Research in economic law at UCLouvain


The research conducted at the CRIDES concerns all facets of economic law. It focuses on the regulation of companies and other undertakings (including non-profit organizations).

Economic law is not strictly speaking a field of law. It actually covers several branches of the law, among which: company law, tax law, labour law, intellectual property and tech law.

The stakeholders of a company are numerous. Beyond the shareholders, many other parties are also subject to regulation, e.g., the workers, including the most creative ones, the trade unions representing them, the investors, the banks and other creditors, the State (as taxing or subsidizing authority), etc. This is why social security law, banking and financial law, tax and public finance law, bankruptcy law are also the subject of research and activities carried out within the CRIDES.

Economic law is therefore not limited to business law in the narrow sense.

Other non-commercial interests, such as those of future generations to a liveable planet or to a sustainable social protection, including in a context of an ageing population, are also taken into account in the research of CRIDES' members.

A sustainable regulation of the economy also requires a change in behaviour, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is therefore one of the areas of interest of the CRIDES.

Economic law is not formalistic. It aims to perform various functions within the economy and the society. An adequate shaping of economic law requires to study the social and economic dimensions of human activities. The method followed by the CRIDES researchers is therefore widely interdisciplinary (for ex. it often integrates the “law and economics” perspective).

Many of the legal fields included within economic law emerged at the end of the 18th century (intellectual property law) or during the 19th century (company law, labour law, modern income tax law, etc.). The research undertaken therefore aims to integrate an historical or evolutionary approach, which is necessary for a good understanding of more recent developments and recurrent debates on the right regulation of businesses.

The research carried out often leads to reflect on the impact of fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to work, the freedom to do business, the freedom of creation, the freedom to contract, the freedom of association, the freedom of movement and establishment. Economic law is a privileged field for the study and fine-tuning of the balancing between these sometimes competing freedoms.

Today the regulation of economic activities is largely shaped by European law (for ex. EU regulations and directives). Also, most (national) regulation of the economy must be examined in the light of the major economic freedoms of the Treaty of Rome. All the CRIDES researchers are therefore led to study European law in depth.

The research carried out in economic law within CRIDES is grouped around four main poles.


update 08/2020