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CORe - Centre for Government and Law

Administrative law and public administration unit

CORe - Centre for Government and Law

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Marie DeCock
Marie DeCock obtained her master's degree in law at Ghent University in 2017. She has been a PhD student at the Faculty of Law since January 2018 and is working on a dissertation on inter-municipal cooperation and the legal qualification of inter-municipal association. In addition, she supervises the Moot Court Constitutional Law. Marie is also affiliated as a research assistant at the department of European, Public and International law at Ghent University.

Doctoral research:
‘The Janus face of inter-municipal cooperation: caught between public and private, between government and undertaking’

During the last decades, there has been a trend to transfer tasks to local governments. Given the growing role of the principle of subsidiarity, the local level is considered to be the most adequate to fulfil certain tasks. At the same time, there is also a trend for more cooperation in the public sector, between public partners on the one hand, and public and private partners on the other. To be able to execute their tasks more effectively, in order to create economies of scale, and to be capable of dealing with municipal cross-border problems, municipalities tend to use inter-municipal cooperation as an efficient solution to improve the effectiveness of local public service delivery.
When using inter-municipal cooperation, there is often a conflict between private law aspects – for example the participation of market participants and thus 'private law' oriented entities to the inter-municipal association – and public law elements – such as the required local democracy in inter-municipal associations. This research focuses on the underlying tensions between public and private law. Is an inter-municipal association a government or an undertaking?
In the search for an answer to the question of how inter-municipal associations can be legally qualified and which legal form they best adopt, an attempt is made to reconcile public and private in the best possible way. This includes the European regulations on competition law and procurement law, the impact of the European Union on the decision to set up, use and regulate an inter-municipal association, and comparative law research being carried out with various member states of the European Union.

Supervisor: Prof. Steven Van Garsse, Hasselt University
Starting date: 16 January 2018

Dennis Fransen
Dennis Fransen is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law and specializes in constitutional and administrative law. In his dissertation, he researches perspectives for a general administrative law code in Belgium. He obtained his master's degree in law at UHasselt in July 2017 (specialization Government & Law).

Doctoral research:
'Towards a general administrative law code for Belgium? A legal research from the division of powers'

Unlike our neighboring countries (the Netherlands, Germany, France, ...), the Belgian administrative landscape does not have a specific code that regulates the relationship between citizens and the government in a general way, despite attempts at the federal (2000/2003) and the Flemish level (2018). Together with the ad hoc approach in the past, the creation of such a code is made considerably more difficult by the fact that Belgian administrative law is spread over the different levels of government as a patchwork. A clearly defined division of powers with regard to administrative law is lacking at the moment, although research on this point is essential for the establishment of general administrative regulations. In his research, Dennis Fransen focuses on the impact of the division of competences on the possibilities to create such regulations within the Belgian federal system. In addition to a detailed study of the division of powers within Belgian administrative law, this research studies the instrument of general regulation, also from a comparative law perspective. With regard to the establishment of a coherent set of legislation in the administrative law field, recommendations regarding a future division of competences for Belgian administrative law will also be made. The higher goal of this research is therefore to improve legal certainty for citizens and government.

Supervisor: Prof. Steven Van Garsse, Hasselt University
Co-supervisor: Prof. Jan Theunis, Hasselt University
Starting date: 1 October 2017


Stef Keunen
Stef Keunen obtained his master's degree in law from KU Leuven in 2014. Before that, he was a bachelor's student at the law faculty of Hasselt University. Stef Keunen started his professional career at the University of Antwerp. Between 2015 and 2018 he was assistant administrative law at Hasselt University. Since 2018, he has been affiliated with Hasselt University as a volunteer scientific assistant. He is preparing a doctoral thesis on the competences of local authorities.

Doctoral research:
'The ‘municipal interest’ as the core of local autonomy'

Belgian municipalities have faced multiple social and administrative reforms and challenges in recent decades, including Europeanization, successive state reforms and the wave of decentralization. These reforms have an impact on the competence package of local authorities. Traditionally, the Constitution stipulates that municipalities are competent to regulate exclusively municipal interests. However, the concept of ‘municipal interest' has not been defined. The aim of this research is to analyze the notion of 'municipal interest' in legal and administrative terms and to link it to the principle of local autonomy in the current evolving administrative context. Starting from the historical interpretation of the concept, a contemporary description of 'municipal interest' is worked out as the competence-distributing criterion between central and local government. A concrete assessment framework is being developed to check legislation’s conformity with the principle of local autonomy.

Supervisor: Prof. Steven Van Garsse, Hasselt University
Starting date: 16 September 2015

Lucía Martínez Lorenzo
Lucía Martínez Lorenzo holds a Bachelor Degree in Law from Deusto University (Spain), with a minor in Public Law, and an LL.M. in Legal Practice from Universidad de Nebrija (Spain). She successfully passed the national Bar qualification exam in March 2018, and later that year, she became a registered lawyer at the ICALugo. In September 2018, Lucía started as a PhD researcher jointly with the Faculties of Law of Hasselt University and Maastricht Universtity, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. S. Van Garsse (HU), Prof. Dr. M. Eliantonio (UM) and Prof. Dr. S. Schoenmaekers (UM). Her PhD research is entitled “The impact of public procurement law on horizontal and vertical teaming of economic operators in construction projects. Reconciling effective and undistorted competition and the free market”.

Simion-Adrian Purza
After completing his Bachelor’s studies with a double major in Law and Law Enforcement and Security, Simion-Adrian Purza received a master’s degree in European Union Law from the University of Bucharest (Romania). Since 2017 he is preparing a PhD thesis in a joint supervision programme between Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Hasselt University. His professional experience includes assignments as a legal advisor and diplomat within the Government of Romania. He is concurrently an associate researcher with the Center for Good Governance Studies of the Babeș-Bolyai University.

Doctoral research:
‘Public procurement for defence and security in the context of enhanced integrated cooperation within the European Union and NATO’

The increasingly diverse needs of government organisations, either at central or local level, are a driving force for both the various product or services markets, as well as for legislators, national or international. In the particular field of public procurement for defence and security, specific dynamics are at play, especially when analysing the fundamental building blocks of the modern economic equation: supply and demand.
The research intends to contribute to the body of existing knowledge with a comprehensive legal perspective, attuned to current and future policy developments, which focuses on a critical re-evaluation of the legal instruments and the context of procurement for defence and security in the EU, seen as an important part of the legal framework on which EU defence and security integration is constructed.
The overarching objective of the research is to ascertain whether further EU regulation of defence and security procurement is a valid solution for achieving the objectives set forth within the context of defence integration at EU level and, if so, what regulatory initiatives should be pursued.

Promoters: Prof. Dr Dacian Dragoş, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania & Prof. Dr Steven Van Garsse, Universiteit Hasselt
Co-promoter: Prof. Dr. Ioana Vasiu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania
Start date: July 16, 2017

Loth Van der Auwermeulen
In 2018, Loth Van der Auwermeulen obtained a master's degree in law (specialization in public law) at the University of Brussels (VUB). Since 2019, she has been a PhD student in the faculty of law at Hasselt University. She is a member of the research group on governmental law within the Centre of Government and Law (CORe).

Currently she is participating in the Interreg project IKIC (https://www.ikic-publicsafety.eu/) that aims to improve the resilience of local governments during crises and disasters within the Euregion Meuse Rhine (EMR). Within the framework of this project, she deals with legal questions that arise when emergency services of the EMR collaborate. She also assists in developing education modules for citizens, governors and emergency professionals.

Loth’s thesis focuses on cross-border municipal co-operation within the European context.

Supervisor: Prof. Steven Van Garsse, Hasselt University
Starting date: 1 February 2019