Originally from the region of Tournai, I grew up in a rural area in a family where French and Dutch (Flemish) were used next to each other. This offered me the opportunity to cultivate a sense of friendship, solidarity and justice. I fulfilled a dream by studying law at the UCL(ouvain), which I continued with teacher training certificate (upper secondary education). At the same time, I obtained the title of sworn translator and interpreter in the Dutch language. I then chose to pursue research and teaching at the university, working as an assistant and completing my PhD. While I was aware of the complexity of the multiple tasks associated with this status, I was convinced that the University, in particular, has the ability to develop human beings, by cultivating a love for knowledge and confidence in the originality of people.  

In this context, I am involved in the concrete issues raised by (bio)medical, personal and family law, civil liability, criminal law and ethics, which have many critical and essential facets for human beings. 

My scientific work focuses on the beginning of life (medically assisted reproduction, gestational surrogacy), the rights of the patient, the protection of the vulnerable person, research (on in vitro embryos, human experimentation), organ removal and transplantation, the use of human body material, the end of life (palliative care, euthanasia), use of new technologies (telemedicine, AI implications), privacy (electronic files, processing of personal data), quality of health care, criminal and civil liability, compensation for health care-related damages, mediation in health care, …

The face of medicine has indeed changed profoundly with the advances in biology and biotechnology. Today, conceived as a real biomedicine, it is more present than ever in the lives of individuals and society. While raising ethical and deontological questions, it also concerns the fundamental rights of the individual. 

Wishing to get involved in these different aspects, I founded, in 2005, the ‘Centre de droit médical et biomédical’ (Centre for Medical and Biomedical Law) at UCLouvain, thanks to a scientific MIS-mandate from the F.R.S.-FNRS. The Centre brings together a team of motivated researchers.

The reflection that I have developed also carries my action in my current function as Dean of the ‘Faculté de droit et de criminologie’, as it did before when I was President of the ‘Institut pour la recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences juridiques’. This reflection is also part of my other mandates at UCLouvain, within the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics, UNICEF Belgium, or within the framework of external scientific councils.

Finally, I would like to share with you two quotes that speak to me. One is from the academician François Cheng and the other from Christophe André, psychiatrist:

“For some time, I had become aware that the truths of life are embodied less in ideas than in beings. Ideas are important, but they dry up if they are not effectively lived by people.” (François Cheng) (free translation)

“(…) what gives meaning to our lives is to engage in actions that connect us with others: acting with others, acting for others… Teamwork gives meaning, altruism gives meaning. And they give rise to happiness”. (Christophe André) (free translation)

Current functions

Previous functions at UCLouvain

2009-2015 Member Research Council
2011-2015 Representative mandate Bureau du Corps Académique (CORA)
2015-2017 President Commission Doctorale de Domaine « Sciences juridiques »
1999-2013 Professor UCLouvain
1997-1999 Lecturer UCLouvain
1988-1997 Assistant Faculty of Law and Criminology

Other functions – Belgium

2012- Full Member Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Classe Technologie et Société
2018- Guest Professor KU Leuven, Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
2008- `Guest Speaker Collège Belgique
2014-2020 President/Vice-President Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics
2011- President Comité de gestion du Fonds des accidents médicaux
2015- Board Member UNICEF Belgium
2010-2017 Member Commission « Sciences of Law and Criminology », Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO)
1997-1999 Trainee Lawyer Cabinet Janson, Baugniet et Associés
1986-1994 Certified Translator and Interpreter Self-employed Worker 

International functions