dr. Paul de Hert

Associate Professor

TLS: Tilburg Law School


 In my formative years, I studied law (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), philosophy (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and religious sciences (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) (1985-1992). After a productive decade of legal research in areas such as policing, video surveillance, international cooperation in criminal affairs and international policing (1990-1999), I broadened my research agenda, published a book on the European Convention on Human Rights (1998) and defended a PhD in which I compared the constitutional strength of eighteenth and twentieth century constitutionalism in the light of contemporary surveillance practices ('Early Constitutionalism and Social Control. Liberal Democracy Hesitating between Rights Thinking and Liberty Thinking', 2000). My work addresses problems in the area of privacy & technology and criminal law. My writings in these areas often combine a human rights approach with a concern for constitutionalism and political theory.


I have been working on privacy and surveillance issues within and outside the criminal sphere, both before and after my PhD (2000). I was one of the first legal scholars world-wide to publish on surveillance issues such as CCTV and am I still following up all developments in this area. In 2017 I co-authored a chapter ‘European Human Rights, Criminal Surveillance, and Intelligence Surveillance: Towards Good Enough Judicial Oversight’ in D. Gray & S. Henderson’s Cambridge Handbook on Surveillance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017) and I recently pre- published my long study ‘Article 8 ECHR compliant and foreseeable surveillance: the ECtHR’s expanded legality requirement copied by the CJEU. A discussion of European surveillance case law’ as a working paper and in a book edited by V. Mistilegas & N. Vavoula published by Hart. 


Over the years I worked and taught at several universities (Leiden, Tilburg, Brussels) and had (have) a broad teaching portfolio: Past: 'Human Rights', 'Legal theory', ‘Historical constitutionalism' and 'Constitutional criminal law'. Currently, at VUB, 'Criminal Law', and 'International and European Criminal Law’ and at Tilburg University, ‘Privacy and Data Protection'

I am still teaching 'Privacy and Data Protection' at Tilburg University and this with pleasure 



 I am founder and co-director of the annual Conference Computer, Privacy, Data Protection, comprising every year an increasing number of participants and speakers (last edition 85 panels, 300 speakers and 1400 participants). In addition I have created or co-created 4 funded chairs (two of them surveillance related), a privacy NGO Privacy Salon and an attractive academic platform to promote internal exchange and research in global data protection law Brussels Privacy Hub. 

Recent publications

  1. Private policing in the data-driven society - The flexible state mono…

    Brewczyńska, M., & de Hert, P. (2023). Private policing in the data-driven society: The flexible state monopoly on force challenged but not abandoned. In A. Roberts, J. Purshouse, & J. Bosland (Eds.), Privacy, technology, and the criminal process (1st ed., pp. 66-91). Routledge.
  2. The transformative nature of the EU Declaration on Digital Rights and…

    Cocito, C., & De Hert, P. (2023). The transformative nature of the EU Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles: Replacing the old paradigm (normative equivalency of rights). Computer Law and Security Review, 50, Article 105846.
  3. Cybercrime convention-based access to personal data held by big tech …

    de Hert, P., & Aguinaldo, A. (2023). Cybercrime convention-based access to personal data held by big tech : Decades of Council of Europe's greenlighting codified in a new protocol. In H. Matsumi, D. Hallinan, D. Dimitrova, E. Kosta, & P. De Hert (Eds.), Data protection and privacy: In transitional times (pp. 185-213). (Computers Privacy And Data Protection; Vol. 15). Bloomsbury Publishing.
  4. General Data Protection Regulation - Article-by-article commentary

    Döhmann, I. S. G., Papakonstantinou, V., Hornung, G., & Hert, P. D. (Eds.) (2023). General Data Protection Regulation: Article-by-article commentary. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.
  5. Humans in the GDPR and AIA governance of automated and algorithmic sy…

    Lazcoz, G., & de Hert, P. (2023). Humans in the GDPR and AIA governance of automated and algorithmic systems: Essential pre-requisites against abdicating responsibilities. Computer Law and Security Review, 50, 1-20. Article 105833.

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