Jan Michiel Otto

Jan Michiel Otto


Email: j.m.otto@law.leidenuniv.nl

Phone: +31 (0)71 527 7290

Postal Address:

Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden


Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries and director of the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development. In the JARAK Programme, Prof. Otto is the supervisor of Loes van Rooijen.

Educational Background /working experience
Prof. Jan Michiel Otto studied law at the University of Leiden and specialised in development administration at both Leiden and the Free University of Amsterdam. Having worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in various research assignments, he became director of the Van Vollenhoven Institute in 1983. In 1987 he defended a dissertation entitled Aan de voet van de piramide: overheidsinstellingen en platttelandsontwikkeling in Egypte, [At the foot of the pyramid, state institutions and rural development in Egypt.]

Prof. Otto has occupied various positions within and outside the academic world. Presently he is member of the Board of Advisors of IDLO, the International Development Law Organization, in Rome. He also is a founding board member of the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (formerly the Dutch Council for Legal Cooperation with Indonesia), The Hague.

Research Focus (thematic)
He has published extensively on various topics of law and administration in developing countries, including Indonesia, China, Egypt and South Africa. In recent years he has published among others on issues of ‘good governance’, as well as on comparative sharia and national law in the Muslim world.

He teaches a number of interdisciplinary courses on law, governance and development and the VVI provides training to professionals, for example of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has acted as project leader in research projects concerning Indonesian environmental law and land law, Indonesian courts, the Indonesian national human rights commission, law-making and legal transformation in China, implementation of law in China, law and traditional authority in South Africa, customary law and chiefs in Ghana, sharia and national law in twelve Muslim countries, legalization of land tenure as a means of alleviating rural poverty, and several others.

Research focus (geographical)
Indonesia, Muslim countries (on sharia and national laws).

Contributions to this E-Publication

(Main) Publications

2012       Otto, J.M. & Hoekema, A.J. (Eds.).Fair Land Governance. How to Legalise Land Rights for Rural Development (Law, Governance, and Development). Leiden: Leiden University Press.

2012       Kepastian hukum yang nyata di negara berkembang [Real Legal Certainty in Developing Countries]. In: Bedner, A.W., Irianto, S., Otto, J.M., Wirastri, T.D. (Eds.), Kajian Socio-Legal [Socio-Legal Studies], pp. 115-156. Jakarta: Pustaka Larasan; Universitas Indonesia; Universitas Leiden; Universitas Groningen.

2009       Otto, J.M. Rule of Law Promotion, Land Tenure and Poverty Alleviation: Questioning the Assumptions of Hernando de Soto. Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, 1 (1), pp. 173-194.

2013       Otto J.M., Carlisle J. & Ibrahim S.M.K. (Eds.) Searching for Justice in Post-Gaddafi Libya. A Socio-Legal Exploration of People’s Concerns and Insitutional Responses at Home and From Abroad. Leiden: Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden University.

2010      Otto, J.M. Sharia incorporated. A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, Leiden: Leiden University Press. Editor; author of Introduction: Investigating the role of sharia in national law (pp 17-49); Sharia and national law in Indonesia (pp 433-489); Towards comparative conclusions on the role of sharia in national law (pp 613-653).