Research mission

At first glance, the Law Enforcement research unit appears to cover several different disciplines and branches of law (law of obligations, tort law, criminal (procedure) law, civil procedure, private international law, legal psychology, sociology of law, and so on).

 However, the research programme actually focuses one common question:
"How can we achieve optimal enforcement of both private and criminal law?"

The notion of law enforcement includes enforcement in the strict sense, and here our research examines which sanctions may and can be used and under which conditions, and which sanctions are most appropriate for optimal enforcement of private and criminal law standards.  In addition, however, the concept of law enforcement also encompasses the procedural path that must be followed in order to ensure optimal enforcement.  In both private and criminal (procedure) law, the rule of thumb when imposing sanctions is that the requirements of proper administration of justice are to be respected. Dispute resolution always entails an element of appreciation, meaning that a court's ruling cannot always be predicted. For this reason, it is essential that there are rules for the proper administration of justice to ensure that the process runs smoothly and to give all parties equal opportunity to win their case, and thus to ensure trust in the courts. 

The law enforcement research programme therefore addresses two meta-lines of research:
  • Sanction mechanisms
  • Proper administration of justice
We link the two meta-research lines (and their sub-research lines) by means of three key concepts: accurate + coherent + effective.
The notion of accuracy in the sense of "exact, precise, meticulous" makes it possible to determine whether the proposed rule of law (either substantive (cf. line of research on sanction mechanisms) or procedural (cf. line of research on proper administration of justice)) is legally correct and proportionate to the objective pursued.  While the existing legislation might be accurate, optimal law enforcement also requires that the different legal rules are coherent (in the sense of "consistent") and not contradictory. Moreover, optimal law enforcement also correlates to the proposed rule's degree of effectiveness (in the sense of "efficiency"). Here, both the perception of judicial actors and the desirability of certain rules of law are central issues for investigation.
Taking the key words "accurate, coherent and effective" as points of departure, the researchers also focus on a number of sub-research lines:
1. Sanction mechanisms:
  • Determining and describing sanctionable behaviour
  • Determining and setting the form of the sanction
  • Determining and checking the actual sanction
  • Executing the sentence
2. Proper administration of justice  
  • Legal terms
  • Procedural legal protection of the vulnerable rights holder
  • The right to a fair trial
  • Evidence law
  • Legal remedies
  • Transnational litigation

Research mission

The Research Programme "Law Enforcement and proper Administration of Justice" aims to explore which sanctions can be used in both private law and (procedural) penal law. The program also wants to investigate under which circumstances sanctions can be used and which sanctions are best suited to enforce rules of private and penal law. Another research topic is how to create more coherence within law enforcement.


Faculty of Law
Law Enforcement Unit
Building V
Venusstraat 23
2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 3265 54 76