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Wim Voermans in Brazil

Wim Voermans, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative law, travelled to São Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro from 14 to 18 March with a delegation from Leiden University with the aim of strengthening ties with Brazil. During the visit agreements were made on future academic collaboration and various workshops were organised.

Leiden delegation

Besides Wim Voermans from Leiden Law School, the delegation led by rector magnificus Carel Stolker included representatives from the Faculty of Science,  LUMC, the Centre for Science and Technology Studies, the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Faculty of Archaeology. The delegation was in Brazil from 14 to 18 March to visit universities and government organisations in São Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

São Paolo

After a major (the largest ever) anti-government demonstration passed by the entrance of the hotel where the delegation was staying on Sunday 13 March, the following two days were filled with meetings to discuss collaboration with academic institutions in São Paolo. On Monday the delegation visited FAPESP,  an organisation providing funding for academic research in São Paolo (comparable to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). The President of FAPESP,  José Goldemberg, and rector Carel Stolker signed an agreement on future collaboration in joint research projects, seminars and workshops and an exchange of PhD students and researchers.

To immediately put these agreements into practice, on Monday 14 March FAPESP organised workshops where Leiden scholars and scientists and their colleagues from São Paolo presented their research, for example in the field of scientometrics and law. In the morning sessions Professor Voermans presented his research on ‘Motive-based enforcement’, a research project which combines research in the field of criminology, social psychology, (behavioural) economics and regulation to consider which motives are leading in the observance of legal rules and in which way these are applied in legislative practice.

The same afternoon, Professor Voermans held a presentation for law students at the law faculty of the Universidade de São Paolo on experiences with ex ante and ex post evaluation of legislation in the Member States of the European Union. Professor Jean Paul Rocha and Diogo Cautinho led a panel discussion on common experiences with evaluation and impact assessment in de EU and Brazil.

On Tuesday, the delegation visited the Einstein Hospital, met the rectors of UNESP and Universidade Federal de San Carlos and achieved an agreement on further collaboration with CNPEM, the national research centre for energy and materials.


Following a reception held at the Dutch Embassy on Tuesday evening 14 March, Ambassador  Han Peters met the delegation for dinner with representatives from the University of Brasilia, higher education institution CAPES  and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Professor Voermans gave a lecture on Wednesday afternoon on legislative regulatory policies in Brazil and the EU for IPEA, a think tank of the Brazilian government similar to the Scientific Council on government policy in the Netherlands. During a workshop views were exchanged with government officials and researchers on legislative quality and the effectiveness of rules, and how this can be safeguarded. Felipe de Paula, a Brazilian PhD student at both the University of Sao Paolo and Leiden University used his research to show in what way the quality of Brazilian legislation and regulations is under threat and how the quality and effectiveness can be enhanced through amendments to parts of the Brazilian legislative process (in particular during the establishment of regulations).

Rio de Janeiro

After arriving on Thursday evening, sessions were held at the law faculty of FGV, Fundação Getulio Vargas a prestigious privately funded university in Rio de Janeiro, on Friday. In four different panels the whole day was spent discussing the ‘Features of Regulatory Policy’ with international master students and researchers. The discussions were focused on best practices of impact assessment, experiences with impact assessment in Brazil, experiences with independently operating regulatory agencies (comparable to independent administrative bodies) and other issues concerning regulations.

Besides agreements on collaboration between various Leiden faculties and Brazilian institutions, the trip brought about closer contacts with researchers in the field of regulatory measures in Brazil and will soon lead to a PhD supervised in Leiden on the topic of regulatory measures in Brazil. 

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