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Special lecture Jan Vleggeert: 'A citizen's perspective on conflicts of interest'

When Professor of Tax Law Jan Vleggeert delivered his inaugural lecture in Leiden University’s Academy Building on 30 October 2020, only 30 people were allowed to attend due to coronavirus measures. On 10 June 2022, Vleggeert was therefore given the opportunity to deliver a lecture to a much larger audience.

Jan Vleggeert tijdens zijn feestrede

In this special lecture, Vleggeert elaborated on his inaugural lecture which was entitled 'Over onafhankelijkheid, de verschraling van het fiscale debat en wat we daaraan kunnen doen’ (on independence, the deterioration of the tax debate and what we can do about it). In it, he pointed out that many academics who deal with tax law also hold an appointment with a commercial tax consultancy firm. It seems very likely to him that combining these different positions could hinder the independent pursuit of scholarship.

Vleggeert began this special lecture by explaining where the title comes from. ‘This lecture is entitled “A citizen's perspective on conflicts of interest”. I borrowed the term "citizen’s perspective" from the recently deceased Brenninkmeijer. At a conference held in Leiden on 24 September last year in response to my inaugural lecture, he noted that the citizen’s perspective is about so-called "perceived integrity". By this, Brenninkmeijer meant that citizens are not so much concerned about the rules. I quote: “The mere fact that the applicable rules have been complied with does not convince society. What matters is whether the citizen actually experiences compliance with the rules.”'

In the lecture, Vleggeert therefore addresses the question of how tax scholars can avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. One of the solutions to mitigate conflicts of interest is more transparency. Vleggeert therefore proposes that authors include a ‘conflict of interest statement’ below their publications. In addition, he would like employees to be fully transparent about sponsorship on their university profile page and below their publications.

View the lecture (in Dutch) via the link below:

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