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 practice focus is conflict of laws (private international law), EU and international regulatory law (especially environment), and international and EU economic law. Geert is professor 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, and a board member of Academische Stichting Leuven, an academic charity.
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, and a visiting lecturer at King's College, London. 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.

Geert Van Calster

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

Sample of recent presentations

30 January 2015

'The external relations of sub-national entities in the EU. A research agenda', Edinburgh-Leuven seminar on regional entities and the EU, Europa Institute; Edinburgh

12 January 2015

'Exclusieve bevoegdheidsgronden en forumbedingen in Brussel I bis', Studiedag Europees Burgerlijk Procesrecht, Leuven; (Exclusive jurisdictional grounds and choice of court in Brussels Ibis)

4 December 2014

'The Brussels I Regulation: Jurisdiction for civil and commercial matters in the EU', European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters, Brussels;

27 November 2014

'Litigating in the EU. Of recasts and farce, anchors and Tankers', Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Law Society, London;

27 November 2014

'De internationaalrechtelijke aspecten van e-commerce (B2B en B2C', Contrast Law Seminars, Brussel; (The private international law aspects of B2B and B2C e-commerce);

20 November 2014

'The Brussels I Regulation: Jurisdiction for civil and commercial matters in the EU', European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters, Brussels;

5 November 2014

'Moving targets, new technologies and the legislator: Why regulation can never be 'finished', University College, Cork;

21 October 2014

'Naturally artificial: from food product to produce, with a legal gravy', Utopia lezing, Holland College, KU Leuven; (lecture in Dutch: Naturally artificial: van food product naar produce met een juridische saus';

5 September 2014

'On the role of science in international law. From whales via Paintball to Plain Packaging', keynote at International Bar Association Conference, London;

26 August 2014

'Trade, regulatory autonomy and the WTO: An update on the case-law', Asser Institute, The Hague;

11 July 2014

'All that glitters is not gold? The EU as a regulatory frontrunner', Australia National University, Fenner School of Environment & Society, Canberra;

25 June 2014

'Regulation and Enforcement through EU agencies', European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Barcelona (with and by Mira Scholten);

9 April 2014

'The EU's External Trade Policy and the Gulf Cooperation Council', College of Europe, Bruges;

3 April 2014

'Integrating environment, energy and new technologies. A discussion of the 'incrimental' approach for shale gas and nanotecnology regulation', University College Cork;

21 March 2014

'Brussels I-bis or miss?', UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve;

21 March 2014

'Fragmentation in Conflicts and Employment Law', Cross-Border Employment Law Seminar, KU Leuven;

17 February 2014

'The European Succession Regulation: Harmonisation interruptus?', Postacademische vorming notariaat, KU Leuven;

Sample of recent publications

Authored books

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

G. VAN CALSTER, European Private International Law, Oxford, Hart, 2013, 340p.;

Edited books

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

G. VAN CALSTER, D. PREVOST (eds.), Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2013, 896p.;

Peer-reviewed articles in international journals

G. VAN CALSTER, 'The Role of Private International Law in Corporate Social Responsibility', Erasmus Law Review, 2014, 125-133;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Climate change and renewable energy as a super trump for EU trade law. All Essent clear’,Renewable energy law and policy review, 2014, 1, p.60-66;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘China, Minerals Export, Raw Materials and Rare Earth Materials: A perfect storm for World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement’, RECIEL 2013, 117-122;

G. VAN CALSTER, 'Kerpow! The United Kingdom Courts, West Tankers, and the arbitration ‘exception’ in the Brussels I Regulation', European Review of Private Law, 2013, 21 (1), 205-220;

Chapters in books

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;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘On the role of borders in European conflict of laws’, in Piers, M., Storme, H., en Verhellen, J. (eds.), Liber amicorum Johan Erauw, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2014, p.219-228;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘De Europese IPR regels inzake bevoegdheid en toepasselijk recht bij schadeloosstelling na mededingingbeperkende gedragingen’, in D. Arts, W. Devroe, R. Focqué, K. Marchand, and I. Verougstraete, Mundi et Europae Civis: Liber Amicorum Jacques Steenbergen, Brussel, Larcier, 2014, p.543-554; (The European conflict rules with respect to jurisdiction and applicable law in competition litigation);

J. MONICA, G. VAN CALSTER, A. PATSA, 'A Nanotechnology Legal Framework', in D. BOWMAN and M. HULL, Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety- Risks, Regulation and Management, 2nd ed., Elsevier, 2014, p.265-311;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘La pratique du droit international et européen en matière de déchets dangereux’, in M. Faure et al; (eds.), Les mouvement transfrontières de déchets dangereux, Brussel, Bruylant, 2014, in production, p.251-259; (The reality of international and European regulation of hazardous wastes);

G. VAN CALSTER, , ‘Regulatory instruments: Sustainable Materials Management, Recycling and the Law’, in Worrell, E., and Reuter, M., Handbook of Recycling, Elsevier, New York, 2014, 527-535;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Knelpunten bij de Europese Erfrechtverordening. Harmonisatie interruptus’, in F. Buyssens en A. L. Verbeke (eds.), Notariële actualiteit, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2014, p.67-88;

G. VAN CALSTER, ‘Opportunities and pitfalls for sustainable materials management in EU waste law’, in Panoussis, I., and Post, H., Waste management in European Law, Eleven, The Hague, 2014, p.97-105;

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 the dramatic increase in European harmonisation of all stages of private international law, on the law of the Member States, and in the tensions between common and civil law approaches to conflict of laws. His Handbook on European Private International Law was published with Hart (Oxford) in February 2013, with a second edition forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2015. He is also co-authoring a Handbook on notarial conflict of laws, to be published with Kluwer in 2015.

Geert's recent instructions include advice on jurisdiction and applicable law in data protection enforcement by public agencies; appearances as court expert on the recognition and enforement of English Schemes of Arrangement, and of US judgments in the EU; 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 best illustrated by his being 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 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 Handbook of EU environmental Law, with Leonie Reins, is forthcoming with Edward Elgar. 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 Leonie Reins as lead researcher). And the 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 instructions include advice on 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 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 researches 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.