Auke Willems

Dr. Auke Willems

Senior Associate Researcher


After graduating with a degree in Law (LLB) from the University of Amsterdam, Auke successfully completed an LLM in International Law at the University of Edinburgh, in which he focused on international criminal law. He then went to the University of Glasgow, where he wrote his LLM by research thesis on the topic of European criminal law.

From 2013 until 2017, Auke has worked as a PhD-researcher at the IES, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, under supervison of Professor Paul de Hert and Anne Weyembergh (ULB). Auke's PhD research has focussed on the principle of mutual trust within EU mutual recognition based criminal justice cooperation. In this project it is being examined what mutual trust is in the EU criminal justice context, and how mutual trust between EU Member States can be fostered. An important aspect of the study is a comparison with criminal justice cooperation between states in the USA, as well as a multi-disciplinary study of the concept of trust.

He has carried out parts of his research as a visiting researcher at Babeș-Bolyai University (2013); Columbia University Law School (2014-2015); and the European University Institute in Florence (2016).

Auke successfully defended his PhD thesis in public on 19 April 2017 at the VUB.

Following the completion of his PhD, Auke joined the London School of Economics as a Fellow in EU Law. He is currently a Lecturer in EU Law at the University of Liverpool.

His broader research interests center around EU criminal law, EU asylum and migration law, international criminal law, human rights law and Brexit. He has published in peer-reviewed journals on these topics, and has presented various papers at international conferences. 

He is moreover an associated editor to the New Journal of European Criminal Law.

Profile and Publications



  • Willems, A. 2021. The Principle of Mutual Trust in EU Criminal Law, Hart Publishing Link


  • Willems, A. and De Hert, P. 2015. 'Dealing With Overlapping Jurisdictions and Requests for Mutual Legal Assistance While Respecting Individual Rights. What Can Data Protection Law Learn From Cooperation in Criminal Justice Matters?', in P. de Hert et al. (eds.), Enforcing Privacy: Lessons From Current Implementations and Perspectives for the Future (Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, Warsaw, 2015), p. 49-76.
  • Willems, A. 2014. ‘Commentaar bij Artikel 40 en 42/44 EVRM’, SDU Commentaar EVRM, Deel 2, Procedurele Rechten (SDU Uitgevers, Den Haag), p. 270-278 en 315-318. Link
  • Willems, A & De Hert, P. 2013. ‘Commentaar bij Artikel 2, 3 en 4 Protocol 7 EVRM’, SDU Commentaar EVRM, Deel 1, Materiële Rechten (SDU Uitgevers, Den Haag), p. 1463-1483. Link
  • Willems, A & De Hert, P. 2013. ‘Politie en Mensenrechten bij Demonstraties en Betogingen. Rechters zijn er nooit bij, maar kijken er wel naar’, Cahiers Politiestudies Nr. 27 (Maklu, Antwerpen), p. 107-149. Link

Conference Papers

  • Willems, A.. 2017. 'Improving Prison Conditions in the EU- Aranyosi’s Contribution', Fifteenth Biennial International Conference, European Union Studies Association, Miami (Fl)
  • Willems A. 2017. 'The Transformation of the Principle of Mutual Trust in EU Criminal Law by the Court of Justice of the European Union', The Cambridge International and European Law Conference 2017, University of Cambridge, Law Faculty Link
  • Willems, A. 2017. 'Reconciling Competing Interests in EU Criminal Law: the Principle of Mutual Trust', Post Graduate and Early Career Conference, University College London, Faculty of Laws
  • Willems A. 2016. 'Balancing Security and Justice in the EU’s Criminal Law Area', Research Seminar Series, The University of Edinburgh Europa Institute. Link
  • Willems A. 2016. 'Balancing security and justice in EU criminal justice cooperation', Lisbon Catolica Graduate Legal Research Conference, Catolica Global School of Law.
  • Willems, A. 2016. 'Mutual trust as a term of art in EU criminal law', The 10th International Graduate Legal Research Conference, King’s College London.
  • Willems, A. 2015. 'Interstate cooperation on the Two Sides of the Atlantic', ECLAN Ph.D. Seminar on the EU Area of Criminal Justice, University of Copenhagen.
  • Willems, A. 2015. 'Extradition on the two sides of the Atlantic', CrimFest Conference 2015, Cardozo School of Law, New York.
  • Willems, A. 2014. 'Demystifying the trust problem in EU criminal law: enhancing mutual trust by harmonising criminal procedural rights?', ECLAN Ph.D. Seminar on the EU Area of Criminal Justice, Queen Mary University, London.

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Willems, A. 2019. 'The Court of Justice of the European Union’s Mutual Trust Journey in EU Criminal Law: From a Presumption to (Room for) Rebuttal', 20(4) German Law Journal Link
  • Willems, A. 2016. 'Mutual Trust as a Term of Art in EU Criminal Law: Revealing its Hybrid Character', 9(1) European Journal of Legal Studies (2016), p. 211-249. Link
  • Willems, A. 2016. 'Extradition on the Two Sides of the Atlantic: The U.S. Model as Blueprint for the European Arrest Warrant?', Criminal Law Forum (2016). Link
  • Willems, A. 2014. 'The UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems- A Step Toward Global Assurance of Legal Aid?', 17(2) New Criminal Law Review, p. 184-219. Link
  • Willems, A. 2014. ‘The European Court of Human Rights on the UN Individual Counter-Terrorist Sanctions Regime: Safeguarding Convention Rights and Harmonising Conflicting Norms in Nada v. Switzerland’, 83(1) Nordic Journal of International Law, p. 39-60. Link

Articles, Essays & Reviews

  • Trauner F. and Willems A. 2016. 'The Internal-External Nexus: Criminal Justice’, 29 EUISS Brief Issue. Link
  • Willems, A. 2015. 'Euthanasia of Detainee: Granting a Prisoner's Request', 99(1) Criminal Justice Matters, p. 16-17. Link
  • Willems, A. 2014. Book Review of 'Whose Responsibility? A Study of Transnational Defence Rights and Mutual Recognition of Judicial Decisions within the EU', 51(4) Common Market Law Review, p. 1290-1292. Link
  • Willems, A. 2013. Book Review of ‘Criminal Law and Policy in the European Union’, 4(3) New Journal of European Criminal Law, p. 362-366.
  • Willems, A & De Hert, P. 2012. ‘Ernstige zedendelicten grond voor verlies verblijfsrecht EU-burgers’, 3 Tijdschrift voor Mensenrechten, p. 15-16.

Commissioned Research & Policy Work

  • Willems, A. 2013. ‘The UN General Assembly Resolution on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings- An Example for Europe’, IES Policy Brief 4/2013. Link