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Young Legal Researchers Conference

Young Legal Researchers Conference

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Opening keynote speech: prof. dr. Sofia Ranchordás

Sofia Ranchordás is a  Full Professor of European and Comparative Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Sofia Ranchordás conducts research on public law and digital technology from an interdisciplinary perspective. She has more than ten years of experience in the field of regulation and governance, including e-commerce and digital platforms (sharing economy, P2P, online reputational mechanisms). Her research interests include the study of data-driven regulation, the impact of Big Tech on fundamental rights and good administration as well as new approaches to better regulation, experimental legislation, and innovation policy. She has published a number of articles and books on these topics and is a regular speaker at international conferences. She held previous academic positions at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, Tilburg University and Leiden University. Sofia Ranchordás has been the recipient of both national and international grants and awards (e.g. Niels Stensen Fellowship, Knight Foundation, NWO Smart Governance, KNAW). She is the General Editor of the Review of European Administrative Law and co-founder of the European Law & Tech Network. She has advised the Dutch government and the European Commission on several matters regarding the regulation of new technological developments.
Closing keynote speech: prof. dr. Johan Ackaert

Johan Ackaert is a Full Professor of Law and Society and Methodology of the Social Sciences at Hasselt University and dean of the Faculty of Law. He studied Political Sciences and obtained a Ph. D. Social Sciences (both KU Leuven). His main research fields are local politics, local government and governance, but he also published articles and books on political participation and the integration and participation of ethnic minorities within an urban context. He was for many years co promotor of the Policy Research Center Governmental Renewal, advising the Flemish government on administrative innovations.
Working groups
I. Data protection in transformational times
Nina Colpaert
“A COVID-19 vaccine for all? On patent law and access to pharmaceuticals”
Caranina (Nina) Colpaert (°1996) is a Ph.D. researcher and teaching assistant at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Law (Institute for Consumer, Competition and Market). Her doctoral research focuses on medicine shortages and their legal framework, and is supervised by prof. Wouter Devroe and prof. Isabelle Huys.
Before starting as a Ph.D. researcher, Nina obtained her Bachelor and Master of Laws at the KU Leuven, graduating magna cum laude in July 2019. As a part of her master’s program, she studied a semester at the University of Sydney.
During her studies, Nina was an editor at Jura Falconis, KU Leuven’s law review.  She also completed a number of legal internships, among others with Allen & Overy and Linklaters.
Tommaso Fia
“Access to and Ownership of Data to Tackle Covid-19: Some Lessons (IP) Law Should Learn for Good”
Tommaso Fia is a PhD Researcher at the Department of Law of the European University Institute (EUI) from September 2019. His research interests encompass data ownership, data access, property theory, and the commons. In his doctoral research project he investigates whether the theories of the commons can provide viable normative grounds as to opening up access to non-personal data, and explores the relevant implications for (intellectual) property laws. He is one of the coordinators of the Information Society (InfoSoc) Working Group of the EUI and collaborates on the EUI project ‘Unowned Personal Data, Interoperable EU Borders and Transitioning Rights’. Since 2019 he has worked with Professor Alessandra Quarta (Associate Professor of Private Law, University of Turin) as a teaching assistant (e.g. giving oral examinations, drawing up written tests etc.). Before joining the EUI, he worked as a data protection specialist and trainee lawyer in an international law firm based in Milan from January 2018 to August 2019.
Natalia Menéndez González
“Development or Dystopia? Will the GDPR ever be enough to regulate the intersectional law and technology challenges posed by FRT-AI?”
Natalia Menéndez González is a Second-year PhD researcher at the Law Department at the European University Institute (Florence) and former researcher at the Constitutional Law Department at the University of Oviedo (Spain). Her PhD thesis focuses on privacy implications of FRT empowered by AI. She is concurrently working on the controversial use of FRT by Facebook and the privacy impact of FRT usage during the COVID-19 health emergency. Her research interests also cover algorithmic fairness, accountability, transparency and ethics. She has a trajectory at diverse Law firms in Spain and is the founding member of the Machine Lawyering branch at The Digital Public Sphere Research Working Group at the EUI (aimed at study the intersection between Law and Technology, specially focused on AI and Machine Learning). She is also a founding member of COYDER (an association devoted to promoting the public communication of the Law) and member of the Lucena Bar Association.
Cemre Bedir
“Contract Law in the Age of Big Data”
Cemre Bedir (1992) is a PhD Researcher at the Private and Business Law Department of Tilburg University. He studied law at Istanbul University and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree magna cum laude in 2014. He completed his one-year legal internship at the Istanbul Bar Association in 2015 and afterwards worked as a legal consultant in several international law firms based in Istanbul. In 2017, he studied law at the London School of Economics and he obtained a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Corporate and Commercial Law. In 2018, he completed his second Master of Laws (Advanced LL.M.) in the field of European and International Business Law at Leiden University. Since September 2018, he has been working as a PhD researcher in law at Tilburg University and a lecturer of Obligations and Contract law in the Bachelor's program in Global Law at Tilburg University. 
Goda Strikaite 
“Digital technologies in the public sector – exploring terra incognita”
Goda Strikaitė-Latušinskaja is affiliated with Vilnius University, Faculty of Law as both a young researcher and a PhD student. Investigating the principles underlying the implementation of artificial intelligence in the public sector is the general goal of her research. In 2019 Goda organised a conference GovTech2019: kas, kaip kodėl? where she delivered a presentation on technologies and a state. In May 2020 she delivered a presentation “Online dispute resolution: quo vadis, Europe?” at the 8th International Conference of PhD students and young researchers. Together with a professor Jurgita Paužaitė-Kulvinskienė she was selected to publish an article “Automated administrative order in the context of the Code of Administrative Offences” by the Observatory on Local Autonomy. Goda is also a member of a scientific thematic group Changes in the administrative law system: towards an adaptive leadership in public administration that inter alia researches transforming impact of technology in public administration.
II. Tax law as an impetus for change in transformational times
Anna Maria Nowak 
“Fintech as social phenomenon: governing transformations in financial services.” 
Anna Maria Nowak is a Ph.D. researcher at the Law Department of the European University Institute, studying Fintech regulation.
She holds an M.A. in Law from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, where she wrote her master thesis on the regulation of crowdfunding, and an L.LM. in Comparative, European and International Laws from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. In her doctoral research, Anna Maria focuses on corporate governance and corporate sustainability in Fintech, showing how both can be incorporated into organizational structures and business models of Fintech corporations. The arguments of her thesis are built upon an ethnographic study conducted within the Fintech industry in the years 2016-2019.
Prior to commencing her Ph.D., Anna Maria worked at international law firms in Warsaw, and in the Legal Department at one of the largest banks in Poland. While at the EUI, she also worked as a research assistant to prof. Hans-W. Micklitz, and was a member of the ARTSY team, investigating the challenges for consumer law and policy stemming from the use of artificial intelligence by business. More recently, Anna Maria worked in a Fintech company, in the Legal and Regulatory department.
Currently, Anna Maria is based in the Hague, where she works as a Lecturer in Legal Skills and Private Law.
Francesco Cannas and Matteo Fermeglia
“Reconciling EU Tax and Environmental Policies: the VAT as a vehicle to boost green consumerism under the EU Green Deal”
Francesco Cannas: Post-doctoral researcher at Hasselt University; adjunct professor of Tax Law at the University of Eastern Piedmont “Amedeo Avogadro”, and a member of the editorial committee of Rivista di Diritto Tributario Internazionale. Francesco authored several publications in legal journals and books and is frequently invited as speaker at postgrad courses and international conferences. He is also a qualified Italian practicing lawyer. Francesco was awarded several degrees, among which a Master in Corporate Tax Law by the Bocconi University of Milan in 2012, an LL.M. in International Taxation by the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) in 2013, a Ph.D. by the same Austrian university in 2017 and a Law Degree Conversion Diploma (GDL) by the BPP University in 2018.
Matteo Fermeglia, Ph.D. (University of Trieste and University of Udine joint program), is Post-Doctoral Assistant in Environmental and Administrative Law at the University of Hasselt. In fall 2017, Dr. Fermeglia was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School, collaborating with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment.
Yiota Radovits
“Fiscal state aids in the Covid19 Era”
Panagiota (Yiota) Radovits is an Attorney-at-law and a member of Athens Bar Association. Currently she is a PhD Candidate in European Law from the Law School of Athens and a scholar of State Scholarship Foundation (IKY), the only national foundation for scholarships. Her doctoral dissertation theme is regarding “The nature of Tax Competition in the EU, in the light of economic freedoms”. Furthermore, she holds an LLM degree in the EU Law from the Law School of Athens and a bachelor’s degree from the same School. She speaks Greek (Native Speaker), English (Proficient, C2 Level), French (Proficient, C2 Level), Italian (Advanced, C1 Level) and German (Intermediate, B1 Level). During the fall semester of 2011-2012, she was an Erasmus student in the Faculty of Law in the University of Liege in Belgium. She is also a member of European Law Master’s Alumni Association; she loves travelling and reading classic literature.
Alessia Tomo 
“The duty to contribute to public expenditure and the “right to be let alone”: what balance in the Information and Communication Technology society?”
Yvette Lind
“Taxation and Democracy in a Globalized World Order”
Yvette Lind is currently an Assistant professor in tax law at Copenhagen Business School (CBS Law). Swedish jur.dr. (JD) specializing in international taxation with an emphasis on challenges arising from globalization, increased taxpayer movement and the fragmentation of law. Awarded Swedish TOR/Skattenytt post-doc between 2017-2019 in connection to defending her doctoral thesis, facilitating specializing in EU state aid law in various fiscal contexts, e.g. tax avoidance and environmental taxation. Currently working on her taxation and democracy project in which she explores the effects of increased taxpayer mobility with reference to the allocation of not only taxation and access to (social) welfare benefits but also political rights and benefits such as voting privileges. Regular guest researcher at the Faculty of Law, Lund University and the Max Planck Institute for tax law and public finance in Munich.
III. Ethics, (dis)information and equality in transformational times 
Sara Vancleef
“The impact of COVID-19 on the labour market position of immigrants and their children”
Sara Vancleef obtained her Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Hasselt University in 2019. Since October 2019, she is a doctoral researcher at the Law Faculty of Hasselt University. She is currently preparing a doctoral dissertation with the title “Legal rules that can contribute to employment outcomes of persons with a migration background in the Belgian labour market”, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Petra Foubert and Prof. Dr. Jan Theunis. Sara has a particular interest in human rights, equality and non-discrimination, gender and minority groups.
Elien Verniers
“COVID-19 as impetus for an integrative approach to global animal welfare law”
Elien Verniers is a PhD Researcher at the University of Ghent. Within the department of European, Public and International Law, she is part of the Centre for Environmental Law. In October 2018 she started as a mandate-holder of a BOF scholarship in the field of Environmental Law. Her interests lie in Environmental Law, with particular interests in Animal and Law. She is preparing her doctorate (LL.D) “Towards new legal instruments for animal welfare”. Currently she also assists with the ‘Animal & Law’ course and the ‘Agrarian Law’ course at the University of Ghent and supervises LL.M students with their master dissertations on Animal and Law. Some of her recent publications are: “The impact of including animals in the constitution– Lessons learned from the German animal welfare state objective” [Global Journal of Animal Law]; “Contactrecht van ex-partners met huis- en gezelschapsdieren” [TFam]; “Dierenwelzijn in de Europese Unie” [NJW)]; “Le Code wallon du Bien-être animal: révolution ou réformation?” [Revue Semestrielle de Droit Animalier];...
Aurélie Cassiers
“Societal, ethical and legal challenges in the field of procreation: conflicting interests and use of biotechnologies”
I obtained my bachelor's degree at the UNamur and my master's diploma at the KUL. I had the opportunity to go for an Erasmus-Belgica at the UAntwerpen and exchange at the University of Stellenbosch (SA). I got a university's certification in bioethics and medical care (UNamur).
I am currently teaching assistant in family and matrimonial law at the UHasselt. I am writing a Ph.D. under the supervision of prof. dr. Charlotte Declerck (UHasselt) and prof. dr. Géraldine Mathieu (UNamur) about the right to have a perfect child, i.e., the parents' right to choose the embryo's genetic characteristics (so mostly in the field of bioethics, human rights, medical law, and person law).
Valentina Golunova
“No more lies: the rights-based approach to fighting the COVID-19 “infodemic” in the EU”
Valentina Golunova is a PhD candidate at the Department of International and European Law of Maastricht University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of fundamental rights law and digital innovations. In her PhD project, Valentina examines the dynamics of EU intermediary liability framework and its impact on freedom of expression and information. In 2020, she was a fellow of the scientific project “Ethics of Digitalisation” organised by the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers in cooperation with the Stiftung Mercator under the patronage of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Valentina also tutors courses on International & EU Law at the European Law School as well as Substantive Law of the EU at Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University.
Juncal Montero Regules
“Freedom of expression safeguards in online speech governance: transforming social media?”
IV. Environmental law and sustainability as an impetus for change in transformational times
Kleoniki Pouikli 
“Public land use policy and urban planning in Greece: Overstretching the limits of urban sustainability in a context of financial crisis”
A lawyer by training working as a Course Director in Environmental Law at ERA Academy of European Law (Trier) since June 2017.
Kleoniki is currently a visiting Lecturer at European Law and Governance School (Athens, Greece) and Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Athens. She is member of the editorial board of the Journal of European Environmental and Planning Law (Brill Publications) and permanent academic assistant of the Greek legal journal “Environment & Law” (Nomiki Vivliothiki).
Kleoniki graduated from the Law School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (2009) with distinction and obtained Master II in Public Law from the University Assas Panthéon-Paris II, France (2010-2011). She holds a PhD on Environmental Law from the Aristotle University of the Thessaloniki (2012-2016) (IKY Fellowships of excellence for postgraduate Studies in Greece). During her PhD research period she was DAAD Fellow (2015-2016) and Erasmus+ Programme Guest Researcher (2014-2015) at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Before her current position, she worked as a Research Associate in the Project CELARIT (Climate Engineering Liability: An Integrated Treatment) at the University of Trier, Germany (07/2016-06/2017).
Kleoniki has participated in various conferences and published scientific papers in the fields of environmental law, EU law and administrative law.
Kendro Pedrosa and Jonas Voorter
“Innovation in environmental regulation: reality or castles in the air?”
Kendro Pedrosa studied law at Hasselt University (LL.M. Administration of Justice, 2018). On 1 October 2018 he started as a doctoral researcher at Hasselt University. His PhD focuses on legal pathways for ensuring clean air in the European Union.

Jonas Voorter studied law at Hasselt University (LL.M. Government and law, 2016). After his studies, he worked for three years as an attorney-at-law at the bar of Limburg with a focus on environmental law, public procurement, real estate and construction law. During his activities as a attorney-at-law, he worked on two research projects at Hasselt University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Bernard Vanheusden. In September 2019, Jonas started as a doctoral researcher at Hasselt University. His research focuses on the legal transition to a circular economy in the Belgian construction sector.
Edwin Alblas
“Transforming the countryside? The role of Dutch environmental cooperatives in agri-environmental governance”
Edwin Alblas is a PhD candidate in environmental law and regulation at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin (UCD). His ERC funded research is situated within the interdisciplinary Effective Nature Laws project, led by professor Suzanne Kingston. He is a graduate of Tilburg University (BA, LLM) and KU Leuven (LLM). Prior to starting his PhD, Edwin worked in the EU department of the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations. In UCD, Edwin lectures on environmental law & policy, environmental politics, and regulatory governance, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has published in several international peer-reviewed journals, both in the fields of (environmental) law and political science, including European Union Politics, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law and Theory and Practice of Legislation.
Francesca Leucci
“Unlocking the potential of environmental liability in transformational times”
I am currently enrolled in the European Doctorate of Law and Economics and my research project deals with the assessment of damages for environmental liability.
My academic background is quite interdisciplinary. I first graduated in Law in Italy in 2014 and then I got my second LL.M. in European Legal Studies – Economic Analysis of Law at the College of Europe in Bruges. I also gained a degree in Social Sciences by attending one of the few schools of excellence for interdisciplinary studies spread around Italy (I.S.U.F.I. in Lecce).
Regarding my work experience, I trained as a lawyer at the Public Attorney (18 months), then as a judge assistant at the Administrative Local Court (18 months) and finally at the Italian Antitrust Authority in Rome (8 months).
I spent several months abroad to carry out research (first at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg and then at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris).
Alessandra Calvi
“Data Protection and environmental challenges raised by the Internet of Things”
Alessandra Calvi is a doctoral candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in the Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) research group and d.pia.lab since August 2019. Alessandra holds an LLM in International and European law – Data law option awarded by the Institute of European Studies of the VUB (2019). After obtaining a law degree from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan (2015), she completed a law clerkship at the Tribunal of Pavia, in the Labour law section (2016-2017). She also completed a traineeship at the European Data Protection Supervisor (2018). Her research interests include the interrelationships between law and technology, in particular between data protection and the circular economy.
V. Competition, investment and economic change in transformational times
Clara Danois
“Antitrust intervention in the era of blockchain” 
Clara is a young researcher at the Antwerp University. Prior to that, she was also part of an advanced LLM specialized in European and International Business and Competition Law from the Catholic University of Lille. Her research focuses on the interplay between competition law and the disruptive technology of the blockchain.
Diana Wade
“If “disruptive” 3D technology increases reshoring, will it increase the number of goods “Made in ___”?”
Diana Wade is a third-year PhD student in International and European Law at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Her thesis focuses on international trade law, specifically Rules of Origin, 3D printing, and global supply chains. She holds a J.D. from Gould School of Law, University of California and has obtained degrees from Columbia University (B.A., Barnard College; M.A., School of the Arts). She has worked in film distribution and production and has written and edited scholarly contributions in the field of Cinema Studies. Prior to attending Bocconi, she worked as a trademark lawyer at an intellectual property law firm in Southern California. She has also published articles on the impact of technology on intellectual property law in the United States as well as on trademark law practice.
Liesbet Van Acker
“Sharing information in the context of dual distribution schemes: enhancing competition or disguising anti-competitive practices?”
Liesbet Van Acker is a Ph.D. researcher and teaching assistant at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Law, Consumer Competition Market. Under the supervision of prof. Evelyne Terryn and prof. Wouter Devroe, she is currently writing a thesis entitled ‘E-Distribution – Towards a vertical agreements framework fit for an environmentally sustainable and digital economy’.
Liesbet obtained her Bachelor and Master of Laws at the KU Leuven, graduating magna cum laude. As a part of her master's degree she studied a year at Queen Mary University of London. She participated in the John H. Jackson WTO Moot Court, obtaining the award for best European team and best oralist in the semi-finals. She also completed a number of legal internships, among others with Allen & Overy, Van Bael & Bellis, and the European Commission (DG Comp).
Martin Munu
“Examining the potential effects of e-commerce rules on African MSMEs”
Munu is a PhD Candidate at Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR), Faculty of Law, Maastricht University. His Phd research is entitled “Trade negotiations on e-commerce: an analysis of their potential impact for micro, small and medium-size enterprises growth in African countries”. His research areas in generally on trade agreements and their implications on sustainable development. Previously, he worked with the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Uganda on trade and regional integration issues and Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) in Uganda on bilateral and multilateral trade negotiation issues. He also worked with Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International, Nairobi on trade and development issues.
Steffie van den Bosch
“Corporate disclosure and management of sustainability risks: from perception to deception?” 
My name is Steffie van den Bosch and I am currently working as a PhD researcher at the Private & Business Law Department of Tilburg Law School. I graduated in finance (MSc) in 2014, and I graduated cum laude in business law (LLM) in 2017, both at Tilburg University. The combination of my two master degrees makes me not only willing to, but also capable of, approaching questions from multiple perspectives, in particular when conducting empirical research. The topic of my PhD research project is corporate sustainability and risk management, which lies at the core of both disciplines, and I am particularly interested in how large European companies deal with sustainability risks. I have a very strong research and personal interest in sustainability, given the important challenges and opportunities we face in today’s world.
VI. Social and institutional challenges in transformational times
Simon Indesteege
“Belgium – up to date or outdated?”
Lucien Rigaux
“The impact of the Covid-19 on the Federal government and Belgian Parliaments”
I obtained my master’s degree in law after five years of study at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), finishing third in my class. I studied in Ghent, Rotterdam and Hamburg in order to obtain my European Master in Law and Economics. After that, I began of working in the "Centre de droit public" of Law Faculty of the ULB on contracts for the public authorities. After less than two years working on an ordinance for the homeless in the Brussels-Capital region, a study of the legal feasibility of reducing working time and advice on federalism for The Data Protection Authority, I started a PhD on solidarity between people and territories in Belgium. Since I am also an assistant in constitutional law and fundamental rights. Besides my thesis, my main research focus on the relations between Parliament and the government as well as on the relations between the federated entities among themselves and with the federal state.
Jesse Claassen
“The EU’s Preliminary Ruling Procedure as a Motor for Europeanisation”
Jesse Claassen is a PhD candidate at the International and European Law department of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, since February 2017. His research concerns the use of the EU's preliminary ruling procedure (Art. 267 TFEU) by national courts. More specifically, he examines the motives of national courts (not) to refer preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the EU. The project combines doctrinal legal research with empirical qualitative methods, and focuses on four case studies (asylum, consumer, competition and criminal law) comparing the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. This research runs parallel to Jasper Krommendijk's VENI-project, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), ‘It takes two to tango. The preliminary reference dance between the Court of Justice of the European Union and national courts’.
Vincent Février
“Flexibilization of Labour Law in Belgium: Analysis of a Short-Lived New Regime and its Downfall: The Case of Associative Work”
Vincent Février graduated in Law at the University of Liège in 2018. He also received a LLM at the Maastricht University in European Law in 2019. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Liège as an aspirant (research fellow) of the F.R.S-F.N.R.S. He is comparing the concept of worker in Belgian Labour Law and in European Economic Law (freedom of establishment, freedom to provide services and Competition Law) in order to determine if the logic of Belgian Labour Law could be threatened by the current and potential influence of this segment of European Law, and whether the Belgian State keeps a margin of manœuvre to build a Law protecting the workers as it sees fit. 
Sarah Knoops
“How technology eroded the difference among blue-collar and white-collar workers in labour and occupational pension law”
PhD Researcher and Teaching Assistant Labour Law at the University of Antwerp since 2016. My research focuses on the principle of non-discrimination in the field of occupational pensions for employees (EU, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg). In this research I address age discrimination, discrimination against part-time and fixed-term workers and the unified status between blue and white collar workers.