Research projects

My current research projects deal with EU governance and soft law as well as lobbying and its regulation. 

Lobbying and political advocacy

My two Academy of Finland funded research projects investigate lobbying and its regulation. 

The first Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher project (2013–2016) looked at how non-EU countries seek to influence the EU when it regulates the law and policy of chemicals. The key findings of the project can be found in a research article “‘Mr. Smith Goes to Brussels’: Third Country Lobbying and the Making of EU Law and Policy“, published in 2016 in the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies.

In my subsequent (and ongoing) Academy of Finland Research Fellow project (2016–2021), I am interested in the intersections between democracy, constitutionalism and lobbying, and in particular how lobbying regulations articulate and define a lobbyist. The findings are published as a research article “Legal Lobbying: The Evolving (But Hidden) Role of Lawyers and Law Firms in the EU Public Affairs Market” in German Law Journal in 2021 (Vol. 22), and a book chapter on NGO advocacy and legal experts in an edited volume entitled Law, Legal Expertise and EU Policy-Making that I am co-editing together with Päivi Leino-Sandberg for Cambridge University Press.

I was lead investigator in a project on lobbying regulation funded by the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office. The report, published in 2018, examined the lobbying registers of the EU, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, and the US from three different – and yet interrelated – perspectives:

  • how they comply with international recommendations,
  • the role of public authorities, and
  • their advantages and disadvantages. 

The report, co-authored with Paul Tiensuu and available in Finnish, can be accessed here.

In the autumn of 2021, I launch a new four-year research project on the regulation of the revolving door. The Academy of Finland funded project “Expertise In and Out of Government: The Bureaucratic Revolving Door and Its Regulation in EU Member States” (REVOLVE) will look at the revolving door phenomenon and ways to regulate it in select Member States. 

EU governance and soft law

My doctoral thesis dealt with how the role of courts has been transformed by new governance instruments. The thesis was then reworked into a monograph entitled Adjudicating New Governance: Deliberative democracy in the European Union, published by Routledge in 2015. I also published a series of articles (European Law Journal, European Law Review, and Transnational Environmental Law) discussing the promises and pitfalls of so-called framework legislation, in particular framework directives in the EU.

My more recent soft law research has focused on EU soft law at the national level. I led the EU Commission funded Jean Monnet European Network on Soft Law Research (SoLaR, 2016–2019). This three-year project, involving contributions from more than 30 researchers from seven EU Member States, looked at the reception and impact of EU soft law in the Member States. A collection, co-edited together with Mariolina Eliantonio and Oana Stefan and entitled EU Soft Law in the Member States: Theoretical Findings and Empirical Evidence, was published by Hart Publishing in 2021.

Together with Mariolina Eliantonio and Steven Vaughan, I co-edited a Special Issue entitled “Is Soft Law Pandemic Proof?” focusing on how Member States use soft law to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue was published in the European Journal of Risk Regulation in 2021. My article, co-authored together with Martin Scheinin, analyses how soft law regulation was used in Finland during the first wave of the pandemic.

I am currently working on a Research Handbook on Soft Law, co-edited with Mariolina Eliantonio and Ulrika Mörth, which is forthcoming with Edward Elgar in 2022.