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Martijn Polak

Board member and chairman of the board IJI

Vice President and Supreme Court Justice

Martijn Polak has been a judge in the civil division of the Supreme Court since 2012 and has been vice-president since 2020. He was previously a lawyer with De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in The Hague and Amsterdam (1987-1992 and 2000-2012), Professor of Private International Law at Tilburg University (1989-1992) and Professor of Private International Law and Comparative Private Law at Leiden University (1992-2012). He studied at Leiden University (1979-1983) and Columbia University in New York (1983-1984), after which he obtained his PhD at Leiden University (1988).

What our Clients Say About Us

Lawyer Tim de Greve, partner at Stibbe.

I regularly engage the IJI in cases where PIL aspects play a role. The institute has existed for over 100 years and can therefore boast a long history and experience. There are prominent people associated with it. Not least Mr Strikwerda. They support you from the outset, immediately understand the question you are faced with and suggest possible solutions. They have the right connections at home and abroad to answer questions within a reasonable timeframe. Apart from that, it is very pleasant to work with the people of the IJI.

Lawyer Channa Samkalden, Prakken d'Oliveira

We have received advice from the IJI on several cases. One example is a case brought by a number of Nigerian farmers against Shell concerning oil pollution in Nigeria. That case is about the application of Nigerian law by the Dutch court. The IJI looked into the framework of tort law in Nigeria for us. We used that advice in the proceedings and also submitted it to the court and it showed, for instance, that our plaintiffs were also entitled to claim against Shell under Nigerian law. The IJI is extremely useful in all such cases because you receive very sound advice on the basis of which you know whether you should have a number of things investigated further. It’s very useful advice at an early stage of your procedure.

Attorney Ria van Seventer, Meesters aan de Maas Advocaten

Our law firm is based in Rotterdam, a city of more than 170 nationalities, so we regularly have to ask the IJI for advice. For example, I had to deal with the recognition of a child by an Italian man, to which Italian law had to be applied. I don’t speak Italian so I could not do that myself. Nor did I have access to the sources which the IJI has.

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