My path to the law has been somewhat uncommon. I started as a Computer Science engineer (Delft University of Technology), and after several years in business returned to university to study philosophy, and subsequently law (University of Amsterdam). Working as an advocate for over eight years, I specialized in Supreme Court litigation and IP/IT law. During this time I regularly published legal research articles. I defended my PhD thesis on Duties of care and ethics of care (Zorgplichten en zorgethiek) at the University of Amsterdam in 2007, after which I became a lecturer at Tilburg Law School. As of 2010 I am a full professor of private law.
My last name is TJONG TJIN TAI (not Tai, as I often see), 张 精 泰 (which in current Pinyin would be Zhang Jing Tài)
My expertise is on private law, law of civil procedure, and IT law, where I have published in all major Dutch legal publications and book series. My current research focuses in particular on legal aspects of data and digital developments, with principal output and interest in:
These interests revolve around the dematerialization of society and the concurrent possibility of power relations on immaterial phenomena. I have a hunch that these developments are intrinsically related in a way which is not yet sufficiently realized.
I have taught courses over most areas of private law. My current focus is on the law of civil procedure and tort law, as well as legal aspects of digitalization.
I am a frequent speaker about topics such as platforms, liability for algorithms, data and private law.
Over the years I have come to the realization that my early training outside the law is not without consequence: I may use a more external approach to the law, using analytical techniques and thought constructs from IT and philosophy when it suits me. The recent resurgence of interest into the influence of digitalization on law has provided fertile ground to explicitly research the interrelation of law and IT perspectives, as is currently hotly debated in blockchain research. In order to effectively research these problem areas it is important to remain open to developments and issues in a many areas instead of focusing on a limited domain: IT does not care about differences between privacy, IP law, contract law and procedural law.
My private hope is that we will manage in the near future to have a society of researchers who have a dual expertise in IT and in law.