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)
|2017-||Dean||Faculty of Law and Criminology|
|2013-||Full Professor||Faculty of Law and Criminology|
|2005-||Founding Director||Center for Medical and Biomedical Law|
|Member||Institut pour la recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences juridiques|
|Member||Institute of Health and Society|
|Representative mandate||Conseil académique|
|2015-||Member||Bureau et Conseil du Secteur des sciences humaines|
Vice-President until 2020
|Comité d’éthique hospitalo-facultaire (Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc / UCLouvain)|
Previous functions at UCLouvain
|2011-2015||Representative mandate||Bureau du Corps Académique (CORA)|
|2015-2017||President||Commission Doctorale de Domaine « Sciences juridiques »|
|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|