Dirk Heirbaut

DRT Louvain-La-Neuve


Born on September 9, 1966, in Hamme, Belgium, Dirk Heirbaut is a preeminent scholar in legal history. He serves as a Professor of Legal History and Roman Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the University of Ghent, Belgium. A historian and jurist by training, he received his Ph.D. in Law in 1997 for his groundbreaking research on feudal law in the county of Flanders (1000-1305). Ever since, his research has covered a wide range of themes in the field of European legal history, especially the comparative legal history of codification. Heirbaut's expertise is widely recognized in Europe and beyond.

Heirbaut has held distinguished positions at a number of research institutions, including roles as a guest professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, at the Max-Planck-Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt, at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative Private Law in Hamburg, and at the University of Amsterdam. During the last three years, he was a Francqui Research Professor, a testament to his outstanding contributions to the field. In this context, he has been preparing a groundbreaking monograph on the history of codification in Belgium, France and Germany from a comparative perspective. His stay at UCLouvain will be the occasion to present this major work to legal scholars and historians in French-speaking Belgium.

A member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Arts and Science, Heirbaut's leadership has served as President of the Scientific Committee for Legal History of that Academy. He is also a founding vice-president of the European Society for Comparative Legal History. He serves on the editorial board of a wide number of journals, including the "Legal History Review" (Brill) and, most recently, the "Journal of Digital Legal History" (Ghent).

In summary, Dirk Heirbaut's multifaceted contributions, including his pivotal role as a Francqui Research Professor, mark him as a pioneering force in the world of legal history, shaping the future of legal scholarship and inspiring generations of academics. During his stay at UCLouvain, he will enter into a dialogue both with legal historians, comparative lawyers and specialists in private law.


  • Lundi 4 mars 2024 de 10h45 à 12h45 (SOCR 11) : Comparative Law and the Belgian Civil Code | Introduction to Comparative Law [LDROI1310]

  • Mardi 5 mars 2024 de 8h30 à 10h30 (MONT 11) : La genèse du Code civil belge | Histoire du droit [LDROI1004]


  • Jeudi 7 mars 2024 de 9h30 à 11h (LECL 93) : Comment identifier les créateurs du droit coutumier ? | Séminaire de recherche

  • Jeudi 7 mars 2024 de 11h à 15h30 (LECL 93) : Une nouvelle génération d'historiens du droit à Louvain-la-Neuve | Workshop

  • Jeudi 7 mars 2024 de 16h30 à 18h (LECL 93) : Après le Code civil belge : redéfinir le concept de codification