University of Liege | Version française
Academic year 2014-2015Value date : 1/10/2014
DROI3025-1  Social Aid Law

Duration :  30h Th
Number of credits :  
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en administration publique, 1st year5
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en administration publique, 2nd year5
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en politiques européennes, 1st year5
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en politiques européennes, 2nd year5
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en relations internationales, 1st year5
Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en relations internationales, 2nd year5
Master in Law, Professional Focus in Labour Law, 2nd year6
Master en sciences politiques, à finalité spécialisée en science, technologie et société, 1st year5
Lecturer :  Jacques Fierens
Language(s) of instruction :  
French language
Organisation and examination :  
Teaching in the second semester
Course contents :  
This course will not be organised in 2015-2016.

The outline of the course is as follows: Chapter I: Poverty today Chapter II: How the right to social aid emerged as a fundamental right
Chapter III: Right to social intégration Chapter IV: Social aid sensu stricto
A detailed outline is available with the Dean's secretary.
Learning outcomes of the course :  
The course aims at a critical introduction to social aid. We focus on large issues such as the tension between social solidarity and family solidarity, the issue of labour for the poor, the status of foreigners or homeless. Rather than define any critical position we point to issues and to the choices made by the law givers and jurisprudence. Students are left free in their assessments. The first chapter is a summary of how history and philosophy viewed the position of people in the City, and consequently also the issue of social exclusion before a right to public help and social aid appeared.
The introduction of Belgian measures to counter the issue of poverty in a rule of law focuses on the study of the law that governs the public centres for social aid "centres publics d'aide sociale" (8 July 1976 Act), and the law on social integration (26 May 2002 Act). The international context is introduced through the impact of European treaties on fundamental rights. The consequences of a right to social aid having been added to Article 23 of the Belgian Constitution are also discussed. The course takes as its premise that whatever our occupation or social background we can all have to face some aspect of poverty whether on a national or international level. Since the course is taught at the end of students' training, its aim is reflection rather than a technical approach, though the latter cannot be ignored in a legally increasingly complex area.
Prerequisites and co-requisites/ Recommended optional programme components :  
No special requirements other than what was learned in the previous years. Students who do not read law should however be careful about some notions in international or constitutional law such as direct effect. They will all have to remember what they learned in philosophy and history to understand the first chapter.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods :  
No workshop or contribution beyond the course and the examination (see below).
Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning) :  
Ten three hour classes during the second term on Friday 14:30 to 17:30. Ex cathedra lectures. Interaction with students will depend on their number and on their personalities. Students' responses and questions are highly appreciated.
Guest speakers are invited to introduce their fild of action - for instance representatives of the "Centre pour l'égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme" (Centre for equal rights and fight against racism) or of the civil society. For the past three years videos have been shown to highlight what it means to be poor in Belgium today. Soon no doubt we will also have direct testimonies of poor or formerly poor people.
Recommended or required readings :  
Reference works: A syllabus, which gets more complete every year. The professor gives clear references to the books, articles and websites he has used.
Assessment methods and criteria :  
Before the oral examen students can prepare their answers using any reference work they can get hold of for at least an half hour. Any document can be useful but there is nothing one cannot do without. Every student picks a very general question (for instance: What is the status of wage labour in the issue of social aid? Provide examples from history and in legal texts). The question can include a concrete case but the answer can never be merely technical. (Another example: Your 18 year old son wants to leave home and turns to the local social aid centre - "C.P.A.S." - to subsidise his studies. Will he receive any help? What do you think of the legal solution?).
Some questions are wide open. The professor expects students to contribute an original approach to the issue, either in the selected perspective. In the structure of the answer, in the use of information that was not mentioned in class, in a comparison with other legal fields, in an ability to synthetise, or in a reference to the student's own experience.
This open and free preparation does not prevent the examiner from asking secondary questions during the oral presentation. This means students must have understood and integrated the main points of the course. It turns out that many students are put off by this unusual form of evaluation. While they do not have to memorise the course, they certainly should not discover what the course is about when taking the exam. A preliminary comprehensive understanding is absolutely necessary.
Work placement(s) :  
Organizational remarks :  
The course is held every even year (2014-2015, 2016-2017...).
Contacts :  
jacques.fierens@ulg.ac.be



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