Rik Torfs studied law and canon law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and obtained a degree in notarial law. He received his doctorate in 1987 with a dissertation on the canonical concept of marriage. In 1988, Torfs was appointed professor in the Faculty of Canon Law at the KU Leuven. He became full-time professor in 1996. From 1994 to 2003 and 2009 to 2013, he served as Dean of the Faculty. He is a guest professor at the University of Stellenbosch, University of Paris, University of Nijmegen, and University of Strasbourg. Torfs also serves on the academic advisory board for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University and is a member of the board of experts of the International Religious Liberty Association. He is a former president and board member of the European Consortium for Church and State Research and founder and board member of the Working Group Nederlandstalige Canonisten (Dutch-speaking Canonists). He became a member of the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue in 2005, the Commissie ter invulling van de cursus maatschappelijke oriëntatie in 2006, and Les Assises de l’Interculturalité in 2009. He serves as an advisor to the government of Romania regarding the protection of religious minorities. From 2010 to 2012 he was a member of the Belgian Federal Parliament (Senate). After stepping down from politics, he was elected Rector of KU Levuen on 17 May 2013 and assumed office on 1 August 2013. He has written many articles and numerous books dealing with canon law, law, and Church and State relationships.