March 10th 2017, Peter van Koppen is speaker at the symposium ‘Evidence Matters‘. 

Abstract Peter van Koppen

Criminal evidence as a branch of science in practice

In this talk I will give a few examples of how typical scientific processes of verification and falsification work is some criminal cases.


Since 2003 Peter van Koppen (1953) is professor of Psychology and Law at VU University Amsterdam. He is a psychologist. He studied psychology at Groningen University (graduation 1978) and law at Groningen University and Amsterdam University. He received a J.D. in 1984 from Erasmus University Rotterdam. From 1978 until 1992 he worked at the Law Faculty of that university, first in civil law, later in criminal law. From the foundation in 1992 until 2008 he worked at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) at Leiden.

Between 2003 and 2013 he was professor of psychology and law at Maastricht University. Also, between 1998 and 2003 he was professor of Psychology and Law at Antwerp University, Belgium. Van Koppen is Past-President of the European Association for Psychology and Law. He is co-editor of Psychology, Crime, and Law.

Van Koppen is a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) te Wassenaar. He was expert witness in some 300 civil and criminal cases. He serves on the Government Board of the Dutch Register of Court Experts.

Van Koppen is director of The House of Legal Psychology: International Doctorate Programma, a cooperation of Maastricht University, the University of Portsmouth and Gothenburg University.

Together with D.J. Hessing, Van Koppen initiated the criminology programs at Leiden University, Free University Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Van Koppen has been scientific advisor to police investigation squads, member of the Task Force in Ritual Abuse of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and member of the National Expertise Group on Special Vice Cases of the Dutch College of Prosecutors-General.

He published a large number of books and articles in the broad field of psychology and law. Some typical publications are Paradoxes of proof and punishment: Psychological pitfalls in judicial decision making (2007, with J.W. de Keijser, in. Legal and Criminological Psychology), Jury trials: Oposed (2009, in E-Journal USA) and Adversarial versus inquisitorial justice: Psychological perspectives on criminal justice systems (2003, with S.D. Penrod). Van Koppen initiated the Dutch television series Gerede Twijfel [Reasonable Doubt].

In 2011 Van Koppen received the bi-annual publication prize of the Dutch Society, Security and Police Foundation for Overtuigend Bewijs. In 2009 he received the Media Magnet Prize of the Free University Amsterdam. In 2008 he was granted, together with Hans Crombag and Harald Merckelbach, the Nip-Van Gorcum Media Prize of the Netherlands Association of Psychologists. In 2014 Van Koppen received the Tom Williamson Award for life time achievement of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, iiiRG. In 2016 Van Koppen received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL).