The jury of the first IDEAS-ELJ Best Paper Award is happy to announce the winners of the inaugural competition that confronted participants to the Interdisciplinary conference on European Advanced Studies (IDEAS) held last May 11 to13 at the Institut d’études européennes of the ULB.  

IDEAS22 hosted 154 scholars on EU and inequality – from 60 academic institutions across 26 different countries – at the ULB over three days providing substantive discussions about the multifaceted nature of inequality in the EU from various disciplinary perspectives (law, political sciences, geography, linguistics, etc.) 

Two papers, by Alicia Hendricks (UHasselt) and Raphaele Xenidis (EUI) respectively, were selected ex-aequo by a jury composed by Chloé Brière (ULB), Karine Caunes (ELJ Editor-in-Chief), Amandine Crespy (ULB) and Sacha Garben (CoE).  

Professor Amandine Crespy, scientific lead of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence EUqualis hosted at the IEE-ULB, explained that the submitted papers were assessed “with regard to the originality of the topic and approach, the added-value in the field and potentially from an interdisciplinary perspective, the soundness of the methodology and empirics, and the quality of the structure and writing of the paper”. 

About the selected papers 

Alicia Hendricks’s article focuses on Unlocking the potential of the EU Charter to ensure equal treatment and non-discrimination between children in childcare leave. offers an overview of the existing EU legislation over parental leave. More specifically, it “examines the scope of application of the EU Charter on when and whether the EU and the Member States must respect fundamental rights. Subsequently, it provides an analysis of the meaning of the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination as contained in Articles 20 and 21 EU Charter”, announces Hendricks in the paper’s introduction. 

“The results will demonstrate that the current legislative framework jeopardises the principles of equality and non-discrimination between children”. Alicia Hendricks, winner of the IDEAS-ELJ Best Paper Award

Her claim, calling for legislative change, is also substantiated by a careful case-law analysis showing that the CJEU “neither seizes the opportunity to assess the compatibility of national measures implementing childcare leave provisions with Articles 20-21 EU Charter, nor does it examine the validity of EU secondary legislation with these two provisions”. 

The jury considered Hendricks’s paper presents an innovative and distinctive approach by proposing a shift away from a parental entitlement perspective to a children rights perspective on the basis of compelling case studies. “This, together with a constructive critique of the CJEU’s approach, constitutes a very valuable contribution to the field”, said the jury.  

The other awardee, Raphaële Xenidis, participated with the paper: From critical theory to litigation strategy: Can intersectionality transform EU equality law?

“All in all, this paper shows that litigators deploy intersectional discrimination litigation frames in front of the CJEU to expose the unfitness of existing non-discrimination remedies in redressing the complexity of inequality, and consequently formulate demands for legal change”. –Raphaële Vassiliki Xenidis, winner of the IDEAS-ELJ Best Paper Award.

The jury appreciated Xenidis paper’s innovative approach and method to examining to what extent intersectional discrimination is litigated at the CJEU, how and why. “Building on a pre-existing database and interviews with lawyers, the paper dissects the litigation strategies implemented in three cases and demonstrates how they reflect efforts to advance equality by mobilising the law and the courts”, said the jury.

The two awarded papers are currently undergoing peer review and will be published according to the regular publication schedule of the prestigious European Law Journal, the internationally leading publication for a postcritical and interdisciplinary review of European integration and IEE-ULB partner in the award.  

The winners 

Alicia Hendricks 

Ph.D. candidate in Social Law at the UHasselt, where she is a teaching member of Advanced Employment Law and coach for the Hugo Sinzheimer Moot Court Competition. 

She has a Master of Laws (LLM) from the Pompeu Fabra University, where she volunteered in the research project on ‘Legal Clinic Provision: Their Purpose, Challenges and Benefits’ with the aim that this will contribute to the strengthening and development of the practices of the UPF Legal Clinic. 

Raphaële Xenidis 

Ph.D. candidate at the Law Department of the European University Institute. She works on issues of intersectional discrimination and equality law in Europe under the supervision of Prof. Claire Kilpatrick. Her broad area of expertise is European human rights law, and her research interests are intersectionality theory and anti-discrimination law, gender and feminist legal studies and critical equality theory.  

She has received her master’s degree from Sciences Po Lille in France and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Germany. After a year of specialisation in international human rights law at  SAIS Europe, Johns Hopkins University, where she obtained a master’s degree in international affairs, she received a LL.M. in Comparative, European and International laws from the EUI.  She has obtained a research fellowship to Columbia Law School in New York thanks to the Fulbright-Schuman scholarship.  

She has gained experience in teaching through delivering an expert lecture on anti-discrimination law to legal scholars at ERA in Trier, teaching EU anti-discrimination law to master’s students at the law department of the University of Florence and following an expert-led teacher training at the EUI. She also acquired expertise in the field of scientific edition and coordination, being a Managing Editor of the European Journal of Legal Studies for over two years.