1. Private Ordering. Our research approaches private law through the lens of private ordering. Private ordering is the regulation, enforcement and dispute resolution by private actors, as opposed to actors in the public legal order. The private legal order is located in the shadow of the law in two respects. On the one hand, it may be situated outside the realm of State law and thus raises questions into the division of power between private and public actors, and into the latter’s negative and positive obligations. On the other hand, the law may also cast a shadow on private ordering, as a benchmark. This role of the law is important, as it aims to protecting weaker parties (such as consumers, employees, weaker family members and children) in the process of private ordering. Questions thus arise on the interplay between private and public actors. We particularly focus on legal pluralism.
2. Status vs Contract. We focus on the dichotomy Contract vs Status in order to divide competences between private and public legal actors, and to define the remaining competences for State bodies.
3. Influence of international law. We research the influence of public law on private law relationships. Whereas the focus is on the direct effect of human rights law, we also more broadly research the "Europeanisation" of private (international) law, both in the COE and EU-context.
4. PIL. Finally, private international law regulates the interplay between the Belgian and foreign legal systems. We investigate the delicate balance between choice for individuals and protection of individuals. In the field of contract law we consider the protection afforded to international consumers and international employees. In international family law, we research the issues connected with children crossing international borders and the growing number of 'limping legal relationships’ and its impact on legal certainty for citizens.