Dr Jacco Bomhoff

Dr Jacco Bomhoff

Associate Professor of Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 6.08
Key Expertise

About me

Jacco Bomhoff is an Associate Professor of Law at LSE Law School, having joined the LSE in 2008. He has degrees from Oxford University and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. His main areas of interest are comparative law and the conflict of laws (private international law). His publications include the monograph ‘Balancing Constitutional Rights: The Origins and Meanings of Postwar Legal Discourse’ (Cambridge, 2013), and the edited collections ‘The Double-Facing Constitution’ (Cambridge, 2020, with David Dyzenhaus and Thomas Poole), and ‘Practice and Theory in Comparative Law’ (Cambridge 2012, with Maurice Adams). Jacco has held appointments as a visiting professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, KU Leuven, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), and the University of California – Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

Administrative support: Law.Reception@lse.ac.uk

Research interests

  • Comparative law
  • Conflict of laws
  • Cultural study of law
  • Constitutional and legal theory
  • Transnational legal ordering



The Double-Facing Constitution (edited with David Dyzenhaus and Thomas Poole) (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

This collection explores some of the many ways in which constitutional orders engage with, and are shaped by, their exteriors. Constitutional and legal theory often marginalize 'foreign' elements, such as norms originating in other legal systems, the movement of individuals across borders, or the application of domestic law to foreign affairs. In The Double-Facing Constitution, these instances of boundary crossing lie at the heart of an alternative understanding of constitutions as permeable membranes, through which norms can and sometimes must travel. Constitutional orders are facing both inwards and outwards - and the outside world influences their interiors just as much as their internal orders help shape their surroundings. Different essays discuss the theoretical and historical foundations of this view (grounded in Kelsen, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and others), and its contemporary relevance for areas as diverse as migration law, the conflict of laws, and foreign relations law.

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Balancing Constitutional Rights: The Origins and Meanings of Postwar Legal Discourse (Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law) (Cambridge University Press 2013); awarded a Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship (Joint Second Prize, 2015); paperback edition, 2015

The language of balancing is pervasive in constitutional rights jurisprudence around the world. In this book, Jacco Bomhoff offers a comparative and historical account of the origins and meanings of this talismanic form of language, and of the legal discourse to which it is central. Contemporary discussion has tended to see the increasing use of balancing as the manifestation of a globalization of constitutional law. This book is the first to argue that 'balancing' has always meant radically different things in different settings. Bomhoff uses detailed case studies of early post-war US and German constitutional jurisprudence to show that the same unique language expresses both biting scepticism and profound faith in law and adjudication, and both deep pessimism and high aspirations for constitutional rights. An understanding of these radically different meanings is essential for any evaluation of the work of constitutional courts today.

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Practice and Theory in Comparative Law (edited with Maurice Adams) (Cambridge University Press 2012)

What does doing comparative law involve? Too often, explicit methodological discussions in comparative law remain limited to the level of pure theory, neglecting to test out critiques and recommendations on concrete issues. This book bridges this gap between theory and practice in comparative legal studies. Essays by both established and younger comparative lawyers reflect on the methodological challenges arising in their own work and in work in their area. Taken together, they offer clear recommendations for, and critical reflection on, a wide range of innovative comparative research projects.

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The Legitimacy of Highest Courts' Rulings (TMC Asser Press: The Hague 2009) (ed. with N. Huls, M. Adams)

In his Judicial Deliberations: A Comparative Analysis of Judicial Transparency and Legitimacy (Oxford 2004), the American-French scholar Mitchel Lasser has, among other things, tried to re-establish the strengths of the French cassation system. Using Lasser's approach and ideas as a starting point, in this book judges from the French, Belgian and Dutch Cassation Courts reflect on the challenges that their Courts are facing. The book also contains a series of contributions from scholars analyzing the wide range of factors that determine the legitimacy of these courts'decisions. Specific attention is given to the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights that has been so important for the moral legitimacy of the European legal order, and to courts in post-communist systems, which face many similar challenges and are even under greater pressure to modernize. The book is a multidisciplinary contribution to the international debate about the legitimacy of the highest courts'rulings as well as the concept of judicial leadership and offers a new perspective in the USA versus Europe debate. It is recommended reading for academics, judges, policymakers, political scientists and students.

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