Jan Michiel Otto studied law and development administration. He conducted research and field work in Egypt and Indonesia, and developed and directed research projects in other developing countries including China, Ghana, Libya, Morocco, South Africa. Frequent themes are law-making, local implementation, access to justice, and the role of legal institutions in various areas of law including the law of land, natural resources and environment, constitutional and administrative law, family law. Customary law and religious law are areas of special interest. Research and teaching on law, governance, and development in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are the core activities of the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development which he has directed since 1983. He published books on Egypt, Libya, and China, on comparative studies of Sharia and national law in the Muslim world, on law-making for development, and on technical assistance to local governments in developing countries. Jan Michiel Otto is vice chairman of the Board of Advisors of the International Development Law Organisation IDLO.
- Searching for Justice in Post-Gaddafi Libya ()
- Sharia Incorporated. A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present ()
- Legalising Land Rights. Yes, But How, An Introduction ()
- Rule of Law Promotion, Land Tenure and Poverty Alleviation: Questioning the Assumptions of Hernando de Soto ()
- Conclusion: A Comparativist's Outlook on Law-Making in China ()