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Photo: David Heyer

Dr. Cathérine Van de Graaf

Dr. Van de Graaf completed her Bachelor and Master of Laws at the University of Antwerp (2014) as well as an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Lund and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (2017). She was a junior associate at Xirius Advocaten, where her tasks consisted primarily of writing applications and preparing cases in various matters of constitutional law.

Her doctoral research took place at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Eva Brems. In this context, she conducted empirical legal research with a focus on procedural justice theory, perceived discrimination and Islamophobia which resulted in publications in the Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, the International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights and Islamophobia Studies Journal.

In May 2021, Dr. Van de Graaf joined the team of Prof. Dr. Angelika Nußberger at the University of Cologne where she continues her research on various themes of human rights law and assists in the establishment of the Academy for European Human Rights Protection. In 2022, Cathérine obtained a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation for the project “Who is the Court for? Bringing the Human back into Human Rights Research” in which she focuses on empirically mapping out human rights trajectories before the European Court of Human Rights. Within the Human Rights Action Team of Ghent University, she regularly contributes to Third Party Interventions before the ECtHR. Additionally, she coaches the University of Cologne team in the Helga Pedersen Mootcourt Competition and is co-lecturer of Prof. Dr. Eva Brems for the course “The European Convention on Human Rights: Theory and Practice” at Ghent University. She is a member of Open Council of Europe Academic Networks (OCEAN), Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law (BCCE), Human Rights Centre (HRC), International Islamophobia Studies and Research Association (ISSRA) and the Vereniging voor de sociaal-wetenschappelijk studie van het recht (VSR).

Areas of research

  • human rights
  • empirical legal research
  • procedural justice
  • perceived discrimination
  • Islamophobia

Former professional positions

  • Doctoral Research Fellow, Human Rights Centre (Ghent University), Ghent (Belgium), 2016-2021

  • Junior Associate, Xirius Advocaten, Brussels (Belgium), 2014-2015



Dr. Cathérine Van de Graaf
Research Assistant (Postdoc)

Kerpener Str. 30
50937 Köln

Telephone +49-221-470-5572
E-mail catherine.vandegraaf(at)