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Farewell lecture Peter Rodrigues, Professor of Immigration Law

On Friday 6 October 2023, Peter Rodrigues delivered his farewell lecture ‘Ongelijkheidscompensatie in het vreemdelingenrecht’ (inequality compensation in immigration law).

Since his appointment as Professor of Immigration Law at Leiden University in 2009, Rodrigues has championed the legal protection of foreign nationals in his teaching and research. In his inaugural lecture ‘De grenzen van het vreemdelingenrecht’ (the limits of immigration law) in 2010, Rodrigues argued that the limits of immigration law are no longer determined at the national level and that fundamental questions therefore need to be asked. The question Rodrigues addressed was the extent to which a distinction by nationality in the integration of foreign nationals in the Netherlands is permissible on the basis of international and European law.

In his farewell lecture ‘Ongelijkheidscompensatie in het vreemdelingenrecht’ (inequality compensation in immigration law), Rodrigues returns to the limits set by law on the state's power to regulate migration. Here, according to Rodrigues, there is an unequal balance of power between the foreign national who wants to qualify for admission and residence, and the state that has to decide on this. In his lecture, Rodrigues pointed to inequality compensation as a way to deal more fairly with this unequal power relationship. There are numerous examples of inequality compensation in different areas of law, such as the consumer boycott in consumer law. But it is precisely within the area of immigration law that foreign nationals have little opportunity to contest. Rodrigues calls for achieving a more equal power relationship between foreign nationals and public authorities by addressing issues such as the burden of proof, hopelessness and disenfranchisement.

Peter Rodrigues was appointed Professor of Immigration Law at Leiden University in 2009. Rodrigues graduated in law from Utrecht University in 1985 and then became a researcher at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law (Utrecht University). He joined the Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Konsumenten Aangelegenheden (SWOKA) in 1988 as a legal researcher. He then worked for the National Bureau for Combating Racial Discrimination (LBR) from 1991 to 1995. From April 1995 to September 2000, he was a committee member at the Commissie Gelijke Behandeling (Equal Treatment Commission). Rodrigues also remained associated with the Molengraaff Institute where he obtained his PhD in 1997 for the study ‘Anders niets? Discriminatie op grond van ras en nationaliteit bij consumententransacties' (Otherwise nothing? Racial and nationality discrimination in consumer transactions). After obtaining his PhD, he became a post-doc at the Netherlands Institute for Social and Economic Law (NISER) in Utrecht until 2000. From 2001 to 2010, he was head of the Research and Documentation Department at the Anne Frank Stichting (Amsterdam). Rodrigues has published frequently on migration, statelessness, racial and nationality discrimination, equal treatment, and collective action by interest groups. In September 2009, Rodrigues joined Leiden University, at the Institute of Immigration Law, as Professor of Immigration Law. This institute merged with the Europa Institute in 2020.

The full farewell lecture of Peter Rodrigues (in Dutch) is available here.

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