We welcome our new doctoral students: Who are they? What are their research projects about?

25 September 2020

From left to right: Jakob Hellström, Elin Boyer, Erik Grahn, Svea Andersson, Benjamin Svensson, Silvia A. Carretta (Photo Erik Svensson)

Six new doctoral students have started at the Department of Law. For a description of their projects, see below.

Jakob Hellström, doctoral student in Criminal Law. Supervisor: Ass. Prof. Erik Svensson

Most political parties now seem to agree that punishments should be more severe and that the victim's position in Swedish criminal law should be strengthened. Traditional principles are being challenged in many areas, while the distance between the doctrine of criminal law and criminal policy practice seems greater than ever. The overall question that I intend to investigate is what the consequences of these changes, taken as a whole, have been for the criminal law discourse. The project aims, among other things, to investigate issues related to the victim's new role in Swedish criminal law, contradictions between theory and practice and much more.

Elin Boyer, doctoral student in Legal History. Supervisor: Ass. Prof. Marianne Dahlén

Rights of Nature. From Object to Subject. During the past decade several jurisdictions have developed different versions of legal attempts to embody nature or natural entities as rights holders. While they differ significantly, each initiative envisions the emergence of “natural” entities such as rivers, forests, and ecosystems as new rights-bearing legal subjects. The project aims to examine and place in historical and legal context this contemporary strategy that goes under the umbrella term “Rights of Nature".

Erik Grahn, doctoral student in Private Law. Supervisor: Ass. Prof.  Mikael Hansson

The project of Erik Grahn concerns the protection of workers human rights and the employers’ right to organize work. The rights highlighted by the project are the right to private and family life, and the freedoms of expression, thought, conscience and religion. The employers’ right to organize and lead work has a strong position in Swedish labour law. The concerned rights are protected by the European Convention on Human rights as well as EU law, for example the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The project concerns issues in applying Swedish law in harmony with European law as well as the potential conflicts between the right to organize work and the human rights in question.

Svea Andersson, doctoral student in Public International Law. Supervisor Prof. Inger Österdahl

My research is in Public International Law, and more specifically international space law. One of the aims of my research is to examine how well the international regulation of human space activities, which largely consists of international agreements concluded in the 1960s and '70s, meets the needs of today's and future space operations.
I will focus in particular on legal issues concerning safety and the risk of collisions in the launch phase of space operations, and to identify where the regulation is deficient in relation to the conditions for safe launches of space objects, e.g. satellites. In addition, the research must contribute to clarifying current law in the field as well as proposing possible legal methods for dealing with shortcomings or ambiguities in the current regulation.


Benjamin Svensson, doktorand i civilrätt. Handledare Prof. Joel Samuelsson

My project, entitled  “The contract in court proceedings”, concerns the relationship between contract interpretation and examination of evidence in the courts' procedure to determinate the content of a contract. The main issues of the project are which parts of the dispute that can, should or must be resolved through interpretation of the contract, and which potential factors, relevant for the assessment of a contract’s content, the parties must invoke in order for the court to be allowed to consider them and which, respectively, the court may take into consideration without such invocation. The purpose of the project is to clarify the criterions that can be used for the demarcation between the interpretation of the agreement and the questions of evidence in different typical cases for application. Thus, the project also concerns the larger issue of the degree to which the disputing parties can influence the court procedure regarding the courts’ interpretation of contracts.

Silvia A. Carretta, doktorand i civilrätt. Handledare Doc. Sandra Friberg

Silvia A. Carretta is an Italian lawyer specialized in intellectual property. Doctoral candidate in Private Law at Uppsala University, she is affiliated with the WASP-HS program (Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program – Humanities and Society, https://wasp-hs.org/). She has also joined Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Religion and Society as a researcher within the interdisciplinary project “Artificial Intelligence, democracy and human dignity” led by Professor Anna-Sara Lind.

Her research project involves the study of legal accountability of autonomous-thinking systems and the impact of upcoming technology shifts on society.Whilst the use of Artificial Intelligence systems clearly generates new opportunities to enhance people’s abilities in all facets of society, it also challenges existing notions of ethics, along with questioning the existing framework of accountability principles with reference to autonomous AI systems. The project aims to research and identify uniform ethical guidelines human-centric AI, to build on the existing regulatory framework as well as to establish accountability principles in relation to situations where damages are caused by self-learning, autonomous-thinking systems with increased capabilities to execute actions autonomously, without human intervention.

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