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Law Department awards dissertation prizes

Posted on 26 May 2020

The Department of Law has announced the 2020 winners of the Antonio Cassese and Mauro Cappelletti prizes for the best doctoral theses in Law at the Institute. The prizes were established to honour the memories of these two distinguished jurists and former EUI Law professors.

Ríán Derrig has won the Antonio Cassese Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in International Law, while Lamin Khadar was awarded the Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Comparative Law.

Derrig Ríán Derrig Khadar Lamin Khadar


Derrig’s Educating American modernists: the origins of the New Haven School won praise for expertly weaving a complex web of resources, spanning from scholarly texts to vignettes, oral testimonies, letters and lecture notes. The jury praised Derrig for being a ‘rare writer’ who unearthed otherwise obscure materials in retracing the ‘central influences, values, concerns’ of the founders of New Haven School, one of the most influential schools in American legal theory.

The jury also applauded Derrig’s work for vividly portraying the importance of personal narrative, character and interpersonal relationships in creating professional identities and trajectories.

The Antonio Cassese Prize has been awarded since 2014 by the Department of Law at the European University Institute to honour the late Professor Antonio Cassese, an EUI Law professor and a highly distinguished lawyer in the field of international law and international criminal justice.

In accepting the award, Rian Derrig was ‘happy and honoured’ to have been awarded the Antonio Cassese Prize. Derrig said 'doing my Ph.D. research at the EUI and working with my supervisor Nehal Bhuta has been a very important experience in my life and a wonderful education.'

An innovative and insightful approach to the study of pro bono legal practices in European Law has earned Lamin Khadar the Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Comparative Law.

In Expanding access to justice: an exploration of large firm pro bono practice across Europe, Khadar explores the impact of pro bono legal work in accessing justice in Europe and won praise for his important fieldwork. The prize committee praised Khadar’s work combining strict legal analysis with historical reconstruction and robust empirical findings, leading to ‘powerful findings’ on pro bono legal practices across Europe. The jury was also impressed by Khadar’s strong expositional skills.

In his reaction to the award, Khadar expressed that he is incredibly grateful to have been awarded the Cappelletti prize and thanked the awarding committee for their positive evaluation of his work. He added: 'I wish to thank my supervisor, Professor Claire Kilpatrick, for her support throughout my thesis research. I will always cherish my time at the EUI and this award will only sweeten that memory'.

Instituted in 1995, the latter prize honours the late EUI Law scholar Mauro Cappelletti, an eminent figure in the field of comparative law. Cappelletti was Professor at the European University Institute, the University of Florence and Stanford University in California. The prize is generously financed by Robert Helm, an EUI alumnus and former student of the late Professor Cappelletti and his wife Mimie.


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