Prof Dr Geert VAN CALSTER, LL.M., Ph.D.

Short biography:

Blog and full CV at

An alumnus of the College of Europe, Bruges (promotion Stefan Zweig), Geert van Calster is an independent legal practitioner at the Brussels Bar. His boutique practice focus is on conflict of laws (private international law), EU and international regulatory law (especially environment), and international and EU economic law.
Geert is full professor (professor ordinarius) in the University of Leuven and Head of Leuven Law's department of European and international law. Geert is also senior fellow at Leuven's Centre for Global Governance Studies.
Geert is on the indicative list of WTO Panelists.
Prof van Calster is a visiting professor and senior fellow at Monash University's Law faculty (Melbourne), visiting professor at the China-EU School of Law in Beijing, visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Université de Liège (HEC Management School), and adjunct professor at the Brussels Campus of American University. He was previously i.a. a visiting lecturer at Oxford University. He was called to the Bar in 1999 after having worked as of counsel to a City law firm since 1995.
For surface mail address, room in college and mobile number please see

Geert Van Calster

Recent presentations and publications (for full list, please refer to the CV on my blog, hyperlinked above

Sample of recent presentations

23 September 2017

‘The Hague Judgments project. A cauldron full of jurisdictional spells?’, 2017 Global Forum on Private International Law, Chinese Society for Private International Law, Wuhan

21 September 2017

‘The legal challenges for a circular economy’, Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL), Wuhan University;

21 September 2017

‘The road to a successful doctoral degree in law’, Law Faculty, Wuhan University;

5 July 2017

'Accession to the WTO, and the EU’s Common Trade Policy’, EU Young Cell Alumni and European Union delegation to Kosovo, Phristina; (with Dylan Geraets)'

4 July 2017

'Brexit and its impact on the EU institutional framework: what consequences for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans?’, EU Young Cell Alumni and European Union delegation to Kosovo, Phristina;

27 April 2017

‘The innovation principle: A joker in the pack or just a joke?’, Law and the Environment 2017, University College, Cork; (with Kathleen Garnett)

17 February 2017

‘Brexit and Public international law (including world trade)', Third countries Brexit symposium, Embassy of Singapore, Brussels;

21 January 2017

‘Private international law and the environment’, Conference on comparative environmental law, Cambridge;

30 November 2016

‘Not just one, but many ‘rights to be forgotten’. A global status quo’, at Access to information on a global, free, and open web Conference, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels; with Elsemiek Apers and Alejandro Gonzalez;

4 November 2016

‘On a Need to Have Basis: The innovation principle, the rule of law, and EU regulation of new technologies', at The Rule of Law in the Technological Age, Universiteit van Amsterdam - UvA; with KAthleen Garnett and Leonie Reins;

28 October 2016

‘‘Leaving the courts stunned. Animal welfare, religious slaughter and the EU’s view on fundamental rights’. Israeli Association for the Study of European Integration, Annual conference, Tel Aviv;

18 October 2016

‘Applying the EU's waste shipments, landfill of waste and waste incineration regimes in national courts', Training for national judges, ERA - Academy of European Law /European Commission, Trier;

14 October 2016

‘The implications of BREXIT for international litigation in and ex EFTA States', BREXIT conference, University of Reykjavik, Iceland;

13 October 2016

‘Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments into Iceland', University of Reykjavik, Iceland;

22 September 2016

‘Applying the EU's waste shipments, landfill of waste and waste incineration regimes in national courts', Training for national judges, ERA - Academy of European Law /European Commission, Barcelona;

8 September 2016

‘The removal of barriers to access to remedy for corporate related Human Rights abuses’, Keynote opening, Human rights in Business Project, Brussels, Belgium;

5 September 2016

'JASTA and sovereign immunity', Assemblée nationale (French Parliament) select committee on Judicial Affairs, Paris;

Sample of recent publications

Authored books

G. VAN CALSTER, L. REINS, EU Environmental Law, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2017, 343 p.;

G. VAN CALSTER, European Private International Law, Oxford, Hart /Bloomsbury, 2nd ed. 2016, 576p.;

G. VAN CALSTER, 欧洲国际私法, Law Press China, 2016, 650p. (Chinese Mandarin edition of EU Private International Law);

G. VAN CALSTER, EU Waste Law; Oxford, OUP, 2015, 391p.;

Edited books

G. VAN CALSTER, W. VANDENBERGHE, L. REINS (eds.), Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015, 754 p.; Paperback ed. 2016;

Peer-reviewed articles in international journals

J. GANGSTED and G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Protected parties in European and American conflict of laws: a comparative analysis of individual employment contracts’, European Yearbook of Private International Law, Volume XVIII, 2016-17, p.83-141;

G. VAN CALSTER, K. GARNETT, ‘Crossing bridges at high speed. On the future of Risk research’, European Journal of Risk Regulation, 2017, 52-55;

V. SANFELICE, G. VAN CALSTER, L. REINS, The application of international environmental law principles in Latin America: a world apart from the EU?’, ERA Forum, 2017, 1-20;

G. VAN CALSTER, 'COMIng, and here to stay. The review of the European Insolvency Regulation', European Business Law Review, 2016, p.735-753;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘De rechtsmacht van de Belgische gerechten tegen Facebook’, Computerrecht, 2016, afl.6, p.257-259; (The jurisdiction of the Belgian courts against Facebook)

Chapters in books

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Energy, externalities and the need to revisit Deutsche Bahn: A proposal to reverse the European stance on EU State aid law and international aviation, in Heffron, R., and Little, G., Delivering Energy Law and Policy in the EU and the US, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2016, p.121-124;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Your laws or mine? On a European Ius Commune for Third Party interests in private international law’, in F Guillaume, and I. Pretelli (eds.), Les nouveautés en matière de faillite transfrontalière et Les banques et les assurance face au tiers – Actes de la 28e journée de droit international privé du 27 mai 2016, Lausanne, Schultess, Zurich, 2016, p.145-157;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Just sue the bastards? An assessment of the alternative to negative harmonisation of regulatory priorities’, in A. Marx, B. Natens, D. Geraets, and J. Wouters (eds.), Global governance through trade, Cheltenham. Edward Elgar, 2015, p.329-346;

S. BIJLMAKERS and G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Global business and human rights governance: the case of corporate social responsibility’, in J. Wouters, A. Braekman, M. Lievens, E. Bécault (eds.), Global governance and democracy. A multidisciplinary analyis, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015, p.117-155;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Exclusieve bevoegdheidsgronden en forumbedingen in Brussel I bis', in Allermeersch, B., en Kruger, T. (eds.), Handboek Europees Burgerlijk Procesrecht, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2015, p.3-21;

Current research interests and recent instructions:

In the standard reference guide the EU Legal 500, Geert is named as being “well regarded for the interface between economic and regulatory law”, and as having an “excellent academic background aligned to pragmatic experience in both public and private sectors.” Geert’s advice is referred in it as being ‘practical, fast and relevant’. Prof van Calster's unique proposition lies indeed in the combination of a solid knowledge and know-how of core European institutional and economic law, with conflict of laws and regulatory law, in particular environmental law.

Conflict of laws

In conflict of laws /private international law, Geert is specifically interested in the impact of European harmonisation of all stages of private international law, on residual PIL of the Member States, and the potential for regulatory competition in international dispute resolution. Tensions between common and civil law approaches to conflict of laws play a central role in this analysis. His Handbook on European Private International Law was published in first ed. with Hart (Oxford) in February 2013, and in second edition with Bloomsbury in February 2016. He is also co-authoring a Handbook on notarial conflict of laws, to be published with Kluwer in July 2016.

Geert's recent instructions include advice on choice of court /law and alternative dispute resolution clauses in data sharing and licensing agreements; jurisdictional issues involving unfair competition (specifically ; jurisdiction and applicable law in employment relations and outsourcing); enforcement of provisionary measures (in particular:periodic penalty payments ('dwangsom')); recognition and enforcement of judgments benefitting so-called 'vulture funds'; forum and governing law shopping in agency agreements; 'corporate nationality', the European Company, freedom of establishment and statutory seat in EU secondary law; jurisdiction and applicable law in data protection enforcement by public agencies, particularly in the EU; various appearances as court expert on the recognition and enforement of English Schemes of Arrangement, and of US judgments in the EU; advice on same; advice on the recognition and enforcement of foreign court orders in the EU (domain name management in particular); enforcement of judgments after the Brussels I recast; central bank immunity; designing choice of court and governing law clauses for a multinational financial services company in over 21 jurisdictions; recognition and enforcement of trusts in civil law countries; jurisdiction advice in libel cases over the internet; custody application complicated by the diplomatic status of one of the parents; the application of the Insolvency Regulation in real estate transactions; the impact of conflict of laws on registered seat restructuring; and advice on forum non conveniens assessment by a US court viz proceedings in the EU (invasion of privacy and intellectual property rights).

Environment, health and safety

Geert's specific expertise in environmental and natural resources law is well illustrated by his having been the co-founder and, for 10 years, director of studies of KU Leuven's successful and unique Master of Energy and Environmental Law program.

Geert's Handbook of EU environmental Law, with Dr Leonie Reins, was published by Edward Elgar in March 2016. The second ed. of his Handbook of EU Waste Law was published by Oxford University Press in March 2015, and the Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law (with Wim Vandenberghe and Leonie Reins) was published by Edward Elgar, also in March 2015. His most recently funded research in the area concerns the coherent regulation of Energy and Environment in the EU, using shale gase as a case-study (funded by FWO 2014-2018 and with (now Dr) Leonie Reins as lead researcher); and circular economy and sustainable materials management, with Thomas de Romph lead researching.

Geert serves as ad hoc expert to the compliance review mechanism of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - EBRD.

Geert's recent practice instructions include strategic advice for Victoria's EPA on the management of hazardous wastes; export and import of wastes and the EU and international framework in same; strategic, long term advice on waste and resources management for a large multinational minerals and extraction company; strategic advice on W2E - Waste to Energy particularly in Northern Europe and the Baltic; advice on litigating against national and regional governments for failure to act on climate change (the so-called 'VZW Klimaatzaak litigation'); advice on single authorised agents, and the WEEE and medical devices Directives; the impact of the Habitats Directive on mining activities; export of wastes cases (in particular: outside of the EU); import of hazardous waste from Africa into the EU; the application of REACH in the nanotechnology sector; import of waste from the US, as a resource for the renewable energy sector; the application of State aid rules to renewables; and the (il)legality of windfall taxation in the energy sector.

Trade law

Geert was one of the first analysts of the impact of international trade law (GATT and WTO Agreements) on regulatory autonomy, including environmental protection. He has built up specific expertise on the trade /regulation interface, looking especially at the GATT (including border tax adjustments, customs and excise), TBT and SPS Agreements. He is member of the Panel of Experts for the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of inter alia the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

In April 2014, Geert was added to the World Trade Organisation's Indicative List of Panelists, at the request of the EU.

Geert's recent instructions include advice on multidisciplinary practices and free movement of services; a restrictive regime for wholesale pharmaceuticals distribution in a Member State; the (il)legality of windfall taxation in the energy sector; the application of EU rules of origin (particularly in the Middle East); the application of the EU's GSP regime; import of waste into the EU (for use in the renewable energy sector); the interface between religious rights and animal welfare; human rights and rule of law issues in the EU's external trade policy.

New technologies and risk analysis

Geert has an extensive body of work on legal issues surrounding risk analysis harmonisation. He has particular expertise in the 'SHE' (safety, health and environment) aspects of nanotechnology and biotechnology (incuding GMOs), looking also however at international trade, intellectual property, governance and sustainable development concerns.

Climate change law

Prof van Calster has advised a variety of States and stakeholders on the impact of international trade law on climate change, including climate change levies. More generally he has researched the optimal design of climate change responses, over and above and /or indeed outside of emission trading schemes. Regulatory innovation, including in the climate change area, was the cornerstone of the research that earned him a tenured research chair at KU Leuven.