The Wierenga-Rengerink Dissertation Prize for the best PhD thesis of the year 2019 has been awarded to Dr Arpi Karapetian. Her 502-page thesis is entitled Bestuurdersaansprakelijkheid uit onrechtmatige daad: Civielrechtelijke en strafrechtelijke normen voor bestuurders van noodlijdende ondernemingen. [Directors’ liability based on tort law: civil law and criminal law norms for directors of ailing companies] During the summer ceremony, Karapetian will receive a prize of € 7,500 to spend on her continued academic development. The prize money was made available by UG alumni via the Ubbo Emmius Fund (UEF).
Integrated private law and criminal law research is hardly ever conducted in the Netherlands and Europe. The greatest merit of Karapetian’s work is that she has provided insight into the norms that apply to directors of partnerships dealing with creditors from the perspective of tort law, specifically focusing on the directors’ relationships with creditors of partnerships that are faced with financial problems. The research therefore provides great added value to law studies as well as to professional practice, where it can serve as a clear, useful guide.
Directors of companies that are facing financial difficulties have a lot of interests to take into account when taking decisions. The interests of creditors often conflict with societal interests, such as the preservation of companies and employment. Arpi Karapetian looks at various types of cases and categories of director behaviour, and discusses the penal provisions of swindle, habitual acquisition of property without intent to pay, fraudulent bankruptcy, embezzlement and withdrawal from pledge from a criminal law perspective. The focus is always first on the criminal law norm, after which the civil law framework is studied if this reaches beyond the criminal liability.
The Wierenga-Rengerink Dissertation Prize has been awarded every year since 2015 to the PhD student who wrote the best UG thesis in that year. The Deans of all faculties are invited on behalf of the Rector Magnificus to nominate PhD theses that have been awarded the cum laude distinction. The jury for the 2019 prize comprised current Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga and the former Rectors Bosscher, Sterken and Zwarts.
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