Ph.D.-projects – University of Copenhagen

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Centre for Public Regulation and Administration (CORA) offers an inspiring environment for PhD students with an interest in public law issues. Within the special focus areas, as specified below, some of the subjects are listed which, according to the Center's assessment, attract special research interest, and which could be suitable as a basis for a PhD project.

The law in a Media Society – Democracy, power and media

Til toppen 1. The Media Law system of liability

Media’s and journalist’s liability follow primarily the ordinary criminal or civil liability system . However, this does not apply to violations of so-called substantive media offences. If the Media Liability Act applies to the media in question, the liability arrangement is regulated by that law in cases of substantive media offences. The Media Liability Act’s focal point is the criminal liability, while the tort liability is regulated by reference provisions. The liability arrangement accordant to the Media Liability Act differs in several and crucial points from the general law of liability. This is also the main purpose of the act. Accordingly, it has been found relevant to emphasize that the Act is about liability already in the title of the Act.
Referring to the often difficult and far from logical division of offences (violations) in substantive media offences and "ordinary" offences, and thus the different liability arrangements in conjunction with the ambit of Media Liability Act, the topic sets the stage for a critical analysis and assessment of the liability of the media regarding both types of violations. In this context, it might be appropriate to put a special focus on both the many new digital media and foreign media and the problems that the two-lane liability system rises for these media. In addition, the topic sets the stage for a critical analysis and assessment of whether the current liability system ensures the underlying bedrock principles of freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the opposing considerations.
In view of the Europeanisation, an EU law perspective will be obvious. The topic is highly suitable for comparative studies, too.

Contact: Associate Professor, PhD Trine Baumbach at

Til toppen 2. Whistleblowing

The freedom of expression and information of public employees is protected as part of the ECHR and of the Danish Constitution. Conversely, there are a number of legal limitations that are inherent in the employees' duty to loyalty and discretion. The balancing of these considerations is quite complex and gives rise to legal conflicts e.g. in cases where an employee chooses to stand out and to blow the whistle as to specific irregularities within the public administration and as a result of this is accused of being not loyal and is met with retaliations as regards employment situation. The outlined subject invites to a legal analysis of the mosaic of regulation that is of relevance to the legal position of a whistleblower and to a clarification of the concept of whistleblowing as such e.g. the protection of a whistleblower's anonymity. The outlined subject is comprehensive and can be dealt with in a number of ways and can include e.g. constitutional law, human rights law, administrative law, employment law, personal data law and criminal law aspects. The subject is well suited for comparative legal approach. Moreover, a research project can encompass private law aspects with a view to e.g. the current development on a European Union backdrop of whistleblowing systems as part of the enhanced control with financial institutions.

Contact: Professor, PhD. Michael Gøtze at

Til toppen3. Data protection in the digitised administration

The legal regulation of processing of personal data has increased its importance due to the development of e-government at the same time as data protection has been recognized as a fundamental right in the EU Charter article 8. Many opposing considerations are at play and a comprehensive reform has been enacted in Regulation 2016/679. Against this background a PhD project can explain how the EU rules can function in public administration and include a consideration of whether these rules match the goal of an efficient administration. The project can furthermore make clear to which extent data protection law may actually be harmonized in the EU. Connected to this issue the project can include an analysis of how people in selected member states view the national state. As a starting point the question is whether the state is a friend or an enemy.

Contact: Professor, dr. Jur. Peter Blume at