University of Amsterdam, the Catholic University of Nijmegen and the Free University in Amsterdam. Her PhD research (2001) involved theoretical and empirical studies of legal case- solving, as well as the construction of an instructional environment for learning to solve legal cases called PROSA. In 2003/2004 she worked as part time Professor of Legal Methodology at the Faculty of Law of the Free University of Brussels to develop a curriculum for Legal Methodology and set up an electronic practical (a WorkBench) for Legal Methodology. Her research focuses on modelling legal knowledge and legal reasoning to develop electronic materials for learning law (see www.antoinettemuntjewerff.nl).

Marieke Oderkerk– Associate Professor in Private International Law and Comparative Law at the University of Amsterdam. Studied both Italian Language and Literature and Dutch Law at the University of Amsterdam where, in 1999, she received her doctor’s degree defending a thesis on the methods of comparative legal research. She is currently a member of the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law and publishes on issues of comparative legal research methodology (for instance on comparability) as well as on issues of private international law (for instance on interpretation and characterization).

Burkhard Schafer-Co-director of the SCRIPT Centre in IT and IP law, specialist in the use of computer technology in comparative law, from automated legal translation to expert systems for cross-border judicial cooperation

Bram Scholten- advisor in the Payments Division of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) in Amsterdam. Joined DNB in 1980 and has held a wide range of positions since then. Was seconded to the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC and since 2011 has been seconded to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Studied Economics and (more recently) Dutch Law, both at the University of Amsterdam. Grandson of Paul Scholten and son of G.J. Scholten who occupied the chair of professor in Dutch Civil Law at the University of Amsterdam from 1962 until 1979 which had earlier been occupied by Paul Scholten from 1910 to 1945. Former chairman of the Westerkerk church council in Amsterdam and board member of the Germany Institute Amsterdam (Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam) (DIA).

Jonathan Soeharno– lawyer at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, fellow at the Montaigne Centre for Adjudication and Conflict Resolution (Utrecht University) and lecturer at the Training Institute for Judges (SSR). Studied Dutch Law, Philosophy and Theology at the University of Utrecht where he obtained his degree of Doctor of Law for a thesis on the integrity of the judge. His research focuses on judicial decision-making and professional ethics of judges. He has published on the relationship between the work of Paul Scholten and the philosophy of Aristotle.

Marjanne Termorshuizen-Arts– painter/artist and freelance translator/interpreter Dutch-Indonesian. During 2004-2007 a research member at the Van Vollenhoven Institute. During 2006-2008 a member as well as interim-chairman of the Pin Yin Committee on the translation of Dutch legal terms in French, German and English. Studied law at the Radboud University of Nijmegen and Indonesian Languages at the University of Leiden. She received her doctor’s degree at the University of Leiden in 2003 with a thesis on the methodology of comparative law. In this thesis she developed a method to visualize the tenets which are crucial for the understanding and comparison of certain concepts of law. Also, in 1999, she published a Dutch- Indonesian Legal Dictionary and, in 2000, an Indonesian-Dutch Dictionary on Civil Law. In 2003 she edited and commented upon a translation by Tristam Moeliono and Widati Wulandari of a well-known manual on Dutch penal law by Jan Remmelink.

Saskia Wouterse-Windhouwer – specialist in electronic publishing/repository manager at the University of Amsterdam and Head of Library & Information Services at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in Wageningen. At the University of Amsterdam she is the contact person for copyrights, Open Access, the research information system and the Institutional Repository (UvA-DARE). She is a member of the UKB-working-group Open Access and acting chairman of the Special Interest Group Research Information. In 2010 she won the SURFshare Open Access Award. Furthermore she participated in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission named “Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research II” and is co-author to one of its products: “Report on Enhanced Publications state-of-the-art”.

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