Subedi Prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation 2022/23 awarded to Hannah Bogaert

The Law Faculty is delighted to announce the winner of the Subedi Prize for best doctoral dissertation in the 2022/23 academic year.

Hannah Bogaert photo

The Subedi Prize was established in 2019 thanks to a generous donation from Professor Surya P. Subedi QC. Each academic year, the prize is awarded to the thesis that, in the opinion of the judges, makes the most exciting original contribution to the relevant field of scholarship and is best-crafted in terms of organisation, style and presentation.

The prize for the 2022/23 academic year is awarded to Dr Hannah Bogaert for her dissertation “The Common Language of ‘Competence’ - Or how rediscovering the often-overlooked distinction between competence and power leads to better legal reasoning on whether the European Union may act”. This outstanding thesis sets out to establish a common language of ‘competence’ in the context of European Union law. It addresses a paradox in EU law. The EU may only act if it has ‘competence’, but there currently is no solid understanding of what ‘competence’ means. Through a thorough analysis of the text of the EU Treaties and chosen legislation, preparatory documents, and judgments of the EU Courts, the author identifies the conceptual framework that determines whether the EU may act. Central in this conceptual framework stands the distinction between competence (the field in which the EU may act) and power (the actual authorisation to act in a field of competence). This distinction has always been present in EU law, but was not applied consistently and has largely been forgotten. Rediscovering it allows for a more nuanced and precise discussion on whether the EU may act. The project thus makes an important and excellent contribution to EU legal science.

On hearing she had won the prize, Hannah said:

“It is wonderful news to receive the Subedi Prize. I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor Liz Fisher, for her guidance and enthusiasm, and everyone else who supported me in writing the thesis. Studying for the DPhil has been a stimulating and rewarding experience and I feel very lucky.”

Professor John Armour, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said:

“The Law Faculty is absolutely delighted to award the Subedi Prize for the Law Faculty’s best DPhil thesis in 2022-23 to Dr Hannah Bogaert. As in previous years, we had an extremely strong field of outstanding dissertations to consider. Our doctoral students represent the future of our discipline, and it is very heartening to see so much promise. We are extremely grateful to Professor Subedi for funding this prize. Many congratulations to Hannah and to her supervisor Professor Liz Fisher!”

Hannah hopes to publish her thesis as a book in due course.