Researcher in Spotlight: Tuomas Hupli
The Researcher in Spotlight is a series which introduces the researchers of the Faculty of Law. In June we are presenting Associate Professor Tuomas Hupli.
Associate Professor Tuomas Hupli
Position in the Faculty of Law: Associate Professor of Procedural Law
Degrees: Doctor of Laws
Fields of interest
General Procedural law, Law of Insolvency, and societal impact of them both. As an integral part of insolvency proceedings, the General Law of Property and Obligations, as well as the Company Law, have always included to my favorite fields. Naturally, the Constitutional and Human Rights elements of the use of coercive power are very important for any university lawyer who wants to work as a convincing professional.
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My academic career started in 2001 at the University of Helsinki, where I defended my doctoral thesis 4th June, 2004. Before that, I had worked as a trainee judge (trained on the bench at the District Court of Kouvola) and in various positions of drafting the insolvency legislation (both at national and at the EU level) in the Ministry of Justice. After defending my thesis, I wanted to continue the academic work, which I did as a University Lecturer of Procedural law, still in the U of Helsinki. Since I was still young, I found it useful to try my capabilities outside of the universities and thus, in May 2007, found myself from the Supreme Court as a referendary. I'm happy that I did this excursion, I learned very much in the Supreme Court about how to be a decent lawyer, but also how to gain benefit from the academic expertise, especially in large, difficult cases, and also about working as a member of the group (for each case after the leave to appeal was granted, 5 members of the Supreme Court + I alone as a referandary). Those two years gave me a lot of insights that I've been able to use in my teaching and research. In 2009, I returned to the U of Helsinki to be appointed to the permanent position of the University Lecturer in procedural law. It was nothing but teaching, so I cannot describe how happy I was to get the opportunity of moving to the University of Turku, holding a five-years substitute of the Professorship of Procedural law, while the permanent professor and my long time teacher, prof. Johanna Niemi, served as the Minna Canth Academy Professor (the Academy of Finland). Since the beginning of 2020, I'm serving here as an Associate Professor of Procedural Law and hope to receive the position of full professor some day in the future (current position expires 31. December 2022).
What projects are you currently working on?
The spring term of 2020 has been the first in ten years when I have had the opportunity of making research work on a full time basis. The corona crisis has brought some difficulties for the use of the research facilities, but I'm happy that my list of publications has gone further (some of the results are still pending in the referee-process, but I'm already working on the next article manuscript). Currently, I'm working as a Finnish representative in the project led by professor Reinhard Bork (University of Hamburg) and professor Michael Veder (Radbout University, the Netherlands), the project of which aims at harmonising the national laws of the EU Member States governing the transaction avoidance in insolvency proceedings. The major project in the field of societal impact is the implementation of the EU Directive on Preventive Restructuring, the work which is very much based on research (in the working group, my task is to bring the academic expertise and research insights into the discussions and to the results of the implementation). Of course, the impact of the corona crisis must be taken into account in my future projects and I've already written some lines of the study plan to be filed for the Academy of Finland later this year, with the overall theme "Public and Private In Financial Crisis" (the basic question is that the traditional market economy lies on the assumption that private actors themselves deal with the crisis without the interventions of public power, but the corona crisis seems to challenge this assumption, which had been weakened already due to the global financial crisis of 2008).
Have your interests evolved since finishing your studies?
Basic interests have remained pretty much the same. However, during the recent years, I've found the general procedural law somewhat more appealing as compared to my earlier career. The older I get, the more I realise how the different fields of law are linked to each other and how the moral problems are quite common around the world. It has been extremely rewarding and I've tried to express this in my research and teaching.
What would you be, if you were not a researcher?
That's not easy to say...perhaps some kind of a team coach in professional sports (at least I'd hope that). This is because the work of the university teacher has a lot in common with coaching (a good teacher is like a good coach, i.e. supportive and genuinely interested in pushing further the efforts of the team members, this meaning, in the university context, the efforts of the students). Or maybe I would have committed my energy to dogs, I mean on the professional base. Among the various professions of lawyers, I'd probably be an attorney or a judge, as litigation and the law of procedure have always been my favorite disciplines. I might be interested in the psychology of court proceedings as well.
What inspires you?
Team spirit inspires me. I mean, the work we do in the university is sometimes (actually, most often) hard and time consuming. We need to have high level of stress control to be able to meet the requirements under pressure. This is why I appreciate the good team spirit in which we support each other, look at the common goals and achieve them together. Naturally, as in any other work, we have tasks that must be fulfilled primarily alone. But even then it inspires me that the members of the faculty staff are, professional experts of course, but also great, supportive personalities. This is what I appreciate in our faculty.