Finished doctorates

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Universiteit Antwerpen Vrije Universiteit Brussel



Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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DE GROOF, S. (2016). Arbeidstijd en vrije tijd in het arbeidsrecht : een juridisch onderzoek naar work-life balance, 367 pp.

Doctoral reseach, start September 2011, end : December 2016 (interrupted twice for pregnancy leave)

Belgian working time law has come into existence against the background of a social context that differs significantly from today’s reality. Working time law originated at the beginning of the 20th century. It was coordinated and laid down in the ’60 and ’70. Since then, many social evolutions took place that challenge working time law. Only few adaptions, however, have been made over the years. Together and partly as a consequence of this, an increasing demand for work-life balance (WLB) has come to the fore. This demand comes both from the trade unions, employees and employers and is reflected in the political discourse at national and European level. The traditional working time law, however, does not really take this demand into account.

This research investigated whether the Belgian working time law can be adapted to contribute to the realisation of WLB and, if so, which recommendations can be made. It concerns a legal research.

VAN BEVER, A., Open normen en het arbeidsrecht: een juridisch onderzoek naar verborgen patronen in arbeidsrelaties (transl.: "Open norms and labour law : a legal examination of hidden patterns in employment relationships.")

Completed PhD project (started in September 2009 - AAP ended in September 2015, Defense April 2016)

The research starts from the assumption that Belgian individual employment law is evolving: firstly because there are many changes occurring at the macro level of the labor market; secondly because - at the micro level of the individual employment relationship – there is a stronger awareness of the dynamic and relational nature of that relationship.

The Belgian individual employment law, with its tight, fixed and a priori given standard rules, cannot fully absorb the dynamics that are taking place both on the macro level and the micro level. Its traditional techniques are often formulated too rigid or general to weigh the interests of the individual employee and employer against each other. Starting from its traditional one-sided focus on the protection of the 'weak(er)' employee and its emphasis on legally certain solutions, Belgian employment law does not always seem to carry out that assessment - or not always in an equally explicit and transparent way. That finding is all the more noticeable in the so-called 'hard cases' of individual employment law, in which the traditional techniques of Belgian employment law - in light of the functions, goals and principles of labour law - can or do not provide a suitable and sufficiently clear solution for the dispute.

The research therefore raises the suggestion that open-textured norms and standards, such as the standard of ‘good faith’ or the prohibition of 'abuse of rights', provide opportunities to solve these hard cases of individual employment law in a way that respects the functions, goals and principles of labour law. Belgian individual employment law, however, distrusts the transparent use of - even their own - open norms and standards. The use of open norms would lead to legal uncertainty and judicial arbitrariness at the expense of the 'weak(er)' employee. In contrast, this research departs from the idea that thanks to their open texture and ad hoc implementation, open norms and standards offer opportunities to grasp the dynamic reality of the employment relationship and the therein hidden patterns. It assesses whether open norms can also fulfil their in general contract law acknowledged role as corrective mechanism in the context of the individual employment relationship. Meanwhile, it examines the extent to which open norms allow the labour judge to, on the one hand, adapt individual employment law to the developments on the labour market and to do justice to the (hidden) patterns and the complexity of the employment relationship.

Doing so, the research primarily focuses on the role of open norms that already exist in the Belgian individual employment law. Only after testing their potential, it tests to what extent also common law open norms carry in themselves additional potential to solve the hard cases of individual employment law. To carry out this test, the research searches inspiration from the role of open norms in the Dutch and English employment law. From there, it examines to what extent open norms (could) realise the functions of labour law, how they can do justice to the expectations of employees and employers and how they influence the task of the judge. The research hence clarifies the status of open norms in Belgian individual employment law, as well as the role of labour law in the 21st century.

Sturen zonder schuren. De rollen van cliënt, hulpverlener en overheid in de jeugdhulp

Bert C. BRÖCKING; Promotors: Paul Vlaardingerbroek (Tilburg University) & Johan Put; Period: 01/06/2010 - 01/04/ 2016; Promotion date: 20 June 2016

The dissertation describes the position of the client in the Dutch Youth Act (Jeugdwet). In 2015, Dutch municipalities became responsible for access, quality and funding of youth care.

In order to realize this responsibility, a good relationship of municipalities with professionals and client counselors is indispensable. That assumes that the actors in the youth care trust each other and find a connection, for example, in terms of purchasing and accountability policy.

The legal position of private care organisations, in particular in the residential care for the elderly. A fundamental rights-approach to the liberty of functioning of care organisations

Maarten JANSSENS; Promotor: Johan Put; Period: 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2012; Promotion date: 29/03/2013

Governments of welfare states are bound by a range of legal dispositions to provide their inhabitants with adequate social care. In taking up this responsibility, quite often they make use of private careproviders, which they heavily regulate and in some cases also subsidise. Yet, by following this policy these governments risk to infringe certain aspects of the freedom of association, such as the freedom of policymaking, and the liberty to conduct a business. This research puts focus on the limits imposed on governments in steering private care organisations.

It consists of a functional legal comparison between three European systems of residential care for the elderly (England, Germany and Flanders), each of which will be judged in the light of the right to care, the freedom of association and liberty to conduct a business and the prohibition of discrimination.

Equality in social security law: the pension schemes of employees, self-employed and civil servants

Valérie FLOHIMONT; Promotor: Johan Put: Copromotor: Jef Van Langendonck; Period: 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2011; Promotion date: 12/03/2012

The principle of equality is the cornerstone of our public law. All citizens have to be equal before the law. Nevertheless, Belgium has totally different retirement pension schemes for different occupational categories.. The question we want to answer is whether these different schemes constitute discrimination in breach of the principle of equality. To answer this question, we will examine the situation from two points of view. On the one hand we propose to study the interpretation of prohibited discrimination through the judicial precedents and the doctrine, with specific attention to the decisions of the Constitutional Court and on the other hand we want to search and analyse the objective foundations that could possibly justify a different treatment in accordance with the principle of equality. The first part of our paper will naturally be about the meaning of the principle of equality, in Belgian and international law. The second part will analyse the retirement systems of the wage earners, the self-employed workers and the civil servants, and also the specific protection scheme constituted by the income guarantee for older people. The third part will apply our findings concerning the principle of equality to these Belgian retirement schemes. Finally we will conclude with the possible necessity of reforms.

Law enforcement and the medical profession. Evaluation of social and disciplinary enforcement measures of health care delivery

Eveline ANKAERT; Promotor: Johan Put; Period: 01/10/2005 - 30/09/2011; Promotion date: 28/02/2012

Through regulation, governments aim to order societal life, prescribing certain ways of behaviour and prohibiting others. To strengthen this, law enforcement aims to uphold regulation in case of non-compliance by target groups. Compliance is crucially enhanced by the quality and transparency of legal provisions, by providing additional information, by the effectiveness of informal control, and ultimately, by imposing sanctions. All these elements play a pivotal roll in ensuring compliance with the rule of law. In particular, in the field of health care, non-compliance in terms of fraud by physicians can constitute a societal problem.


Universiteit Antwerpen

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De betekenis van het solidariteitsbeginsel in het Europees recht (transl.: "The meaning of the principle of solidarity in European law"

PhD project; researcher: Paula Ploscar

Start 01/09/2009; end 31/08/2013; PhD obtained in january 2014.

The principle of solidarity has becoming increasingly significant in European law. On the one hand this stems from the existing European Treaties and the reinforcement of the principle of solidarity in the Treaty of Lisbon and in the EU Charter of fundamental rights. It also follows from the developments in the case law of the European Court of Justice with regard to the implementation of parts of European law such as European citizenship, internal market and competition. The prime objective of this research was to analyse how European law defines the principle of solidarity. The results were compared to the definition of this concept in the European Open Method of Coordination as well as in Member States' social law and policy. This has led to conclusions on the issue as to whether there is a coherent view on the principle of solidarity within this European context.


Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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Bescherming bij ontbinding van het huwelijk. Een onderzoek naar de houdbaarheid van het overlevingspensioen, het echtscheidingspensioen en de uitkering na echtscheiding (original title)

PhD project; researcher: Elisabeth Alofs

This study investigates the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of divorce and survivors’ pensions and allowances owing to divorce

PhD obtained in 2013

Staat en gezondheidszorg (original title)

PhD project; researcher: Freek Louckx

This study analysis the State’s responsability for and intervention in the health care system from a constitutional and public health law point of view.

PhD obtained in 2014 and published: F. Louckx, Staat en gezondheidszorg, Gent, Larcier, 2015, 406 p.

Ora et labora. Philosophico-legal analysis of religious liberty in labor contexts in the United States of America

Werner De Saeger

PhD obtained in 2015

Legal Protection of Prisoners’ Labor and Social Security Rights: a Comparative Study

Xixue Shang

This research aims to understand to what extent experiences borrowed from other legal systems could be applied in China in view of an improvement of the protection of prisoners’ labour and social security rights

PhD obtained in 2017