Digital Legal Lab

Gijs van Dijck awarded PDI-SSH grant
for lawnotatioN project

3 December 2021

Professor Gijs van Dijck has been awarded a substantial grant from the PDI-SSH Foundation for his LAWNOTATION proposal. Together with a multidisciplinary team of scientists from five Dutch universities, he will establish a research infrastructure to improve access to legal data. 

LAWNOTATION is an initiative of the Digital Legal Lab and aims to develop an infrastructure that enables researchers in the fields 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—making legal data and annotation schemes (current and future) accessible for annotation and analysis purposes, develop an annotation platform, and provide for a user interface. This should result in more high-quality FAIR legal research data.

About the grant

The grant is awarded by the PDI-SSH Foundation to support the development of digital infrastructures.

Digital infrastructures—for collecting data, but also for storing, publishing, analyzing and linking data—are needed to pave the way for leading research into important issues related to the digital society. 

Gijs van Dijck and his LAWNOTATION team are among the 10 grantees out of 47 applications for a PDI-SSH grant. 

an interuniversity & interdisciplinary project

LAWNOTATION brings together researchers from different scientific disciplines and from different institutions. 

The project will be carried out by researchers from Maastricht University, Radboud University Nijmegen, Tilburg University, the University of Groningen, the University of Amsterdam and TNO. 

Gijs van Dijck is a legal scholar who specializes in tort law, insolvency law, and contract law. He is a Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University. He directs the Maastricht Law and Tech Lab and is one of the project leads of the Digital Legal Studies sector plan collaboration between the law schools of Tilburg University, Maastricht University, the University of Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen.


3 questions for gijs van dijck

What was your reaction when you heard the news of receiving this grant?

“I was thrilled. This project is the first initiative by legal researchers in the Netherlands that aims to develop a research infrastructure for legal data. Drafting the proposal was a team effort. I am happy that the direct colleagues who put effort in the proposal get to enjoy this success, and that it brings the participating universities closer together.”


“We, researchers, tend to think we make an impact by publishing articles and books. This is undeniably important, but publications rely on information. Our project focuses on providing for high-quality information that can be used for computational-legal analysis. The envisioned infrastructure is not only intended for us, the participating researchers, but for the legal community as a whole.”

The project is a collaboration between researchers from different universities. What benefits can such an interuniversity approach bring?

“I see at least three important benefits. First, input. The knowledge and experience that the consortium brings together is invaluable for developing the platform. Second, support. It is an accomplishment if we develop a platform that Maastricht University researchers can use, but the initiative is truly a success if legal research as a whole can benefit from the results. Finally, collaborations. The project has the potential to bring researchers closer together. This will not only ensure collaborations within the project, but also beyond.”