Prof Dr Roland Pierik (R.)
Roland Pierik is a professor of Philosophy of Law and chair of the Department of Foundations of Law.
The research interests of Roland Pierik revolve around the question of how liberal democracies should deal with cases of colliding fundamental rights or conflicts between fundamental rights and other central ideals within constitutional democracies: the rule of law or democracy. He studies fundamental rights as legal-philosophical concepts and legally enforceable rights as they have been formalized in human rights conventions, especially the European Convention on Human Rights.
Before he came to Maastricht in August 2022, Dr Pierik was an Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam Law School and the academic director of the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence.
In his work, he has analyzed a myriad of legal disputes and policy dilemmas from a legal-philosophical perspective:
- the role of the European Court of Human Rights in regulating the symbolic establishment of religion by the Convention States in their public sphere;
- the unjustified unequal treatment of MSM men in blood donation policies;
- the regulation of vaccination;
- the discussion of the crucifix in classrooms of Italian public schools before the European Court;
- The justification for mandatory vaccination;
- The role of human rights in the regulation of transnational clinical trials;
- The role of human rights in countering child labor;
- the shared responsibility of nation-states;
- The shared responsibility of nation-states to protect fundamental human rights for all world citizens.
Between 2013 and 2021, Dr Pierik's research was primarily oriented toward the legal regulation of vaccination against infectious diseases. Initially, he focused on childhood vaccination. Several (conflicting) fundamental rights are pivotal in these discussions: the freedom of religion and conscience of non-vaccinating parents, the right to bodily integrity, and the right to health of unvaccinated children – particularly Art. 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, stating that in all actions concerning children, their best interests must be a primary consideration of state agencies. Other relevant considerations are the responsibility of the state to protect public health and vulnerable citizens.
In the context of the Covid-19 outbreak, he also analyzed the question of whether more mandatory vaccination programs for adults were morally allowed.
In January 2022, he finished a co-authored monograph with Marcel Verweij, entitled Inducing Immunity? Justifying Immunization Policies in Times of Vaccine Hesitancy (under contract with MIT Press, Basic Bioethics series). This book analyzes the conditions under which a liberal-democratic government should make vaccination against infectious diseases mandatory. We analyze the case of childhood diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough, but also the case of vaccination for adults in the Covid-19 context.
Health Council of the Netherlands
From 2017 to 2022, Dr. Pierik was a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands, within which he served on the Standing Committee on Vaccinations (2017-2022), the Temporary Committee on Medical Aspects Covid-19 (2020-2021), and the Temporary Committee on HPV (2017-2019).
Professor of Philosophy of law at the Faculty of Law and head of the Department of Foundations and methods of Law.
September 2009–August 2022
Associate professor of Legal Philosophy, Department of General Jurisprudence of the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence, in the Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam.
Assistant Professor of Political Theory, Department of Political Science, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Assistant professor of legal theory, Faculty of Law, Tilburg University.
Post-doc fellow (on an NWO grant), Faculty of Law, Tilburg University.
Research fellow and member of the management team, Pioneer Research Group The Importance of Ideals in Law, Morality, and Politics (P.I. Wibren van der Burg), Faculty of Law, Tilburg University.