Peter van Koppen (1953) was full professor of Legal Psychology at the Faculty of Law of VU University Amsterdam from 2003 until 2019. He also is full professor of Legal Psychology at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University from 2003. He is a psychologist. He studied psychology at Groningen University (doc.psych. 1978) and law at Groningen University and the University of Amsterdam (kand.jur. 1977). He received his JD in 1984 at the Faculty of Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
From 1978 until 1992 he worked at the Faculty of Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, at first in civil law, later in criminal law. Between 1992 and 2008 he was senior researcher at the Netherlands Study Center of Crime and Law enforcement (NSCR), at the time in Leiden. From 1998 until 2003 he was full professor of Legal Psychology at the Department of Law at Antwerp University in Belgium.
He was a member of the faculty board of the Rotterdam law faculty (1985-1986) and chairman in the Haarlem town council (1990-1996, for the liberal democrats D66). He was editor of Recht der Werkelijkheid (1986-1989) and co-editor of Psychology, Crime, and Law (1992-2019). He is a Member of the Amsterdam Laboratory for Legal Psychology (APPL). He is a Member of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth.
Van Koppen is a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is a Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) at Wassenaar (1986-1987 and 1990-1991). He is registered as a expert witness in legal psychology in the Governing Board of the Netherlands Register of Court Experts (NRGD). He has been serving as expert in some 500 court cases.
Van Koppen has been advising the police in several murder cases, was a member of the Investigating Task Force on Ritual Sexual Abuse to the minister of Justice (1993-1994) and a member of the Task Force on Ethical Aspects of Covert Police Work (1993-1995). He was a member of the National Expertise Committee on Special Vice Cases of the College van Procurators-General (the governing body of the Dutch prosecution; 1999-2006). In 2008 he chaired a committee on behalf of the prosecution to investigate the police investigation into the Putten Murder Case. Van Koppen has been serving as member of the Board of the Netherlands Register of Court Experts.
Together with Dick J. Hessing Van Koppen took the initiative to the Criminology Departments at Leiden University, VU University Amsterdam, and Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is Past-President of the European Association for Psychology and Law. Van Koppen leads the international doctorate program of the House of Legal Psychology.
Van Koppen published, next to some 35 books, 160 articles and 100 chapters in edited volumes, among others: Dubieuze zaken (Dubious Cases; 1992; 7th edition 2011; with Hans F.M. Crombag and Willem-Albert Wagenaar); De Schiedammer parkmoord: Een rechtspsychologische reconstructie (The Schiedam Park Murder: A Legal Psychological Reconstruction; 2003); Paradoxen van deskundigen (Paradoxes of Court Experts; 2004); De Hoge Raad in persoon: Benoemingen in de Hoge Raad der Nederlanden 1838-2002 (The Supreme Court in Person: Appointments to the Dutch Supreme Court from 1938 until 2002; 2003, with Jan ten Kate); Adversarial versus inquisitorial justice: Psychological perspectives on criminal justice systems (2003, with Stephen D. Penrod); Rechercheportret: Over dilemma's in de opsporing (A Portrait of Police Detectives: About Dilemma's in Police Investigations; 2004, with Christianne J. de Poot), Crashing memories and the problem of source monitoring (1996, Applied Cognitive Psychology, with Hans F.M. Crombag and Willem-Albert Wagenaar), De Appelschase babymoord (The Appelscha Baby Murder; 2008, with Marie Vere van Koppen) en Routes of the law: Psychologie van het recht (Routes of the Law: On Legal Psychology; 2010, with Jan W. de Keijser, Marco Jelicic and Robert Horselenberg).
Recently he published two monographs on evidence in criminal cases: Overtuigend bewijs: Indammen van rechterlijke dwalingen (Convincing Evidence: Limiting Miscarriages of Justice; 2011) and Gerede twijfel: Over bewijs in strafzaken (Reasonable Doubt: On Evidence in Criminal Cases; 2013).
In 2011 Van Koppen received the Publication Prize of the Stichting Maatschappij Veiligheid en Politie (Foundation Society, Safety and Police) for Overtuigend Bewijs and in 2014 he was awarded the Tom Williamson Award for life time achievement by the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, iIIRG. In 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL).