The ELFA Awards


In 2012 ELFA established for the first time an award for the Best Doctoral Thesis on European Law. The award was worth 3.000 € and it also included a proxime accessit prize. Since then, ELFA has been organising this award every year. The ELFA Thesis Awards seeks to stimulate and recognize outstanding legal research as well as creating more awareness of ELFA since it attracts a very high standard of applicants from numerous European countries.

So far, researchers at the University of Leiden, Bayreuth, Oxford, Cambridge, the European University Institute in Florence and the Maastricht University, among others have won the ELFA Best Award.

The thesis awarded have dealt with a number of issues in the field of European Law, considered in a broad sense. For instance, topics discussed the transformation of the Euro,  analysed the Private International Law of the EU and its Member States or dealt with the abuse of Union Law and the regulation of the Internal Market. Other thesis considered the regulation of mobility rights and the National Higher Education autonomy in the EU or the primacy of European Law and its constitutional identities.


    The winners of the 2023 ELFA Award were announced at the ELFA Annual Conference 2024, which took place on 17-19 April in Edinburgh.

    Professor Laurence W. Gormley (University of Groningen), Coordinator of the Award and former ELFA President, announced the decision of the Jury, which this year was composed of Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi (University of Groningen), Thomas Horsley (University of Liverpool) and Dagmar Schiek (University College Dublin).

    The first prize was awarded, jointly, to two researchers. On one hand, to Mariza Avgeri, for her thesis A transgender studies approach to gender identity and expression- based asylum claims based on a critical doctrinal and discourse analysis of CJEU and ECtHR jurisprudence defended at Maynooth University (Ireland). Mariza Avgeri has worked as a legal researcher, as well as a case worker at the Greek Asylum Service and as a member of the Appeals Committees. She has participated in civil rights initiatives regarding migrant rights and LGBT rights, both as a lawyer and as a member of the queer community. Currently, she is an Associate Lecturer in Law at the Open University and a qualified lawyer in Greece.

    On the other hand, the second joint first prize winner was Moritz Schramm, for his thesis Emulated Guardians: The Power, Politics, and Performativity of the DSA and the Oversight Board”, defended at the Humboldt-University of Berlin (Germany). Dr. Schramm is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Humboldt-University of Berlin and Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Guarini Institute for Global Law and Tech (University of New York). He contributes, from a multidisciplinary perspective ranging from public law, constitutional law or law and technology, among others, to the research and dissemination of legal knowledge as an author and editor in various legal publications, as well as through his participation -presenting or organizing- in scientific conferences and workshops.

    In addition, the Jury decided to award a Proxime Accessit to Aurélie Villanueva, for her thesis Culture in European Union Law: Between Market and Society, defended at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). Dr. Villanueva has developed an extensive academic career carrying out her education, research and teaching tasks at various university institutions, including the University of Strasbourg, Leiden University, the University of Amsterdam, the European University Institute and Stockholm University. Dr. Villanueva is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen.

    The Jury remarked on the high quality of all the theses that applied for the award (a total of 15), and noted the difficulty of reaching the final selection. The ELFA Board of Directors is deeply grateful to the Jury and the Award Coordinator for their invaluable and generous work in carrying forward one of the flagships of the Association. And, above all, many thanks to all the participants! The successful future of European law research is assured.

    2022 ELFA AWARD

    The winners of the 2022 ELFA Award were announced at a ceremony held at the Association’s Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lausanne, on 13 April 2023.

    The names were announced by Jivko Draganov, ELFA Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors, and Laurence Gormley, former ELFA President and coordinator of the ELFA Award.

    First Prize was awarded to Dr. Sophia Ayada, for her thesis “From contesting gender stereotypes to questionning anti-stereotyping. A critical analysis of the CJEU gender equality jurisprudence”. Dr. Ayada obtained her Doctorate from the European University Institute (Florence). She is currently a research fellow at University College London.

    The jury decided to award Proxime Acessit to Dr. Eun Hye Kim, for her thesis “The Advocate General as an Actor of Change – or Consolidation – in EU Competition Law”. Dr. Kim obtained her Doctorate from the European University Institute as well. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Law Department at the University of Copenhagen

    The jury of the 2022 ELFA Award was composed of Dr. Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Dr. Mark Dawson and Dr. Dagmar Schiek.

    The quality of all the Doctoral theses presented is evidence of the high level of current research in European law.

    Thank you very much to all participants!

    2021 ELFA AWARD

    The results of the 2021 edition of the ELFA Award were announced during the ELFA Annual General Meeting and Conference held in Warsaw from 20 to 22 April 2022.

    The announcement was made by Professor Laurence Gormley, Coordinator of the ELFA Award. First Prize was awarded to Dr. Leticia Díez Sánchez, for her thesis “Integration through Law and its Discontents: Unveiling the distributive impact of judge-made law in the EU”. Dr. Díez Sánchez obtained her Ph.D. in European Union Law from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (Italy).

    The Proxime Accessit was awarded to Dr. Aleksandra Jolkina, for her thesis “Till Residence Card Do Us Part? The Concept of Marriages of Convenience and EU Free Movement Law: The Case of the United Kingdom”. Dr. Jolkina obtained her Doctorate from Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom).

    In this round, the Jury was composed of Professors Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Dagmar Schiek and Martin Trybus.

    All of them were very impressed by the high quality of the theses submitted.

    Thank you very much to all participants!

    2020 ELFA AWARD

    During the ELFA Annual General Meeting, on the 23rd June 2021, the results of the ELFA Thesis Award 2020 round were announced.

    After having read the theses and discussed them, the jury has decided to award the First Place to Dr. Pierre Auriel, for his thesis “L’équivalence des protections des droits fondamentaux dans l’Union européenne”. Dr. Auriel obtained his Doctorate from the Institut Michel Villey, Centre de droit européen, Université Paris-II Panthéon-Assas. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the framework of the Egalibex Project at the Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3.

    The jury decided to award Proxime Acessit to Dr. Luigi Lonardo, for his thesis “Coping with distinctiveness: common foreign and security policy in EU Law.” Dr. Lonardo obtained his Doctorate from King’s College London, and he is currently a Lecturer in EU law at University College Cork.

    The members of the jury were Prof. Dr. Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Prof. Dr. Sofia Raanchordás and Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schiek. They remarked on the high standard of all the theses submitted.

    We are very grateful to everyone who participated!

    2019 ELFA AWARD

    “We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2019 ELFA Thesis Award Competition. We are grateful to all participants. The honorable jury was greatly impressed by the high quality of their entries. The jury, composed by Prof. Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Prof. Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz and Prof. Harm Schepel, has decided to award the First Prize to Dr. Lola Avril, for her thesis, Le costume sous la robe. Les avocats en professionnels multi-cartes de l’état régulateur européen: genèse, consolidation, contestations (1957—2019), defended at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

    The jury decided to award Proxime Accessit to Dr. Andrej Lang, for his thesis, Die Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit in der vernetzten Weltordnung. Rechtsprechungskoordination in rechtsordnungsübergreifenden Richternetzwerken. Dr. Lang obtained his Doctorate from the Freie Universität Berlin.

    Many congratulations to the winners!

    We would like to express our special thanks to the former President of ELFA, Prof. Laurence Gormley for his many years of outstanding contribution coordinating the ELFA Thesis Award competition.”

    The Board of ELFA

    May 2020

    2018 ELFA AWARD

    The 2018 ELFA Award was announced at the 2019 ELFA Conference held in Turin.  The prizes were awarded unanimously by the jury.

    The First Prize was awarded to Dr. Vestert Borger, from Leiden University, for his thesis entitled “The Transformation of the Euro: Law, Contract, Solidarity.”

    The Proxime Accessit was granted to Dr. Felix M. Wilke from Bayreuth University, for his thesis “A Conceptual Analysis of the Private International Law of the European Union and its Member States.”

    Congratulations to the winners!

    ELFA AWARD 2017

    The Winners of the 2017 Best Award on European Law have been announced! Francisco Joel Reyes y Ráfales and Zane Rasnača have been declared joint winners.

    Francisco Joel defended his thesis at the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. His thesis is entitled: “Unterschiedslose Beschränkungen des Warenexports in andere Mitgliedstaaten als Eingriffe in die EU-Warenverkehrsfreiheit gem. Art. 35 Alt. 2 AEUV?.”

    Zane defended her thesis at the European University Institute of Florence, the title of which is “First or one among equals? The CJEU and the construction of EU social policy.”

    Congratulations to the winners!

    ELFA AWARD 2016

    At the ELFA Conference in Brno (Czech Republic), Dr. Alexander Hoogenboom from Maastricht University was awarded First Place for his thesis on “Balancing Student Mobility Rights and National Higher Education Autonomy in the European Union”.

    Dr. Christina Joanna Angelopoulos from University of Cambridge was placed Proxime Accessit for her thesis on “European Intermediary Liability in Copyright”.

    2014 ELFA AWARD

    The second ELFA Thesis Award was announced at the European Parliament in Brussels and awarded to Dr. Anzhela Yevgenyeva, for her thesis Direct Taxation and the Internal Market: Assessing Possibilities for a More Balanced Integration, defended at the University of Oxford.

    Proxime Accessit was Dr. Vesselin Paskalev, for his thesis The Power of Reason(s): Argumentative Rationality and EU Regulation, defended at the European University Institute, Florence.