The theory of fraud: autonomous concept of law or undervalued corrective mechanism?
PhD student: Mrs Dr A. Lenaerts
Promotors: Mrs Prof S. Stijns, Mrs Prof I. Samoy
Duration: 1/10/2009 - 30/9/2013
PhD defence: Leuven, 1/3/2013
This project aims to determine the scope and function of the broadly applied general principle of law Fraus omnia corrumpit (theory of fraud), according to which one can never rely on a fraudulent act to justify the application of a rule of law to its own profit. The scope of application, the conditions of application, and the legal effects thereof will be defined, since they are subject of debate. Further, the relation between the principle Fraus omnia corrumpit and other concepts or general principles of law will be examined. For this, the discussed principle can fulfil three possible functions (with each time different legal effects): a mere explanatory function for other concepts of law; a corrective mechanism which excludes the application of rules of law in case of fraud; or the function of a fully autonomous concept of law. The results of this research will provide a new insight into the role of general principles of private law in the hierarchy of sources of law. The correct scope and function of the principle Fraus omnia corrumpit are still uncertain in Belgian law due to a lack of fundamental research, contrary to other systems of law. Innovative research (according to internal and external comparative law and a functional-inductive approach) will result in fixing the contours of this principle, which will lead to higher legal certainty. On a European level, Belgium will be able to define its own point of view during debates on this principle.