Dr B. Böhler (1960) has been named professor by special appointment of the Legal Profession at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Law, effective 1 January 2012. The chair was designated on behalf of the Stichting Leerstoel Advocatuur (‘Legal Profession Chair Foundation’) and is made possible with support from the Netherlands Bar Association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten). Böhler will be succeeding Prof. Floris Bannier, who occupied the chair from 2004.
As professor by special appointment, Britta Böhler’s teaching and research activities will focus on the evolution and significance of this ‘robed’ profession and the forms in which it is organised in the modern constitutional state. In particular, she will be exploring questions such as why the practice of the legal profession has taken the shape it has and how that practice is developing within the Dutch and European socio-economic context. The special chair is established within the centre for expertise on the Legal Profession andJudicial Procedure of the Faculty of Law. Together with her fellow professors at the centre, Böhler will be sharing responsibility for the Faculty’s interdisciplinary ‘toga minor’ and its Moot Court (which simulates criminal cases in a model court).
Böhler has worked in the legal profession since 1985, first in Germany and since 1991 in the Netherlands. From 1991 until 1994 she was a lawyer at Loeff Claeys Verbeke. Since 1995 she has worked as lawyer and partner at the law practice of Böhler Advocaten, which specifically focuses on the interface of politics and law – the field where the state confronts the individual. From 2007 until 2011, Böhler was also a Green Party representative in the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament. In addition, from 2009 until July 2011 she was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch ICCO foundation, which is active in the area of development cooperation. Böhler has also been a member of the Advisory Council of the Nexus Institute since 2010.
Böhler studied Law and Political Sciences & Economics at the University of Freiburg in Germany, where she also obtained her doctorate with a thesis in the field of legal philosophy entitled Gerhart Husserl. Leben und Werk. Her wide-ranging legal experience – spanning the bar, legal philosophy, human rights and law of criminal procedure – has made her a popular guest lecturer at universities, including at the UvA’s Faculty of Law. In 2003, Böhler won the Deken prize for the best lawyer in Amsterdam, and in 2005 she received a Clara Meijer-Wichmann medal. Awarded yearly, this medal is presented to individuals whose efforts in defence of human rights, primarily in the Netherlands, merit special recognition. In 2000, Böhler wrote the book De zwerftocht van een leider - Achter de schermen van de zaak Öcalan (‘The odyssey of a leader - Behind the scenes in the Öcalan case’), and in 2004 she published Crisis in de rechtsstaat (‘Crisis in the constitutional state’).