Photo of Dr Gregor Maucec

Dr Gregor Maucec

Lecturer in Law Law


Personal Statement

I joined the School of Law and Social Justice in July 2023 as a Lecturer in Law. Prior to my appointment at the University of Liverpool, I was Assistant Professor of International and Criminal Law at the New University’s Faculty of Government and European Studies, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at iCourts - the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen, Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow in Law at the European University Institute and JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Kyoto University’s School of Law. I hold a doctorate (PhD) in Law and a master's degree in International Law (both from the University of Maribor).

My research in international law and international adjudication combines empirical findings with theoretical and doctrinal legal investigations while using inspiration, methods and insights from social, behavioural and psychological sciences to cross traditional barriers. My writing and publications have focused on the international judicial function, and particularly how it is understood and carried out by the judges of different international adjudicative bodies; international judicial behaviour and decision-making; protection of minorities and indigenous populations through international courts; international(ised) criminal tribunals; discrimination, fair trial, criminal sentencing and the death penalty; compound and intersecting forms of discrimination in the context of mass atrocities; various transitional justice issues; and legal and human rights aspects of a migration-border defence nexus in the context of European integrated border management. I have published extensively on these topics and presented numerous conference and seminar papers. My work has been published in leading academic journals in my field, amongst others, the Leiden Journal of International Law, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, International Criminal Law Review, International Journal of Minority and Group Rights, Florida Journal of International Law, Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, as well as in edited book volumes.

I have recently been awarded a prestigious research grant as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Amsterdam for my innovative project on "thinking-fast" decision-making on the international criminal bench (2023-2026). The project investigates the role that intuition as a personal trait and psychological phenomenon plays in the act of international criminal judging. It researchers how international judges' intuitive reactions and fast thinking contribute to their decision-making at all stages of the international criminal process. Focusing on the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, this study will provide an empirical and qualitative assessment of choices and motivations ascribed to the international criminal judges’ intuitive decision-making. In essence, the project researches how much of these judges’ work is actually based on ‘System 1’, ‘fast’ type of thinking and is thus more prone to cognitive biases. The overall goal is to offer a broader and more realistic view of the role and use of intuitions in judicial decision-making at international criminal tribunals and to understand how the use of intuitions in judicial reasoning affects the impartiality of judges as well as unjust or biased outcome of international criminal trials. To establish the nature and extent of intuitive decision-making by judges of international criminal courts, the project uses a unique interdisciplinary approach, employing doctrinal legal analysis, legal philosophical theories of judging, as well as insights from sociology, social psychology and behavioural science. For the purposes of my research, “intuitive decision-making” refers to instinctive and unconscious knowing without deduction or logical reasoning, thus arriving at judicial decisions fast and without conscious reasoning. My working hypothesis is that international criminal judges are neither only “highly skilled mechanics” who make rational and logical decisions nor are they purely intuitive decision makers who “feel” their way to decisions that they only later justify with deliberation and legal reasoning. Rather, their judicial cognitive style involves both deduction (often associated with legal formalism) and intuition (commonly associated with legal realism). Both deductive/deliberative as well as intuitive cognitive processes, it is further hypothesized, operate simultaneously and the main challenge for an international criminal judge is in deciding when to follow their intuitive reactions and when to overcome them with rule-based deliberation. My research at the intersection of international law, psychology and behavioral science will provide a rule of law-rooted systematic and empirically grounded analysis of the cognitive-intuitive realities that are pertinent to the cases before international criminal tribunals. To add further clarity and depth to doctrinal research and legal analysis, the project will draw on a series of extended interviews and a questionnaire (including hypothetical case scenarios and “Cognitive Reflection Test”) with international judges to further explore whether they make judgments in predominantly intuitive rather than deliberative/reflective ways. The combined empirical approach will allow for better understanding of judicial decision-making in international criminal courts. This study is thus genuinely interdisciplinary both with regard to its concepts as well as the methods used. It will form the basis/provide a framework for a more comprehensive, refined and interdisciplinary decision making theory pertinent to ever-increasing judicialization of international criminal law. This important aspect of international criminal adjudication which has so far been little explored will therefore push forward the knowledge frontier. The in-depth empirical examination of judicial decision-making processes at international criminal courts will also help identify their legitimisation and effectiveness strategies.

As a member of the Central European Professors' Network “Migration challenges – legal responses” led by the Central European Academy (Hungary), my work also includes comparative legal research on the relationship between border defence, migration and the issue of refugees.

At undergraduate level, I lecture Law of the European Union. Previously, I taught on Global Migration Law and human rights-related subjects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level (at the New University) and on the Public International Law course at the undergraduate level and related master courses (at the University of Maribor). I also guest lectured at the University of Copenhagen, University of Florence and University College London. I currently sit on the editorial board of Book collection on International Law.

I would be very happy to hear from potential postgraduate research students and PhD students about supervising projects in these or related areas.

Funded Fellowships

  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (European Commission, 2023 - 2026)
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (European Commission, 2018 - 2021)
  • Guest Research Fellowship (2020 - 2021)
  • EUI Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship (European Commission, 2017 - 2018)
  • JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (2013 - 2014)
  • Doctoral (PhD) fellowship for talented early career researchers (2008 - 2011)