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Meijers Lecture, Prizes and New Year’s Reception

On Thursday 11 January 2024, the annual Meijers Lecture was held and the Meijers Prizes and Van Wersch Springboard Prize were awarded. The Interim Vice Dean for Research, Professor Janine Ubink, opened the lecture in front of a packed audience. True to tradition, she reflected on the academic achievements celebrated in 2023. She also gave a sneak peek into what’s on the research agenda in 2024.

Hilde Wermink and Jim Been

Attention then turned to the Meijers Lecture speakers. This year, the spotlight was on the interdisciplinary research conducted by Dr Hilde Wermink, Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology, and Dr Jim Been, Associate Professor of Economics. Their lecture focused on the effects of short prison sentences. The conclusion presented was that following short prison sentences, offenders are more likely to reoffend and go on to commit more crimes than when they received a community service order. Moreover, this form of punishment is estimated to cost Dutch society over €400 million each year.

Meijers Prizes

Afterwards, Janine Ubink presented the Meijers prizes to the researchers who had written the best published articles from each research programme. Below are the 2024 Meijers prizewinners and their articles:

  • Sophie Koning – ‘(Re)defining conflicts: democratic legitimacy in socially sensitive court cases
  • Niels Demper – ‘Rechterlijke toetsing van lagere regelgeving aan rechtsbeginselen’ [in Dutch, meaning: ‘Judicial review of lower regulations against legal principles’]
  • Lianne Baars – The Salience of Salt Water: An ITLOS Advisory Opinion at the Ocean-Climate Nexus
  • Eva Nave – Countering online hate speech: How does human rights due diligence impact terms of service?’
  • Federica Casano and Tim van Brederode – ‘EU Public Intervention in the Energy Market: A Stroke of Good Luck or Misfortune?
  • Lars van Doorn – ‘Wishing for more: technological change, the rise of involuntary part-time employment and the role of active labour market policies
  • Jorieke Manenschijn – ‘Transformatieve constitutionele wijzigingen: Lessen voor de weerbare rechtsstaat uit het Verenigd Koninkrijk’ [in Dutch, meaning: ‘Transformative constitutional changes: Lessons for the resilient rule of law from the UK’]
  • Barbora Budinská – ‘Duty of Care as a Judicial Review Tool for SSM Composite Procedures
Left to right: Federica Casano, Lars van Doorn, Eva Nave, Jorieke Manenschijn, Niels Demper, Lianne Baars and Sophie Koning. Prizewinners Tim van Brederode and Barbara Budinskà are not pictured here.

Van Wersch Springboard Prize

The Meijers prizewinners also competed for yet another prize: the Van Wersch Springboard Prize. This year, there were two winners: Federica Casano and Tim van Brederode for their article ‘EU Public Intervention in the Energy Market: A Stroke of Good Luck or Misfortune?’ According to the jury, the article addressed ‘a very topical issue of great budgetary and societal importance: which government measures are legitimate in order to help alleviate the soaring energy costs? Casano and Van Brederode won a shared cash prize of €10,000 to be spent on their research projects.

Mr van Wersch with prizewinner Federica Casano. Tim van Brederode was unable to attend the ceremony.

New Year’s reception

Another awards ceremony followed this shower of prizes. The awards were handed out during the New Year's reception traditionally held after the Meijers Lecture – this year in the Academy Building’s Reception Room. The room has a great ambience and a stage in the centre, where Professor Suzan Stoter, the Dean, welcomed the assembled crowd and announced the programme for the afternoon. First of all, she called Professor Bart Krans onto the stage to present the Faculty Thesis Prizes to three master's students in his usual witty manner. Once again, the €600, €800 and €1,000 cash prizes were funded by the foundation Stichting Oukha.

1st prize for Bente Meijer awarded by Professor Bart Krans

1st prize – Bente Meijer

A response to the unanswered call for justice from the Yazidi women.

What viable possibilities exist for obtaining justice for the Yazidi women by establishing a hybrid tribunal?

Thesis supervisor: Jens Iverson, Assistant Professor of Public International Law and International Criminal Law

2nd prize for Jitske Hoekstra

2nd prize – Jitske Hoekstra (whose partner collected the prize on her behalf)

‘CBAM, een onderzoek naar de doeltreffendheid van het mechanisme voor koolstofgrenscorrectie van de Europese Unie’ [in Dutch, meaning: ‘CBAM, an investigation into the effectiveness of the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism’]

Thesis supervisor: Rens Pieterse, Assistant Professor of Tax Law

3rd prize for Michiel Smit

3rd prize – Michiel Smit

De slag om Duitse goodwill:
Een verkennend rechtshistorisch onderzoek naar het beheer van door de Nederlandse Staat onteigende Duitse merken (1945-1955)’ [in Dutch, meaning: ‘The battle for German goodwill:

An exploratory legal history of the management of German trademarks expropriated by the Dutch state (1945-1955)’]

Thesis supervisor: Dirk Visser, Professor of Intellectual Property Law

The Dean’s New Year’s speech

Following the thesis awards ceremony, it was time to mark the end of Joanne van der Leun's deanship.

Reflecting on an afternoon of celebrations, Dean Suzan Stoter, delivered a unifying message:

At the beginning of the 449th year of this university’s foundation, I want to share the following:

It is brilliant to be able to work alongside you all to develop this wonderful faculty – which has such a long, abundant history – but we shouldn’t take that history for granted or lean on it either.

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s up to us to use that history as the foundation for a good future. In order to do that, we need to be aware of each other, of time and of the effect of taking action or not taking action over time. And we need to make good use of the time we have together.

I’m looking forward to making the most of the time that the New Year brings and has been given to us, and I want to wish you all a successful, healthy and inspirational year ahead.’

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